Malaysia PM Anwar plans confidence vote to prove to rival he commands a majority

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he plans to test lawmakers’ support for his leadership with a confidence vote on Dec. 19, as he seeks to prove to a defiant rival that he commands a parliamentary majority.

(The Malaysian Reserve) – The 75-year-old leader was sworn in by King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Thursday, capping a tumultuous political career that veered from coming close to clinching the top job on more than one occasion to spending years in prison on sodomy charges.

The monarch intervened after no alliance secured a majority in a general election Saturday in which Anwar’s coalition won the most seats. Anwar’s reformist Pakatan Harapan will now lead after cobbling together a unity government with former ruling bloc Barisan Nasional, regional parties from Sarawak and a slew of independents and a youth-centric group.

Anwar told reporters and supporters in his first press conference as prime minister that he will table the 2023 budget during the December parliament session. He also announced a public holiday on Monday.

“Muhyiddin had thrown a challenge to test our strength, which he does not need to do so because I’m not a prime minister like him who avoided it,” Anwar said in reference to his rival who led a competing coalition made up for pro-Malay parties and Islamists. “The first motion is from the government, which is a vote of confidence in me.”

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