Mr Anwar Ibrahim, former Deputy Prime Minister has finally been sworn in as Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Mr Ibrahim is what my former client, Mr Vinod Sekhar, called a good guy. Mr Ibrahim was once a rising star in Dr Mahathir’s government and was seen as a potential successor.
However, when the Asian Financial Crisis hit, Dr Mahathir turned on him and sent him to jail on trumped-up charges of sodomy (forbidden in Islam – Mr Ibrahim is known as a devout Muslim). Mr Anwar Ibrahim spent the next 30 years of his life moving in and out of jail, fighting legal challenges as well as fighting political battles.
While it might be a stretch to call this Malaysia’s “Mandela” moment, the fact that a former political dissident can get to the top job by sheer persistence is encouraging. It is a case of, it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you work hard.