Leader of Malaysian ruling party expected to be elected to parliament in by-election

Leader of Malaysian ruling party expected to be elected to parliament in by-election

A by-election for Malaysia’s parliament will be held in the Port Dickson constituency today. Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the governing

FILE PHOTO: Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim speaks during the Singapore Summit in Singapore

Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su

A by-election for Malaysia’s parliament will be held in the Port Dickson constituency today. Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the governing Pakatan Harapan coalition, is expected to win.

Despite leading the PH, Anwar was unable to take contest May’s general election due to his imprisonment on sodomy charges. As such, when the PH upset the long-ruling Barisan Nasional it was PH chair—and former BN prime minister—Mahathir Mohamad who assumed the premiership, with a promise to eventually step aside for Anwar. Indeed, the by-election was organised to bring the now-pardoned leader into parliament.

The question is how the present and future prime ministers will coexist. Despite Mahathir’s previous government having first brought the sodomy charges against his then-deputy Anwar, the two now seem to be committed partners, having hosted a mega-rally together this week. But, either an early power-grab by Anwar or a delayed exit by Mahathir could renew friction.

The bigger Mr Anwar’s margin of victory—if he wins—the sooner the premiership will likely change hands. If the transition is orderly, it would indicate stability for the PH government; a contested transfer of power would signal chaos and infighting in the coalition.

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