Anwar Ibrahim Biography
Anwar Ibrahim (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) is a Malaysian politician and founder of the People’s Justice Party on 10th August 1947 in Malaysia. He is the Leader of the Pakatan Harapan coalition and former leader of opposition (2008 – 2015).
His father was Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, who worked as a porter in a hospital. His mother, Che Yan, was a full-time mother. Later, both of his parents became politicians, his father retiring as a cabinet minister.
Anwar Ibrahim Political Career
In 1968 when he was a student at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, he was elected as the president of National Union Of Malaysian Muslim Students. He was also the president of University of Malaya Malay Language Society.
In 1971 Anwar Ibrahim co founded Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) or Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia and was a member of the pro team committee. He was also elected as the 2nd President of the Malaysian Youth Council or Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM) the same year.
In 1974 during student protest against rural poverty and hunger he was arrested 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.
In 1975 he served as a representative for Asia Pacific of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) until 1982. In 1981 he co founded International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) in USA.
Anwar Ibrahim Ministry
In 1982 Anwar Ibrahim joined the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), led by Mahathir bin Mohamad. In 1983 he was appointed as the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. In 1984 he became the Agriculture Minister and in 1986 he headed Education Ministry.
During his tenure as the Minister of Education he changed 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. He was elected as the 25th President of UNESCO’s General Conference (as the minister of education)
In 1988 Anwar Ibrahim became the second president of International Islamic University of Malaysia.
In 1991 he was appointed as the Minister of Finance. Shortly after becoming the Finance Minister, Euromoney named him as a top four finance minister and in 1996 Asiamoney named him Finance Minister of the Year.In 1997 during the Asian Financial Crises he was hailed for guiding Malaysia through the period of instability.
In March 1998 Anwar Ibrahim was selected as the the Chairman of the Development Committee of World Bank and International Monetary Fund until September 1998.
Anwar Ibrahim Deputy Prime Minister
In 1993 he became Mahathir‘s Deputy Prime Minister after winning the Deputy Presidency of UMNO against Ghafar Baba. In early 1997 Mahathir appointed Anwar to be acting Prime Minister while he took a two-month holiday.
Towards the end of the 1990s, the relationship with Mahathir had begun to deteriorate,due to their conflicting views on governance.
In Mahathir’s absence, Anwar Ibrahim had independently taken radical steps, which were in direct conflict with Mahathir’s policies, to change the country’s governing mechanisms. 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.
In 1998 Anwar Ibrahim was dismissed by Mahathir from his cabinet posts due to corruption allegation. He was found guilty of the charges and that ment he was to be sidelined 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.
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Anwar Ibrahim Book
In 1998 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. The police were instructed to investigate the veracity of the claims.
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 Ibrahim millions of ringgit in compensation.
Anwar Ibrahim Imprisonment
On 20th September 1998 Anwar Ibrahim was arrested on charges of corruption for allegedly interfering with police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.
In April 1999, following a trial, Anwar Ibrahim 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. On 2nd September 2004 he was released from solitary confirnment after the Malaysian Supreme Court overturned the conviction.
While in custody he was beaten by the then Inspector General of Police, Rahim Noor. In 2000 Rahim was found guilt of assaulting him and was jailed for two months. He made a public apology to Anwar and paid undisclosed damages.
Anwar Ibrahim Teaching Career
After his release from prison Anwar Ibrahim 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
In March 2006 he was appointed as Honorary President of the London based organisation AccountAbility (Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility).
In July 2006, Anwar Ibrahim was elected Chair of the Washington-based Foundation For the Future. 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. 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.
Anwar Ibrahim Political Comeback
In November 2006 Anwar Ibrahim announced his plan to run for Parliament in the 2008 election. On 14th April 2008 he officially returned to the political stage after his ban from public office expired.
On 29th April 2008 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.
On 26th August 2008 Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh by-election with 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.
In 2013 general election he was the Leader of the Opposition led his Pakatan Rakyat coalition which comprises the three parties (DAP, PAS, PKR). Anwar said that he would step down from politics if his team did not win the election. During an interview with Australian media he stated that “I will try my best. I am confident we will win. But if not, I will step down.”
