Anwar Ibrahim: The man who achieved his goal of leading Malaysia

But the alliance began to fray as King Mahatma, now over 90, kept shifting his goals for the transfer of power, amid bitter internal fighting over succession and a resurgence of Malay nationalism.

Mahathir’s unexpected resignation in February 2020 saw the coalition collapse, plunging Malaysia into a period of unprecedented political turmoil and leaving Anwar once again empty-handed.

After the new government collapsed, UMNO returned to power and appointed Muhyiddin Yassin as the new prime minister.

But just over a year after the pandemic peaked, Muhyiddin resigned after a tumultuous few months that saw him lose his majority support in parliament.

His successor, UMNO’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob, announced early general elections for October 2022. UMNO was confident that it could regain power after winning a series of by-elections.

Instead, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition won the most seats but fell short of the simple majority needed to form a government, and after days of deadlock, the king announced Anwar’s appointment, the culmination of 25 years of waiting.

But the road ahead remains fraught with challenges for Anwar: he must assemble a functioning governing coalition and will undoubtedly face challenges in promoting a more pluralistic, inclusive Malaysia in the face of rising Islamism.

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