Anwar Ibrahim
Leader of the Opposition
In office
28 August 2008 – Subject to royal pardon
Prime MinisterAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
Najib Razak
Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail
Member of the Malaysian Parliament
for Permatang Pauh
In office
28 August 2008 – Subject to royal pardon
Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail
Succeeded byTBD
In office
29 March 1982 – 14 April 1999
Preceded byZabidi Ali
Succeeded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail
Leader of the People's Pact
In office
28 August 2008 – Subject to royal pardon
Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail
Succeeded byTBD
7th Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
In office
1 December 1993 – 2 September 1998
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
Preceded byGhafar Baba
Succeeded byAbdullah Ahmad Badawi
President of International Islamic University Malaysia
In office
ChancellorAhmad Shah
Preceded byHussein Onn
Succeeded byNajib Razak
Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund
In office
March 1998 – September 1998
Preceded byDriss Jettou
Succeeded byTarrin Nimmanahaeminda
President of the UNESCO General Conference
In office
Preceded byGuillermo Putzeys Alvarez
Succeeded byBethwell Allan Ogot
Personal details
Born (1947-04-20) 20 April 1947 (age 77)
Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaya
Political partyUnited Malays National Organisation (1982–1998)
People's Justice Party (2006–present)
Other political
Barisan Nasional (1982–1998)
Pakatan Rakyat (2006–present)
SpouseWan Azizah Wan Ismail
ChildrenSix, including Nurul Izzah Anwar
Alma materUniversity of Malaya
WebsiteOfficial website
Anwar Ibrahim

Datuk Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim (born 20 April 1947) is a Malaysian politician. He is a founder and leading figure of the People's Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat), component party of Pakatan Rakyat (People's Pact).

Anwar served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1993 to 1998 and Finance Minister from 1991 to 1998 when he was a member of UMNO, the major party in the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. However, he was sacked from his post by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and jailed for corruption and sodomy. Following his release by Mahathir's successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Anwar has been the leading figure in the opposition and helped coalesce the opposition parties into the Pakatan Rakyat, which contested the 2008 and 2013 general elections.

Anwar is currently serving a five-year prison sentence, having been convicted for sodomy.

Early years (1968–1982)

Anwar Ibrahim speaking

From 1968 to 1971, as a student, Anwar was the president of National Union Of Malaysian Muslim Students. Around the same time, he was also the president of University of Malaya Malay Language Society (Malay: Persatuan Bahasa Melayu Universiti Malaya (PBMUM) ). In 1971, he was a member of the pro tem committee of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) or Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia which he co-founded. At the same time, he was elected as the 2nd President of the Malaysian Youth Council or Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM). In 1974, Anwar was arrested during student protests against rural poverty and hunger. This came as a report surfaced stating that a family died from starvation in a village in Baling, in the state of Kedah, which was later demonstrated to be false. However the rubber tappers in Baling were experiencing severe hardship as the price of rubber dropped in 1974. He was imprisoned under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, and spent 20 months in the Kamunting Detention Centre. From 1975 till 1982 he was representative for Asia Pacific of World Assembly of Muslim Youth under Sheikh Hassan Abdullah.

Governmental career (1982–1998)

In 1982, Anwar, who was the founding leader and second president of a youth Islamic organisation called Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), shocked his liberal supporters by joining the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), led by Mahathir bin Mohamad, who had become prime minister in 1981. He moved up the political ranks quickly: his first ministerial office was that of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983; after that, he headed the agriculture ministry in 1984 before becoming Minister of Education in 1986. By then, speculation was rife about Anwar's ascent to the Deputy Prime Minister's position as it was a commonly-occurring phenomenon in Malaysia for the Education Minister to assume the position of Deputy PM in the near future.

During his tenure as Education Minister, Anwar introduced numerous pro-Malay policies in the national school curriculum. One of his major changes was to rename the national language from Bahasa Malaysia to Bahasa Melayu. Non-Malays criticised this move as it would cause the younger generation to be detached from the national language, since they would attribute it to being something that belongs to the Malays and not to Malaysians. As the minister of education, Anwar was elected as the 25th President of UNESCO's General Conference. In 1988, Anwar Ibrahim became the second President of International Islamic University of Malaysia.[1]

US Secretary of Defense William Cohen (right) meets with Anwar Ibrahim (left) in his Pentagon office.

