Anwar Ibrahim has been released from the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital yesterday.
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) 16 May 2018
His release was a result of a Royal Pardon by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong.
So here are 10 things you should know about Anwar Ibrahim as he celebrates his release:
1. He was the Education Minister.
In 1986, then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad appointed Anwar as the Education Minister. He then went on to introduce several policies into the national curriculum.
One notable change Anwar introduced was the renaming of Bahasa Melayu to Bahasa Malaysia. It was also during this period that Anwar was appointed the 25th President of the UNESCO’s General Conference and the 2nd President of the International Islamic University.
2. Anwar chaired the World Bank Development Committee.
Anwar became the Minister of Finance in 1991. As Finance Minister, he advocated greater accountability, refused to offer government bail-outs and instituted widespread spending cuts.
This led to him being appointed as the Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. He served as the Chairman from March to September 1998.
3. He was Mahathir’s sidekick!
In 1993, Anwar ran against incumbent Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghafar Baba. This was a race to become the Robin to Mahathir’s Batman. Mahathir seemed to be grooming him to be his replacement.
Different opinions on how to solve the Financial Crisis in 1997/1998 had led to a breakdown in relations. This led to Anwar’s sacking.
4. He was a College Professor.
With his jail time, Anwar could not re-enter politics for 5 years. As a result, he became a travelling college Professor for a number of years to pass the time.
Anwar then held teaching positions at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he was a visiting fellow and senior associate member. He also served at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC as a Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow.
5. Rooted for an Independent Judiciary and freedom of the Press.
Following his victory in the Permatang Puih by-election in 2008, Anwar then returned to Parliament as the leader of the Opposition.
He had stressed the need for liberalization for an independent judiciary and a free media. This is all in the need to combat endemic corruption as Anwar had considered Malaysia to be close to failed state status.
6. Was against GST for various reasons
Says had reported Anwar’s debate on the Malaysian Budget 2014 at Parliament. Due to no Cabinet Ministers being present, Anwar was able to voice out his dissatisfaction at then Prime Minister Najib’s financial planning skills.
He had voiced out his concerns that the Goods and Service Tax (GST) may lead to a growing disparity between the rich and poor. He also was concerned that GST would cause a 5% inflation. (As it turned out, the GST only had minimal impact)
7. PR wanted him to be the Selangor MB
In 2014, Lee Chin Cheh had resigned as the member of the Selangor State Legislature for Kajang. Pakatan Rakyat announced Anwar as their candidate for the seat hoping to propel him as the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Selangor.
The Kajang Move (as it was called) did not occur as Anwar’s sodomy aquittal was then overturned by the Malaysian Court of Appeal. As a result, his wife and PKR President Wan Azizah became the Pakatan Rakyat candidate for the Kajang seat.
8. His conviction was controversial on a global scale
Anwar’s acquittal being overturned was seen as a farce on the international scale. Human Rights Watch described the ruling as a “major setback for human rights in Malaysia”.
With the overturning of the acquittal, the United States had expressed its disappointment towards the trial, which undermines the rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
9. His wife is currently the DPM!
With the historic and monumental results of GE 14, Wan Azizah’s appointment as the 1st Female Deputy Prime Minister would probably get lost in all the excitement.
It is still currently unknown how this would all pan out as a husband and wife holding the top 2 posts in a government may raise some eyebrows.
10. He is now the PM in waiting.
By now, it is common knowledge that Mahathir’s return as Prime Minister is just in the interim. The top brass in Pakatan Harapan has all acknowledged Anwar as Prime Minister in waiting.
Mahathir would be holding the post for 1-2 years before any possible transition of power.
To sum it up, Anwar journey has been a challenging one.
He has come a long way to become the Prime Minister in waiting. The trials and tribulations have been aplenty but his will to succeed and for change should serve as an inspiration for all.