Malaysia's Anwar begins work as PM after polarising election

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KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Friday said the Cabinet of ministers in his government will be smaller compared with previous administrations.

In a news conference, Datuk Seri Anwar, 75, also said support for his ruling coalition exceeded two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Mr Anwar started discussions on forming his Cabinet as he began work as Malaysia’s Prime Minister at a challenging time, with the economy slowing and the country deeply split after a close election.

He was sworn in as premier on Thursday, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner convicted of sodomy and opposition figurehead.

Mr Anwar arrived at the Perdana Putra, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office, for his first day of work on Friday morning.

Dressed in a baju Melayu, he waved to journalists camped outside the building and mingled with civil servants at the lobby before proceeding to his office on the 5th floor of the building.

Mr Mahathir congratulated Mr Anwar in a message on Twitter on his appointment as prime minister. The pair’s on-off feuds have dominated Malaysian politics for the past two decades.

Mr Anwar, who was appointed by Malaysia’s king following an inconclusive election, said that the people of Malaysia had long been awaiting change.

“We will never compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians,” he said late on Thursday.

Mr Anwar’s appointment ends five days of unprecedented post-election crisis but could usher in further instability with his rival, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, challenging him to prove his majority in Parliament.

Both men’s coalitions failed to win a majority in Saturday’s electi...

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