In 1991, Anwar was appointed Minister of Finance. During his tenure as Finance Minister his impact was immediate; Malaysia enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and economic growth. Shortly after becoming Finance Minister, Euromoney named him as a top four finance minister and in 1996 Asiamoney named him Finance Minister of the Year. In the midst of Asian Financial Crises of 1997, Anwar was hailed for guiding Malaysia through the period of instability.[who?] He backed free market principles and highlighted the issue of the proximity of business and politics in Malaysia. He advocated greater accountability, refused to offer government bail-outs and instituted widespread spending cuts. As a deputy prime minister and finance minister, in March 1998, Anwar Ibrahim was selected as the Chairman of the Development Committee of World Bank and International Monetary Fund from March 1998 until September 1998.[2]

In 1993, he became Mahathir's Deputy Prime Minister after winning the Deputy Presidency of UMNO against Ghafar Baba. There is report on Anwar using large cash payments to win support. Anwar is alleged to have resorted to money politics to secure his position as deputy president of UMNO. Anwar's followers were witnessed by even foreign journalists handing out packets of money to acquire support of UMNO division leaders. These followers are said to be working under Anwar's instructions.[3] Anwar was being groomed to succeed Mahathir as prime minister, and frequently alluded in public to his "son-father" relationship with Mahathir; in early 1997, Mahathir appointed Anwar to be acting Prime Minister while he took a two-month holiday.

Towards the end of the 1990s, however, the relationship with Mahathir had begun to deteriorate, triggered by their conflicting views on governance. In Mahathir's absence, Anwar had independently taken radical steps to change the country's governing mechanisms which were in direct conflict with Mahathir's policies. Issues such as how Malaysia would respond to a financial crisis were often at the forefront of this conflict.

Anwar's frontal attack against what he described as the widespread culture of nepotism and cronyism within UMNO (and the ruling coalition as a whole) angered Mahathir, as did his attempts to dismantle the protectionist policies that Mahathir had set up. "Cronyism" was identified by Anwar as a major cause of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the country.

Financial crisis, fall from power and first conviction

During the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis Anwar, as finance minister, supported the International Monetary Fund (IMF) plan. He also instituted an austerity package that cut government spending by 18%, cut ministerial salaries and deferred major projects. "Mega projects", despite being a cornerstone of Mahathir's development strategy, were greatly curtailed.

Although many Malaysian companies faced bankruptcy, Anwar declared: "There is no question of any bailout. The banks will be allowed to protect themselves and the government will not interfere." Anwar advocated a free-market approach to the crisis, including foreign investment and trade liberalisation. Mahathir blamed currency speculators like George Soros for the crisis, and supported currency controls and tighter regulation of foreign investment.[4]

In 1998 Newsweek magazine named Anwar the "Asian of the Year". However, in that year, matters between Anwar and Mahathir came to a head around the time of the quadrennial UMNO General Assembly. The Youth wing of UMNO, headed by Anwar's associate Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, gave notice that it would initiate a debate on "cronyism and nepotism". At the General Assembly, a book, 50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM ("50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister") was circulated containing graphic allegations of homosexuality, as well as accusations of corruption against Anwar. The book was written by Khalid Jafri, an ex-editor of the government-controlled newspaper Utusan Malaysia and former editor-in-chief of a failed magazine, Harian National. Anwar obtained a court injunction to prevent further distribution of the book and filed a lawsuit against the author for defamation. Police charged the author of the book with malicious publishing of false news.[5] The police were instructed to investigate the veracity of the claims. In what the Sydney Morning Herald termed a "blatantly political fix-up",[6]

Anwar was arrested on 20 September 1998. He was subsequently charged with corruption for allegedly interfering with police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct made against him. While he was in police custody in 1998, Anwar was beaten by the then Inspector General of Police, Rahim Noor. Rahim was subsequently found guilty of assault and jailed for two months in 2000. He made a public apology to Anwar and paid undisclosed damages.[7] In April 1999, following a trial, Anwar was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. Two months later, he was sentenced to nine years' imprisonment, which he was ordered to serve after he completed his six-year sentence for the sodomy case.[8]

