KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister 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 leader.
Anwar, 75, vowed to fight corruption and to focus on the economy while also upholding Islam as the official religion of the multi-ethnic country and defending special rights of ethnic Malays.
“Thank God, because we have seen a change that has awaited the people of Malaysia,” Anwar told reporters at a late-evening address, hours after he was sworn in by the king who appointed him following an inconclusive election.
“We will never compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians,” he said before leading chants of “Reformasi” – his rallying cry for reform during years of opposition.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Anwar and said Americans looked forward to deepening the two nations’ friendship and cooperation based on shared democratic principles and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“We remain committed to working with Malaysia to advance a free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific region,” Blinken said in a statement.