Back to the future for Malaysia?
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Southeast Asia

Back to the future for Malaysia?

Malaysia's Anwar Is Declared PM Five Days After Election
Photo: Getty Images

From 1990s economic superstar to jail and now finally to the top job, Malaysia’s prime minister has had an extraordinary political journey. Now that Anwar Ibrahim is finally the boss, can he fix Malaysia’s many problems?

In the heart of Greater Kuala Lumpur’s suburban commuter belt, the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya seems an unlikely theatre for conspiracy.

Comfortable, safe and sanitary, it boasts the standard features of any faux-luxe southeast Asian hotel; the usual Cantonese, Japanese and international eateries, the evergreen lounge-bar crooners, the obligatory chrome-and-marble lobby.

However, this unremarkable property has become emblematic of the chronic political instability that has obstructed Malaysia’s economy in recent years, casting a shadow over prime minister Anwar Ibrahim’s newly installed administration and its struggle for survival.

The Langkah Sheraton, or "Sheraton Move", refers to a political meeting that took place at the hotel on February 23, 2020, when Anwar’s rivals – from his own and other parties – plotted his downfall. Anwar’s election-winning coalition collapsed within days, before it could even install him as prime minister, following the switch in allegiances.

I don't applaud the election of Anwar as something new in the political scenario in Malaysia since he's been around for the past 40 years. He's not the messiah
Carmelo Ferlito, Center for Market Education

The Sheraton schemers secured plum ministries for themselves in a new, unelected government, Anwar was denied the top job yet again, and Malaysia, still hurting from the decade-long 1MDB corruption scandal, was condemned to deeper instability.



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