His trial and conviction were widely discredited by the international community. Amnesty International stated that the trial proceedings "exposed a pattern of political manipulation of key state institutions including the police, public prosecutor’s office and the judiciary" and declared Anwar a prisoner of conscience, stating that he had been arrested in order to silence him as a political opponent.[9] Many world leaders, including US Vice-President Al Gore, called for his release from prison.

His conviction was overturned by the Malaysian Supreme Court and Anwar was finally released from solitary confinement on 2 September 2004.[10]

In July 2008, he was arrested over allegations he sodomised one of his male aides, but was acquitted of the charge in January 2012.[11] The presiding judge ruled that DNA evidence used in the case had been compromised. However on 7 March 2014 the appeal court over-ruled the high Court reinstating the conviction. The decision came as Anwar was preparing to contest a by-election on 23 March 2014 which he was expected to win. The conviction prevented him from standing. Human Rights Watch was critical of the decision saying it was politically motivated.[12]

Reformasi movement and formation of party

Shortly after Anwar was dismissed as deputy prime minister by the then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar and his supporters initiated the Reformasi movement. It consisted of several mass demonstrations and rallies against the long-standing Barisan Nasional coalition government. At the 1998 APEC Summit in Kuala Lumpur, the Vice-President of the United States, Al Gore, gave a speech supporting Anwar and the reformasi movement in front of the Prime Minister of Malaysia and other Asia-Pacific premiers.

Reformasi led to the formation of a new multiracially-based party named Parti Keadilan Nasional (National Justice Party). In 1999, a general election was held. The new Parti Keadilan Nasional, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, and Democratic Action Party formed a Barisan Alternatif (Alternative Front), in a combined initiative to replace the standing Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government. In August 2003, Parti Keadilan Nasional merged with Parti Rakyat Malaysia (Malaysian's People Party) to form Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or People's Justice Party headed by Wan Azizah as president. PKR made huge gains in the 2008 general election, winning 31 seats and becoming the largest opposition party in parliament. On April 2008, PKR, PAS and DAP formed a new alliance named Pakatan Rakyat.[13]

Interim years (1999–2007)

Years in prison and subsequent release

In 1999, Anwar brought suit against Prime Minister Mahathir for defamation for allegedly uttering accusations of immoral acts and calling Anwar a homosexual at a news conference in Malaysia.[14]

The sodomy verdict was partially overturned in 2004, resulting in Anwar's release from prison as he had already served his sentence for the corruption offence.[15] The author of the book died in 2005 of complications from diabetes but before the High Court found that he had committed libel and awarded Anwar millions of ringgit in compensation.[16] The Federal Court on 8 March 2010 ruled that the 1998 dismissal of Anwar from his Cabinet posts by Mahathir was constitutional and valid, meaning Anwar had failed in his bid to challenge his sacking.[17][18][19]

Although the point was by now moot, an appeal on the corruption charges was heard on 6 September 2004. Under Malaysian law a person is banned from political activities for five years after the end of his sentence. Success in this appeal would have allowed him to return to politics immediately. On 7 September, the court agreed to hear Anwar's appeal. However, on 15 September, the Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that its previous decision to uphold a High Court ruling that found Anwar guilty was in order, relegating Anwar to the sidelines of Malaysian politics until 14 April 2008. The only way for Anwar to be freed from this stricture would have been for him to receive a pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Teaching and non-profit work

Since his release from prison, Anwar has held teaching positions at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he was a visiting fellow and senior associate member, at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC as a Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow, and in 2005–2006 as a visiting professor at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim–Christian Understanding in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where he continues as a Senior Fellow.[20] In March 2006 he was appointed as Honorary President of the London-based organisation AccountAbility (Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility).[21]

In July 2006, Anwar was elected Chair of the Washington-based Foundation For the Future.[22] In this capacity, he signed 1 October 2006 letter to Robin Cleveland of the World Bank, requesting the transfer of Shaha Riza from the US Department of State to the Foundation for the Future. This transaction led to Paul Wolfowitz's resignation as president of the organisation.[23] He was one of the signatories of A Common Word Between Us and You in 2007, an open letter by Islamic scholars to Christian leaders, calling for peace and understanding.

