Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim än´wär ē´brähēm [key], 1947–, Malaysian political leader. He first came to public attention as the founder (1971) of an Islamic youth movement and as a leader of antigovernment demonstrations during the 1970s. He joined (1982) the United Malays National Organization and served in Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad's National Front government as minister of finance (1991–98) and deputy prime minister (1993–98). In 1998 Anwar began a campaign against official corruption and differed with Mahathir over economic policy, and his former mentor dismissed him from office. Anwar was charged (1999) with corruption, found guilty, and sentenced to six years imprisonment, precipitating widespread public protest. He also was charged (2000) with sodomy, again found guilty, and sentenced to nine years in prison. He was jailed until Sept., 2004, when the sodomy charges were overturned, but he was banned from seeking public office until April, 2008. An alliance led by Anwar's People's Justice party (PKR) made significant gains against Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's coalition in the March, 2008, parliamentary elections. Anwar was elected to parliament in a by-election in Aug., 2008. That month he was again charged with sodomy, which he asserted was politically motivated; he was acquitted due to inadequate evidence in 2012, but the government appealed. In the 2013 elections Anwar led his opposition coalition to victory in the popular vote, but it failed to win a majority of the seats. Anwar's acquittal was overturned on appeal in 2014, preventing him from running for the Selangor state assembly, where he had been expected to become chief minister, and after the appeal was upheld (2015), he was again jailed. In 2018, following the defeat of Najib Razak's government by a coalition that included Mahathir's and Anwar's parties, Anwar was pardoned and then won a seat in parliament.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Southeast Asia History: Biographies