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Anwar hopes to cash in on Malaysia's political turmoil

Armed with a strong majority of MPs, the 73-year-old politician stakes his claim to head the new government

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Anwar hopes to cash in on Malaysia's political turmoil

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrive for a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 13 following a meeting with the Malaysian king to prove he has support to take power and fulfil a decades-old ambition of becoming premier. (Photo: AFP)

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Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim hates being called Asia’s perennial prime minister-in-waiting. However, recent political developments have hinted that Anwar’s moment has come at last.

Armed with a “strong, formidable majority” of parliamentarians, the 73-year-old has staked claims to head the new government by toppling the seven-month-old administration of Muhyiddin Yassin, which came to power via a parliamentary coup.

Anwar’s wish to be at the helm of affairs came to the forefront in the late 1990s before everything went wrong for him. 

As deputy prime minister, he fell out with his mentor and former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and ended up in cooling his feet in jail over sodomy charges in April 1999. Following his release in 2004, Anwar became a leading figure in the 2008 and 2013 general elections and served as opposition leader from 2008 to 2015. However, he was sentenced to five years in prison after a second sodomy conviction in 2015.

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