Return to politics

In November 2006, Anwar announced he planned to run for Parliament in 2008, after his disqualification expired. Anwar has been critical of government policies since his release from prison, most notably of the controversial New Economic Policy (NEP), which provides affirmative action for the Bumiputras. The policy sets a number of quotas, such as for units of housing and initial public offerings, that must be met.[24]

Before he became re-entitled to run for Parliament in 2008, he acted as an "advisor" of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the party of which his wife Dr. Wan Azizah is president. He was in the forefront in organising a November 2007 mass rally, called the 2007 Bersih Rally, which took place in the Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur to demand clean and fair elections. The gathering was organised by BERSIH, a coalition comprising political parties and civil society groups, and drew supporters from all over the country.

The 2008 election date, however, was set for 8 March 2008, sparking criticisms that Barisan Nasional called for early elections in a bid to deny Anwar's plans for a return to Parliament. In response, Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, declared that she would step down should she retain her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat to force a by-election in which Anwar himself would contest.[25]

When asked about the possibility of Anwar becoming the next Prime Minister, former leader Tun Dr. Mahathir reacted by saying, "He would make a good Prime Minister of Israel".[26]

On 14 April 2008, Anwar celebrated his official return to the political stage, as his ban from public office expired a decade after he was fired as Deputy Prime Minister. The opposition seized a third of parliamentary seats and five states in the worst ever showing for the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled for half a century, with Anwar at the helm.[27] A gathering of more than 40,000 supporters greeted Anwar in a rally welcoming his return to politics. Police interrupted Anwar after he had addressed the rally for nearly two hours and called for him to stop the gathering since there was no legal permission for the rally.[28]

On 29 April 2008, after 10 years of absence, he returned to the Parliament, albeit upon invitation as a spouse guest of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, People's Justice Party and the first female opposition leader in Malaysian Parliament's history.[29]

Permatang Pauh by-election

Main article: Permatang Pauh by-election, 2008

Anwar Ibrahim was victorious in the Permatang Pauh by-election held on 26 August 2008. Muhammad Muhammad Taib, information chief of the UMNO, stated: "Yes of course we have lost . . . we were the underdogs going into this race."[30] Final results announced by the Election Commission revealed that Anwar Ibrahim won 31,195 of the estimated 47,000 votes cast in the district, while Arif Shah Omar Shah received 15,524 votes and a third candidate had 92 votes.[31][32]

On 28 August 2008, Anwar, dressed in a dark blue traditional Malay outfit and black "songkok" hat, took the oath at the main chamber of Parliament house in Kuala Lumpur, as MP for Permatang Pauh at 10.03 am before Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. He formally declared Anwar the leader of the 3-party opposition alliance. With his daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar, also a parliamentarian, Anwar announced: "I'm glad to be back after a decade. The prime minister has lost the mandate of the country and the nation."[33][34] At that time Anwar needed 30 government lawmakers to defect to the Opposition to form the next government.[35][36][37]

Career as opposition leader (2008–present)

Anwar Ibrahim speaks at an election campaign

On 26 August 2008, Anwar won re-election in the Permatang Pauh by-election and returned to Parliament as leader of the Malaysian opposition. He has stated the need for liberalisation, including an independent judiciary and free media, to combat the endemic corruption that he considers pushes Malaysia close to failed state status.[38]

Petition against Najib Razak

Anwar continued to attack Najib on his first day as prime minister, stating he found inconsistencies in the latter's decision to release 13 Internal Security Act detainees. He said as long as the ISA existed, Barisan Nasional could still detain citizens at will.[39] In September 2011 Prime Minister Najib Razak acted to abolish the Internal Security Act and three other laws.[40] Some members of the opposition did not view this in a positive way.[41]