Pakatan Rakyat did not achieve the regime change target in the election despite obtaining 50.9% of the popular vote compared to the 47.4% gained by BN. This is due to heavy malapportionment of the electoral districts. Pakatan Rakyat also gained 7 more parliamentary seats compared to the 12th general election.
Anwar Ibrahim did not concede defeat, alleging widespread electoral fraud. 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 he fid not step down.
On On 27 January 2014, the member of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly for Kajang, Lee Chin Cheh, resigned. This triggered a by- election. A day later, Anwar Ibrahim was announced as Pakatan Rakyat candidate for the by election.This move, however, did not materialize as he was sentenced to five years’ prison after Malaysia’s Court of Appeal overturned his sodomy acquittal, causing Anwar to lose his
qualification to be the state assembly candidate
Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy Allegations
In July 2008, Anwar Ibrahim was arrested over allegations he sodomised one of his male aides, but was acquitted of the charge in January 2012. 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.
In 2015 his 2012 acquital was overturned and he was convicted and jailed again. Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison on 16th May 2018. He had an audience with the King after he was granted a full royal pardon and is now Prime Minister in waiting for Dr Mahathir to hand over the reins after “one to two years”.
In an interview, Anwar Ibrahim justified his reluctance to immediately step into power on the basis that Mahathir has appeared committed to the reform agenda and doing a good job tackling a “disintegrating” political system, and shared that he was keen to travel and honour speaking engagements. Anwar also indicated that he initially had reservations about Mahathir’s “reconciliation efforts”, but he eventually forgave his one-time enemy after Mahathir showed “such compassion and concern which (Anwar) thought was absent in the past”.
Anwar Ibrahim Wife and Children
Anwar Ibrahim News
Anwar Ibrahim says he wants to ‘backbench’ for now
Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday (Jun 6) refuted speculation that he will be taking over the Pandan parliamentary seat, which is being held by his wife PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Malaysia’s deputy prime minister.
Anwar, who is also Pakatan Harapan’s de facto leader, said at this juncture, it was impractical for him to do so as Wan Azizah, the new holder of the second-highest position in the government’s administration, would have to step down early in order to give way.
In addition, he said that after being released from prison recently, he was more comfortable being a “backbencher”.
“I am free. I want to go around first, I have commitments, teaching and lectures, many in several universities, both domestic and abroad.
“In fact, I have not had the experience of being a regular MP. Prior to this, I have held several ministerial posts and been opposition leader, so now I want to be backbencher,” he told reporters after holding a briefing for PKR elected representatives in Petaling Jaya.
At the event, 48 out of 50 PKR parliamentarians and 51 of 67 PKR state assemblymen were present.
This was Anwar’s first official meeting with all PKR elected representatives after his release from prison following a full pardon from Malaysia’s king, Sultan Muhammad V.
Social media speculation claimed that Wan Azizah would resign as Pandan member of parliament to allow a by-election to enable Anwar to contest.
Commenting further, Anwar also confirmed that he would not contest as a member of parliament during the period before the start of the first session of parliament on Jul 16.
“I have programmes in London and Turkey and after that I will be back, going round to the states I have not yet visited.
“After completing the programmes in the Arabian countries and United States, we will be discussing again, which will take more than two months, the decision to contest in which seat,” he said.
Asked on the statement by former New Straits Times group editor-in-chief A Kadir Jasin, who disputed the rights and privileges of Malaysia’s king, Anwar said it was improper for a person to exercise his right and freedom to speak against the institution of the Malay rulers with disputable facts.
“I do not deny the right of a person to write and speak, but to attack and insult the rulers with disputed facts and with intent to cause problems in the country is not appropriate,” he said.
Kadir had said earlier that an average of RM16 million (US$4 million) per month was spent, among others, on accommodation, residential, personal belongings, aircraft, transport, clothing, gifts and souvenirs, overseas visits for the king and salaries of palace staff.
Source: Channel News Asia (7th June 2018)