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A Long Week In Politics For Anwar Ends Well

A Long Week In Politics For Anwar Ends Well

There is a saying that a week is too long in politics and in the case of Malaysia, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has learned that once again.

PM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim took a week to unveil his new Cabinet of Ministers, which has divided both the nation and Malaysia’s political warlords.

Anwar had insisted on nominating only 25 ministers, but pressure from parties aligned with him in the new coalition in power has likely forced him to appoint a Cabinet of 28 ministers, while he has yet to appoint deputy ministers for some of the key positions.

Nonetheless, it is a Cabinet of surprises, one that would not have been so contentious if it had been announced a week earlier, says some. They add that this is the new politics of Malaysia.

But that would have been possible only if Anwar had a bigger majority and this is how Malaysians voted in the last elections.

They call it ‘matured’ politics in the country, that is the massive divide between the races in the voting patterns that have left Anwar with only a portion of Malay-Muslim support.

It could not have been a Cabinet without some controversial figures, such as the appointment of former Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who is widely despised on social media, as the new Minister of International Trade.

While netizens are now arguing about the nature of Zafrul’s appointment, it is clear that the majority of online comments are directed at the former CIMB Bank CEO.

Netizens are relieved that he is not the Minister of Finance in this case, and many thanked Mr Anwar for this.

Zafrul is back in politics

But Zafrul, defeated in the elections on Nov 19 in his maiden entry in electoral battles, is lucky to have his political ambitions revived.

The candidate who defeated Zafrul is from the PH alliance and was seen as a successful minister of health who lost the post because of the downfall of the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s regime in 2020.

But as Minister of International Trade, he will have a hard time going around the globe to attract investors.

As Minister of Finance during the administration of ex-PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and subsequently as the Finance Minister under ex-PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob, he called the shots.

Yet netizens call him a train wreck and during the presentation of the Budget 2023 which took place right before Ismail Sabri dissolved the Parliament, he was called a train on a high-speed derailment.

He rushed through the budget speech giving the impression he knew there will be no budget debates.

Nevertheless, Anwar also nominated Zahid Hamidi as Deputy Prime Minister, a move that has once again, divided the population online.

And once again, the netizens are finally admitting that Anwar had no choice but to accept that Zahid is his deputy, along with the second deputy, Fadillah Yusof, a member of the GPS coalition from the state of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo,

Meanwhile, Zahid has thanked Anwar for the appointment and has said that the position he is now holding is not a result of the spoils of war, but one of the trust that the PM has put in him.

He urged the opposition parties, the Perikatan Nasional, to stop dividing the nation and the new Ministers to work together in unison to reconstruct the nation’s economy in the post-COVID era.

Malaysia could have just seen the longest week in politics under Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister and many hope that this is the last of surprises in this new era.