Attempts to form a majority coalition

Anwar has missed several deadlines he personally set for the transfer of power, each of which came and went: the most recent was Tuesday 16 September 2008.[42] Anwar said he would need more time, and the recalibration of his message has not gone unnoticed: Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak chose that day to initiate a broadband internet program Anwar opposes, saying that he had not doubted that the government would still be in office on 16 September.[43] Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi too pointed out that Anwar had missed his own deadline, and dismissed his claim to have secured the defection of 30 MPs.[44]

By 25 September Anwar had still not amassed enough votes, creating doubts for Malaysians about whether he was really ready to take power,[45] particularly in light of his failure to meet his own 16 September deadline for the transition of power. In the interim, UMNO had its own party meeting[46][47] to broker Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's step down from power in June 2009, a year earlier than previously promised[48]

On 24 October 2008, Anwar admitted problems with his stalled bid to topple the UMNO's majority, saying that Pakatan Rakyat is running out of options to create a majority.[49] His "credibility among ordinary Malaysians has been somewhat dented after Sept 16 and the new promise of forming the Government has not generated the sort of anticipation or excitement as before."[50] Media within the country have taken an increasingly hostile view towards Anwar's protestations and failed threats to assemble a majority government.[51]

On 30 March 2010, Anwar Ibrahim alleged in the Dewan Rakyat the 1Malaysia was mirrored after "One Israel" concept and designed by Mindteams Sdn Bhd, a branch in Malaysia of Apco Worldwide, an international public relations company engaged by the Malaysian government that also created the One Israel concept in 1999 for then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.[52] The Barisan Nasional government has claimed it was false and its lawmakers have tabled a motion to censure Anwar for misleading the Parliament over his 1Malaysia-One Israel allegations which was passed by the Parliament on 22 April 2010.[53]

2008 Allegations of sodomy

Main article: Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trials

On 29 June 2008, online news portal Malaysiakini reported that an aide of Anwar Ibrahim, Saiful Bukhari Azlan had lodged a police report claiming that he had been sodomised by Anwar.[54] Anwar said that the possibility of a prison sentence as a result of the allegations could be seen as an attempt to remove him from the leadership of the opposition following his growing support and by-election victories. He also reaffirmed his innocence and cited evidence in the form of medical reports.[38] Anwar was found not guilty on 9 January 2012 by The High Court. The presiding judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah found that the DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution was unreliable, and acquitted Anwar.[55] Eleven days later, the prosecution filed an appeal against the acquittal.[56]

Two years later, The Court of Appeal overturned the acquittal. The three-men bench led by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh unanimously decided that the High Court failed to “critically evaluate” the evidence submitted by government chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong.[57] As part of his overturned acquittal on 4 March 2014, Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail, but remains free on bail while he appeals against the verdict. Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists have accused the Malaysian Government of meddling in this particular judicial matter.[58] On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court of Malaysia upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal and affirmed the five-year prison sentence. He was sent immediately to Sungai Buloh Prison, Selangor, to serve the sentence.[59]

Hidden sex tape allegation

On 21 March 2011 a sex video appeared which claimed to feature Anwar Ibrahim.[citation needed] A day after that, Anwar Ibrahim denied his involvement in the incident and filed a police complaint.[60] The police are conducting investigations against a trio of men dubbed the Datuk T trio, who screened the sex video in the first place. They are former Malacca chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and former Perkasa treasurer Datuk Shuaib Lazim.[61][62]

Salahuddin Ayub, Vice-President of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, ruled out suspending ties with Pakatan Rakyat. He stated, "Everything is wrong about the whole scandal. The way the video was revealed was wrong and watching it is wrong. Islam does not accept this".[63] However the chief of PAS's Ulama council has stated that if the video is authentic they would consider reviewing ties with PKR.[63] Lim Kit Siang, head of the Democratic Action Party stated that the Barisan Nasional reached "new depths in character assassination" and that the scandal was manufactured just in time for the Sarawak Elections.[63] Chairman of UMNO's youth wing, Khairy Jamaluddin stated that the Barisan National never said that it was Anwar in the video, and that it was odd that the opposition automatically took a defensive attitude.[64] Barisan Nasional MP, Abdul Rahman Dahlan stated that the matter should remain personal, and not be used for political purposes.[64] On 4 April, part of the sex clip with a running time of nearly two minutes, was leaked online on anti-PKR blogsites and YouTube. A second part of the sex video was released on YouTube and a pro-UMNO blog website.[65][66] The police and the government have been criticised for their slow response by the opposition in prosecuting the culprits who showed the sex video.

