Game of Thrones Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim in Focus

In what can only be considered the Malaysian version of Game of Thrones, Anwar Ibrahim has remained an influential figure. While his name has been thrown alongside several scandals at The Dewan Rakyat, there’s still a lot of information about the man that isn’t as sensationalized. So, we here at The Guru have put together a list of everything you need to know to commemorate his political innings and celebrate his release! 

1. Anwar was born on August 10, 1947, and is the son of rubber plantation workers and rice farmers. He comes from humble beginnings but was known to be studious and regular with prayers despite growing up without running water and electricity. 

2. Anwar has always been interested in politics and was heavily influenced by John F. Kennedy, Che Guevara and Zhou Enlai when he was younger. 

3. He is an Islamic activist who believes that women should have a choice to don the veil. He is also against some of the more severe punishments, such as the chopping of women’s limbs for their wrongdoings. 

4. As a student at Malaya University in Kuala Lumpur, Anwar campaigned for road signs to be changed from English to Bahasa. He also organized movements to persuade the government to do more about impoverishment in the North. 

5. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed invited Anwar to join the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in 1982 to execute Mahathir’s ethnic theories, that were referred to as the New Economic Policy. 

6. Anwar served as the minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983, of Agriculture in 1986, of Education in 1991 and finally Finance in 1991. In 1993 he was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.

7. For two months in 1997, Anwar was left in charge of the country. He used this time to pass tough anti-corruption legislation and question the $6 billion Bakun dam project. 

8. Cracks in Anwar’s relationship with Mahathir first formed during The Asian Economic Crisis of 1997-98 when Anwar tried following the International Monetary Fund’s solutions. For this, he was accused of putting foreign interests over national ones. 

9. Anwar was sacked as the deputy Prime Minister in September 1998. In protest, when he led a group of 30,000 protestors through the capital, he was charged with sodomy and corruption. His trial for these charges was the longest in Malaysian history. 

10. Anwar was accused of being a Jewish agent for his friendship with US official Paul Wolfowitz. Anwar and his brother Sukma Darmawan were also accused of having homosexual sex with Anwar’s former driver Azizan Abu Bakar. 

11. After serving time in prison, Anwar ran for office only in April 2008. He upheld his anti-corruption campaign and got rid of the extra privileges the Malay majority received. He believed that a few well connected Malays were taking advantage of this in place of other Malays, Chinese and Indians. 

12. Despite his party's large political success, Anwar faced sodomy charges again on June 29, 2008, for which he has served time till his release on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. 

At the end of this political goose chase and wild ride through different cabinets and even prisons, Anwar Ibrahim was released. There is no clarity on what people can expect from Anwar’s return to politics, especially now that Mahathir Mohammad has been re-instated as the seventh Prime Minister. In what can only be considered a game of thrones, there are several unanswered questions about Anwar’s future in politics. Hence there isn’t much to do but bite our nails and anticipate.

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