Published: Sat, May 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Malaysia has chosen the world's oldest head of government

Malaysia has chosen the world's oldest head of government

"We expect today for me to be sworn in as prime minister", he told a press conference.

Mahathir sacked Anwar in 1998 over political differences, and he was subsequently jailed on charges of sodomy and abuse of power, in a case widely condemned as politically motivated.

It capped a dramatic comeback for Mahathir, who previously ruled the country at the head of BN for 22 years and came out of retirement to take on his ex-protégé, Prime Minister Najib Razak, after the leader became embroiled in a massive corruption scandal.

The Philippines on Friday, May 11, congratulated Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on his election victory, and looked forward to "enhanced" ties with Malaysia under his rule.

Mr Anwar is the prime minister-in-waiting of Pakatan Harapan (PH), the coalition that swept a majority of parliamentary seats at the general election on Wednesday, ending Barisan Nasional's (BN) six decades in power. But the two agreed to set aside their hard past in a bid to unseat premier Najib Razak from power. Mahathir vowed to tap Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the deputy prime minister, as per Xinhua.

The corruption scandal revolves around a state fund, known as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad, commonly known as 1MDB. Despite being in prison, Anwar has remained popular with opposition supporters, and it was part of Mahathir's terms of leadership that he would work to secure his release.

Insiders say the priority for Mr Mahathir is to name a cabinet, which is complicated by the delicate balance of interests among the parties in coalition.

It was unclear if Mr. Najib and Ms. Mansor were still planning to leave after Malaysian media reported the flight manifest. Najib denied any wrongdoing and Mohamed Apandi cleared Najib in 2016, saying the money was a donation from Saudi Arabia's royal family and most of it returned.

Mahathir Mohamad, the autocratic strongman who turned on his chosen successor Anwar Ibrahim, is now allied with him and seeking his release, having deposed Najib Razak, another one-time Mahathir protégé.

"After that he will be free to participate fully in politics", though he cautioned, "this process will take some time".

TV live-broadcast showed that Mahathir, wearing traditional malay attire, pledged to serve the country and the people well. They were unified primarily by their disdain for Mr. Najib, and his ouster raises questions about whether such cooperation will continue.

That tenacious appetite to secure his rule saw a younger Mahathir turn turn against the judiciary, banish opponents and allies to jail, ban public protest and issue a raft of laws aimed at repressing freedom of speech.

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