On 24 June 2011, Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul screened a video documentary to demonstrate that a sex video featuring a man who resembles Anwar Ibrahim could be faked. Johari also points out that Anwar no longer wears glasses after his eye surgery while the person in the video did in the beginning of the clip. The video also showed how make-up artists could easily produce an Anwar look-alike. Anwar has maintained his innocence and claims that the proceedings were part of a conspiracy to tarnish his image.[67]

Jews, Israel, APCO Worldwide, and 1Malaysia

Anwar has made numerous remarks about a supposed conspiracy among the Malaysian government, APCO (a public relations firm retained by the Malaysian government), Israel, and the United States. Anwar has condemned the Malaysian government for seeking advice from APCO. He claims that the firm is linked to the "murder of Muslims in Palestine." He further claims to have given proof to a disciplinary committee of the Malaysian parliament, investigating his comments, that APCO is a front for the Israeli government. On another occasion, Anwar, speaking from the parliament, claimed that the firm was controlled by Jews and working on behalf of the American government to influence Malaysian foreign policy. He further implied that changes in Malaysian foreign policy could only be explained if Jews were manipulating Malaysia for the United States.[68]

On 22 April 2010 Anwar was censured by Malaysia's parliament for remarks he made during a press conference in parliament on 30 March 2010. During the press conference, Anwar claimed to have documents linking 1Malaysia, One Israel, and the public relations firm APCO but refused to allow access to the documents when challenged[52] The Malaysian government and APCO have both strongly denied Anwar's allegations. The censure motion passed by the House of Representatives referred Anwar's case to the Rights and Privileges Committee which will recommend a punishment for approval by the full chamber. Such punishment could include being banned from parliament.[53][69][70] However Anwar retaliated against the Malaysian government attacks by producing the two documents to support his claims of links between APCO and 1Malaysia.[69][70]

In a press conference at the London School of Economics Anwar made comments about Zionists and "nasty Jews". In the press conference he also stated that, "There are good Jews, there are bad Jews, there are good Muslims and bad Muslims."[71]

In May 2010, B'nai B'rith International, a prominent Jewish human rights organisation condemned Anwar in a letter to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, claiming that Anwar was a "purveyor of anti-Jewish hatred" and asked the American government to suspend all contact with Anwar.[72]

2012 Israeli-Palestinian Security comments

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Anwar Ibrahim stated, "I think our policy should be clear—protect the security [of Israel] but you must be as firm in protecting the legitimate interests of the Palestinians."[73]

This comment sparked an array of criticism from Malaysia's ruling party, UMNO. UMNO member of parliament Khairy Jamaluddin stated that Anwar's comments "show a blanket support for anything Israel does" and that "The issue of Palestine is a top foreign policy priority for my party, it would be an issue during the election year or otherwise… timing doesn’t matter.".[74]

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad said he was not surprised by Anwar's comments, and stated with regard to Ibrahim's relationship with the Jewish community, "You can't be friendly with them and against them".[75]

The opposition party PAS stated that it would respond to Anwar's comments on 12 February 2012.[76]

Later, Anwar clarified his stand; he said that the remarks were consistent with the two-state solution adopted by the United Nations that is accepted by the Arab world, as well as Malaysia and Hamas, the Palestinian government.[77]

"I am issuing a stern warning to anyone trying to twist my statement just so that they can say that I have betrayed the aspirations of the Palestinian people", he said, continuing with stating that his party's stance "is to defend the rights of whoever it is that has been victimized".[74]

Views on gay marriage and homosexuality

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Anwar stated that he opposed gay marriage as he upholds the sanctity of marriage between men and women but the laws on sodomy in Malaysia must be changed as they are "archaic".[78]

