Last updated: February 26, 2019
Topic: BusinessAgriculture
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Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was born in Cherok Tok Kun, a village on the mainland side of the northern Malaysian state of Penang, to an Indian Muslim hospital porter, Ibrahim Abdul Rahman (later to join politics and retire as Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health) and Che Yan, a housewife (and later UMNO politician). He was educated at University of Malaya, where he read Malay Studies. Prior to that, he took his secondary education at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. From 1968 to 1971, as a student, Anwar was the president of a Muslim students organisation, Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM).

Around the same time, he was also the president of Persatuan Bahasa Melayu Universiti Malaya (PBMUM). He was one of the protem committee of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) or Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia which was founded in 1971. He was also elected President of the Malaysian Youth Council or Majlis Belia Malaysia (MBM). In 1974, Anwar was arrested during student protests against rural poverty and hunger. This came as a report surfaced stating that a family died from starvation in a village in Baling, in the state of Kedah, despite the fact that it never happened.

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He was imprisoned under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, and spent 20 months in the Kamunting Detention Centre. In 1968-1971, he was first groomed in the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students (Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia, PKPIM) as the president of the Union. In 1982, Anwar, who was the founding leader and second president of a youth Islamic organisation called Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), shocked his liberal supporters by joining the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), led by Mahathir bin Mohamad, who had become prime minister in 1981.

He moved up the political ranks quickly: his first ministerial office was that of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in 1983; after that, he headed the agriculture ministry in 1984 before becoming Minister of Education in 1986. By then, speculation was rife about Anwar’s ascent to the Deputy Prime Minister’s position as it was a commonly-occurring phenomenon in Malaysia for the Education Minister to assume the position of Deputy PM in the near future. In 1991 Anwar was appointed Minister of Finance.

In 1993, he became Mahathir’s Deputy Prime Minister after winning the Deputy Presidency of UMNO against Ghafar Baba. There is report on Anwar using large cash payments to win support. Anwar is alleged to have resorted to money politics to secure his position as deputy president of UMNO. Anwar’s followers were witnessed by even foreign journalists handing out packets of money to acquire support of UMNO division leaders. These followers are said to be working under Anwar’s instructions. 1] Mohamad Sabu, a prominent member of PAS questioned where were about 300 million stocks of Petronas Dagang were invested because of the sudden change in UMNO Sabah’s delegates’ allegiance from Ghafar to Anwar. [2] Anwar was being groomed to succeed Mahathir as prime minister, and frequently alluded in public to his “son-father” relationship with Mahathir; in early 1997, Mahathir appointed Anwar to be acting Prime Minister while he took a two-month holiday.

Towards the end of the 1990s, however, the relationship with Mahathir had begun to deteriorate, triggered by their conflicting views on governance. In Mahathir’s absence, Anwar had independently taken radical steps to improve the country’s governing mechanisms which were in direct conflict with Mahathir’s capitalist policies. Issues such as how Malaysia would respond to a financial crisis were often at the forefront of this conflict. The first trial was held in 1998 and resulted in Anwar Ibrahim being convicted and given a 15 year prison sentence.

This verdict was partially overturned in 2004 resulting in Anwar’s release from prison. On September 2, 2004, a panel of three judges of the Federal Court (Malaysia’s highest court) overturned the sodomy conviction by 2 to 1, finding contradictions in the prosecution’s case. However, the judges noted “We find evidence to confirm that the appellants were involved in homosexual activities and we are more inclined to believe that the alleged incident at Tivoli Villa did happen. At the time of his release from prison, Anwar was reportedly suffering from serious back problems, which his family said was the result of the beating by the ex-police chief. However, the UMNO-owned newspaper, the New Straits Times, alleged that the injuries had actually been caused by a fall from a horse in 1993 during Anwar’s tenure as deputy prime minister. His wife had argued during his imprisonment that he required treatment for his condition at a clinic in Germany. The government refused, claiming that such treatment was readily available in Malaysia, offering medical treatment if necessary.

However, in September 2004, after the Federal Court quashed his conviction for sodomy, Anwar was free to travel to Munich for back surgery. Since his release from prison, Anwar has held teaching positions at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he was a visiting fellow and senior associate member, at Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies in Washington DC as a Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow, and as a visiting professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

In March 2006 he was appointed as Honorary President of the London-based organization AccountAbility (Institute of Social and Ethical AccountAbility). On April 29, 2008, after 10 years of absence, he returned to the Parliament, albeit upon invitation as a spouse guest of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, People’s Justice Party and the first female opposition leader in Malaysian Parliament’s history. Anwar Ibrahim stated he is confident that he can win over enough government legislators in a parliamentary vote in September to end over 50 years of rule by one party.

His party pledged to stage a confidence vote on September 16 against Abdullah Badawi and needed the support of just 30 government legislators in the 222-seat lower house of parliament, but missed Anwar’s own deadline. Prior to this they had hoped to sway ruling party lawmakers from the states of Sabah and Sarawak to oust the UMNO party from power for the first time since Malaysia won independence in 1957. On July 27, 2008, Anwar Ibrahim said that he aimed to return to Parliament if a court ordered a by-election near his home town of Permatang Pauh in Penang.

He said on July 31 that he would contest a by-election for the parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh, which was being vacated by his wife in order to expedite his return to political office. His wife Wan Azizah said she handed her letter of resignation to the parliament speaker on 31 July. Party officials said that the by-election had to be held within 60 days. I choose Dato’Seri Anwar Ibrahim because of his braveness and courage to defence the people and the contry.

Time Magazine has recognize Anwar Ibrahim as one of the most influential leader in the world. Anwar pull together rural Malays, ethnic Indians and Chinese, and Islamists together as a big family. Although he had to overcome many difficulties but he never give up for the next generation and a better Malaysia. He bring justice and fair to all Malaysian so that we can live harmony and peace. His hard work has attract us. We should take him as an example in our life. We should be proud to have a good leader in our country.