Malaysian opposition figure and future PM begins campaign for parliamentary seat

Malaysian opposition figure and future PM begins campaign for parliamentary seat

Campaigning will begin in Port Dickson today for a local election in which Prime Minister to-be Anwar Ibrahim faces little

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim gestures as he leaves a hospital where he is receiving treatment, ahead of an audience with Malaysia’s King, in Kuala Lumpur

Photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

Campaigning will begin in Port Dickson today for a local election in which Prime Minister to-be Anwar Ibrahim faces little competition.

Ibrahim was released from prison earlier this year after the ousting of former Prime Minister Najib Razak. Current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad—who allied with Ibrahim to beat Razak—has promised to hand over the prime ministership to Ibrahim in the next year or two. Indeed, winning this local election is the first step in this transition process for Ibrahim, who must become a lawmaker before Prime Minister.

However, his promised premiership is not certain, as power is heavily concentrated in the hands of Mahathir who can easily renege on their handshake agreement. Not doing so, however, would only prove the powerful anti-corruption message of Anwar and throw Malaysia into political chaos.

If Anwar does take power in the next two years, he would likely expand upon Mahathir’s reforms, potentially putting an end to race-based policies and other unequal government treatment. As such changes would be radical for the largely conservative country, backlash from religious figures and other far-right politicians would be likely.

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