In an interview with British Broadcasting Corporation, Anwar said Malaysia’s laws concerning homosexuality – which imprison anyone found guilty of sodomy for up to 20 years, and also potentially expose them to strokes of the cane and a fine – are "archaic," though he maintained he supports the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. He earlier was asked by an interviewer on BBC whether he plans to abolish the set of laws penalising sodomy in Malaysia after he had been targeted by the laws twice. Clarifying his comments to the Wall Street Journal, Anwar maintained that he does not advocate legalising homosexuality or making gay marriage permissible — only that the laws should be amended to ensure private affairs are not penalised. "It is not my business to attack people or arrest people based on their sexual orientation," he said. "Morality is in the public sphere, not beyond that."[79]

13th general election

Main articles: Malaysian general election, 2013 and Malaysia's Post General Election Rally 2013

On the 13th general election, Anwar Ibrahim as the Leader of the Opposition led his Pakatan Rakyat coalition which comprises the three parties (DAP, PAS, PKR) to contest in the election. On 25 February 2013, Pakatan Rakyat launched their manifesto titled The People’s Manifesto: Pakatan the hope of the people to capture the attention of 13 million voters, pledging to reduce their financial burden, among other promises.[80][81]

Anwar speaking at a rally denouncing the May 2013 election results.

Pakatan Rakyat did not achieve the regime change target in the election despite obtaining 50.9% of popular vote compared to the 47.4% gained by BN. This is due to heavy malapportionment of the electoral districts.[82] Pakatan Rakyat also gained 7 more parliamentary seats compared to the 12th general election.

Prior to the election, Anwar said that he would step down from politics if his team did not win the election. During an interview with an Australian media he specifically stated that "I will try my best. I am confident we will win. But if not, I will step down." In the same interview, Jim Middleton (the interviewer) stated that Anwar Ibrahim is becoming the Lee Kuan Yew of the Malaysian opposition[83] Al Jazeera also reported that Anwar Ibrahim came close to winning the election on 5 May 2013; however he has refused to admit defeat and therefore also has not stepped down.[84] On 7 May 2013, Anwar Ibrahim vowed to lead a "fierce movement" to reform the country’s electoral system and challenge the results of an election he lost.[85]

On 8 May 2013, about 120,000 people wearing black gathered at Petaling Jaya Stadium, Kelana Jaya, Selangor, to attend a rally organised by Anwar to protest against the election results and demand a free and fair election.[86] Since then, the #Black505 movement continued for another 2 months with touring all over the country. A successful fund raising #Black505 dinner was held in Thean Hou temple hall on 22 June 2013, hosted by Wangsa Maju MP Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong on behalf of PKR. Anwar Ibrahim immediately launched petition of over 30 disputed parliamentary seats in July 2013, but the cases were thrown off election court for technical reasons.[87]

Involvement in Kajang Move

Main article: Kajang Move

On 27 January 2014, ADUN of Kajang, Lee Chin Cheh resigned.[88] This triggered a by-election. A day later, Anwar Ibrahim was announced as Pakatan Rakyat candidate for the by election.[89] Anwar's candidacy was originally to propel him to become Selangor's Menteri Besar.[90] This move were later on known as the "Kajang Move".

This move, however, did not materialize as he was sentenced to five years' prison after Malaysia's court of appeal overturns his sodomy acquittal causing Anwar to lose his qualification to be the state assembly candidate.[91] On 9 March 2014, PKR announced party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as its new candidate for the Kajang by-election.[92] Anwar's Datuk Seri title was stripped by the Sultan of Selangor for "repeated questioning of the integrity" of the state's ruler during the subsequent crisis that saw the Sultan refuse to appoint Wan Azizah as Menteri Besar.[93] Anwar was able to continue using the "Datuk Seri" title because it had also been conferred on him by several other Malaysian states.[94]

