Anwar Ibrahim made history as the tenth prime minister of Malaysia

Longtime Malaysian statesman Anwar Ibrahim is the country’s new prime minister after the palace of the Southeast Asian nation made the announcement on Thursday ending a protracted election deadlock.

After meetings with the country’s rulers and in line with Malaysia’s constitution, the king appointed Anwar as the Southeast Asian nation’s tenth prime minister. The king said in an official statement that Anwar would be sworn in at 17.00 local time.

“Whether you lose or win the election, I ask that you stand together for our beloved country,” he said, according to a CNBC translation.

“It is important for our nation to be free from policy instability because the country needs a strong and stable government.”

He called on the elected members of parliament to continue to serve the nation well and expressed his gratitude to the country’s rulers for their help and insight towards resolving the crisis.

Anwar’s appointment ends a wait of more than 20 years for the former deputy prime minister who has been the leader of the opposition for two decades amid prison sentences and a political coup.

Malaysia-listed shares rose with the benchmark KLCI index trading 2% higher after two negative sessions.

Shortly after the announcement, telecommunications group Axiata Group Bhd was up 7.45%, and rubber glove maker Top Glove gained 6.15% in the afternoon session. Genting Malaysia rose 5.16% and CIMB rose 3.45%. The Malaysian ringgit was slightly higher against the US dollar and last stood at 4.5080.

Malaysia needs to ask itself whether it should tolerate the views of 'fanatical extremists': Anwar

Malaysia’s general election on Saturday resulted in the country’s first suspended parliament, prompting the king to ask the leading coalition to present their alliances at 14:00 local time on Tuesday, to form a government and nominate a prime minister of their choice.

Parties and coalitions must win a simple majority of the 112 seats in parliament, out of the 222 contested, to form a government – ​​but no coalition has been able to do that.

Malaysia has been in political turmoil since the opposition, Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition, the country’s largest, won 2018 elections that ended Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule.

Malaysia was thrown into political turmoil after the former prime minister and former head of Barisan Nasional, Najib Razak, fell from grace with his involvement in the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal. Najib has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But Anwar’s rival in the leadership race, Muhyiddin Yassin, and other Pakatan Harapan members defected in 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

The Southeast Asian nation has since had three prime ministers including Muhyiddin.

In Saturday’s election, Pakatan won the highest number of parliamentary seats with 82 but still short of the 112 needed to form a government.

The incumbent Perikatan Nasional coalition is in second place with 73 seats. Party chairman Muhyiddin Yassin was one of the prime ministers in recent years, after he and other Pakatan Harapan members defected in 2020 to form Perikatan Nasional.

The defection led to the collapse of the Pakatan government.

Anwar, was a deputy to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in the 1990s before being jailed for corruption and sodomy.

This is the latest news. Please check back for updates.

— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.