Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s ascension to the position of the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia marked a significant milestone in his political journey, which had seen him endure decades of challenges, including imprisonment and legal battles. However, the question remains: Has Prime Minister Anwar delivered on his promises made during his campaign and early days in office? This article provides an overview of his first nine months in power, analyzing both successes and setbacks.
Anwar’s transition from an opposition leader to the head of government was not without its challenges. Some initial missteps, such as appointing his daughter Nurul Izzah as a senior economic and financial advisor, raised concerns about nepotism. However, she later resigned voluntarily. Another incident that drew attention was Anwar’s response to a question about meritocracy in university admission quotas, where his tone was criticized. These early moments highlighted the difficulties of adjusting to a new role.
During the run-up to the six state elections in August, Anwar actively campaigned throughout the country, utilizing government resources such as helicopters for travel. However, since then, he has reduced his public presence, which may be seen as a sign of adapting to the responsibilities of governance.
Controversy Surrounding Zahid’s DNAA: The decision by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to seek a conditional discharge for Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on his Yayasan Akalbudi case sparked controversy. While some expressed confidence in the judiciary system, others called for an explanation from the Attorney-General himself. Anwar’s response, stating that Parliament was not the platform to deliberate on court decisions, led to criticism.
Political Alliances and Discontent: Anwar’s appointment of Ahmad Zahid as Deputy Prime Minister raised eyebrows but was seen as an attempt to secure Malay support, given their shared history in UMNO Youth. However, this move faced backlash, with Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman announcing MUDA’s withdrawal from the ruling coalition. This shift could potentially affect Anwar’s parliamentary majority.
Voices of Disappointment: Civil society groups and human rights activists in Malaysia have expressed disappointment with Anwar’s performance as PMX. They accuse him of failing to fulfill campaign promises, especially concerning the review or revocation of colonial-era laws like the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, and the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Anwar Ibrahim’s first nine months as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister have been marked by both successes and controversies. While he has made efforts to adapt to his new role and secure political alliances, he faces challenges related to public perception, judicial decisions, and the fulfillment of campaign promises.
The coming months will be crucial in determining whether Anwar can meet the expectations of his supporters and effectively govern Malaysia.