Reformasi 2.0

On 8 March 2014, PKR Deputy President Mohamed Azmin Ali said at a Kajang by-election campaign in Sungai Sekamat there would be Reformasi 2.0 soon to protest against Anwar’s sodomy conviction which allegedly a political move to remove Anwar from politics. On 21 March 2014, Anwar launched Reformasi 2.0 movement at the Kajang Stadium at 9pm.[95] It, however, has yet to create an impact as it has lukewarm support.[96]

Personal life

Anwar was born in Cherok Tok Kun, a village in Bukit Mertajam on the mainland side of the northern Malaysian state of Penang. His father, Ibrahim Abdul Rahman started his career as a hospital porter, later to join politics as the UMNO Member of Parliament for Seberang Perai Central between 1959 to 1969 and also as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health from 1964 to 1969. His mother, Che Yan Hussein, was a housewife active in UMNO grassroots politics in Penang.[97] He undertook his secondary education at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. He was educated at the University of Malaya, where he read Malay Studies, and worked on his Masters in Literature through National University of Malaysia while in prison from 1974–75.[98]

He is married to Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and they have four daughters and a son. His eldest daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, is also a member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai.

Election Results

Parliament of Malaysia
Year Constituency Government Votes Pct Opposition Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1982 Permatang Pauh, Penang Anwar Ibrahim (UMNO) Unknown Unknown Zabidi Ali (PAS) Unknown Unknown Unknown 14,352 Unknown
1986 P041 Permatang Pauh, Penang Anwar Ibrahim (UMNO) 17,979 70.56 Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 7,500 29.44% 26,098 10,479 74.82%
1990 Anwar Ibrahim (UMNO) 23,793 75.69 Mahfuz Omar (PAS) 7,643 24.31% 31,740 16,150 78.32%
1995 P044 Permatang Pauh, Penang Anwar Ibrahim (UMNO) 27,945 76.08 Haji A. Rahman Manap (DAP) 4,715 12.84% 37,618 23,230 78.79%
Ustaz Haji Mazani Abdullah (PAS) 4,071 11.08%
Parliament of Malaysia: P044 Permatang Pauh, Penang
Year Opposition Votes Pct Government Votes Pct Others Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
2008 Anwar Ibrahim (PKR) 31,195 66.64% Arif Shah Omar Shah (UMNO) 15,524 33.16% Hanafi Mamat (AKIM) 92 0.20% 47,258 15,671 80.84%
2013 Anwar Ibrahim (PKR) 37,090 58.56% Mazlan Ismail (UMNO) 25,369 40.06% Abdullah Zawawi Samsudin (Ind) 201 0.32% 63,332 11,721 88.33%


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Other references


Party political offices Preceded byShuhaimi Kamarudin Leader of the United Malays National Organisation Youth Branch 1982–1987 Succeeded byNajib Tun Razak Preceded byGhafar Baba Deputy President of the United Malays National Organisation 1993–1998 VacantTitle next held byAbdullah Ahmad Badawi Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail Leader of the People's Pact 2008–present Vacant Political offices Preceded byMokhtar Hashim Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports 1983–1984 Succeeded bySulaiman Daud Preceded byManan Osman Minister of Agriculture 1984–1986 Succeeded bySanusi Junid Preceded byAbdullah Ahmad Badawi Minister of Education 1986–1991 Succeeded bySulaiman Daud Preceded byDaim Zainuddin Minister of Finance 1991–1998 Succeeded byMahathir Mohamad Preceded byGhafar Baba Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia 1993–1998 VacantTitle next held byAbdullah Ahmad Badawi Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail Leader of the Opposition 2008–present Vacant Parliament of Malaysia Preceded byZabidi Ali Member of the Dewan Rakyatfor Permatang Pauh 1988–1999 Succeeded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail Preceded byWan Azizah Wan Ismail Member of the Dewan Rakyatfor Permatang Pauh 2008–present Incumbent Academic offices Preceded byTun Hussein Onn President of International Islamic University Malaysia 1988–1998 Succeeded byMohd Najib Abdul Razak Diplomatic posts Preceded byGuillermo Putzeys Alvarez President of the UNESCO General Conference 1989–1991 Succeeded byBethwell Allan Ogot Preceded byDriss Jettou Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund 1998 Succeeded byTarrin Nimmanahaeminda