Will Pakatan Harapan Support Finally Help Anwar Ibrahim Become Malaysia's Prime Minister?

Pakatan Harapan's three major parties have approved Anwar Ibrahim's name for the highest executive post in the country.

Long time survivor in Malaysian politics Anwar Ibrahim may finally reach the crowning glory of his career by becoming the Prime Minister of the Southeast Asian nation. In the latest development of the ongoing tussle for government formation in the country, Pakatan Harapan (PH) has officially supported Anwar for the post of PM.

In a statement issued on Monday by the coalition, the name of the former Deputy Prime Minister was affirmed for the top executive post in the land.

"The presidential council is of the opinion that efforts need to be made in order to restore the people's mandate, and this requires support from all parties. As such, the council gives full mandate to Anwar Ibrahim to continue discussions with all parties, including Shafie Apdal, towards that end," the statement read.

Anwar Ibrahim
Anwar Ibrahim could be the next PM of Malaysia Twitter

Apart from Ibrahim's party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the second and third biggest parties in this formation, Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara respectively, have also leant their support to this proposal.

Background to the crisis

PH had been in power after the 2018 general elections and was led by Mahathir Mohamad. However, earlier this year, Bersatu, a party of the erstwhile ruling coalition withdrew its support and caused Mahathir to resign. Following this, Muhiyiddin Yasin, the president of Bersatu became the PM with the support of a new coalition.

However, the situation remains fluid with the loyalty of several parties and individual members not fixed. Calls for a general election to sort out the mess through votes have also been getting louder. From this chaos, Anwar Ibrahim may emerge as the biggest gainer if PH now manages to get the support of Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and its leader Shafie Apdal.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
Mahathir Mohamad resigned from PM's post earlier this year Wikimedia Commons

This latest statement from PH has overtaken the earlier proposal for a resolution of this crisis floated by the former PM. This involved having Shafie Apdal as PM with two Deputy PMs – Anwar Ibrahim and the son of Mahathir, Mukhriz Mahathir.

However, Anwar was unwilling to have Mahathir Mohamad regain the post of PM and his party didn't agree to the proposal. Now, there may be a way out of the quagmire.

The great survivor

Having been a politician for nearly five decades, Anwar found himself on the cusp of losing everything as he was twice accused of sodomy and even jailed for five years in the first instance. He had to endure everything from solitary confinement to illegal assault in custody by a police officer.

He was actually convicted of the second set of sodomy charges in 2015 by a court which overturned the ruling of acquittal three years earlier. However, after Mahathir Mohamad returned to the office of PM in 2018, he obtained a royal pardon for his colleague from the Sultan.

Mahathir and Anwar had been close allies and it was the former PM who brought the younger man into government in 1982 during his first term of office. The 72-year old rose through the ranks, occupying several prominent ministries before becoming the Deputy to Mohamad in 1993.

His career was then put off rails by the sodomy accusations in 1998. However, he managed to stay relevant despite spending five years behind bars. He may be about to enjoy the fruits of his perseverance.