Anwar Ibrahim has started work as Malaysia’s prime minister after promising to lead a government inclusive of everyone in the multiethnic, multireligious Southeast Asian nation.
Anwar clocked in at 9 am (01:00 GMT) at the prime minister’s office in the country’s administrative capital Putrajaya on Friday, after being sworn into office by the king the day before.
At his first press conference on Thursday night, the 75-year-old veteran politician sketched out his plans for the country.
He said he would not draw a salary and that his government would “guarantee and safeguard the rights of all Malaysians, especially the marginalized and impoverished, regardless of race or religion”.
He also stressed the importance of reform.
“We will never compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians,” he said at the late-night event.
Anwar was named prime minister by the king after an inconclusive election last Saturday that left his Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition with the most seats but short of the majority needed to rule. PH will govern the country in coalition with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), the main party in the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo, and Barisan Nasional (BN), the alliance that dominated Malaysian politics until 2018 when it lost power for the first time amid the multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.
Early in his Thursday night press conference, Anwar took a congratulatory call from Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after sharing a video on social media of him chatting with Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, the first foreign leader to offer their congratulations. Anwar described Indonesia as a “true friend” of Malaysia and said he would focus on strengthening the two countries relationship.