Malaysia 'PM-in-waiting' Anwar Ibrahim wins crucial by-election

Malaysia 'PM-in-waiting' Anwar Ibrahim wins crucial by-election
Veteran politician Anwar Ibrahim has edged closer to becoming Malaysia's next prime minister after securing a seat in the country's parliament.
2 min read
13 October, 2018
Anwar Ibrahim won Port Dickson seat with 71 percent of the vote [Getty]

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has returned to parliament after winning a crucial by-election on Saturday, just five months after being released from prison.

The landslide win, which saw Anwar defeat six other candidates and win 71 percent of the votes cast, brings him a key step closer to taking over from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

"I'm, of course, extremely pleased and humbled by the results," Anwar said.

"This to my mind is an important milestone, a vote of confidence for the government and the reform agenda, and the prime minister personally."

Once a high-flying member of the former ruling coalition, Anwar was convicted of "homosexual sodomy" and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years until 2003.

He was freed in 2004 but was once again convicted for sodomy in 2015, charges that he said were concocted to destroy his political career.

Angered by a massive corruption scandal at a state investment fund, Mahathir made a political comeback and the two men forged an alliance that toppled the country's Barisan Nasional coalition, which had ruled since Malaysia's independence in 1957.

Mahathir, the world's oldest leader at 93, has said he expects to be in office for at least two years and will keep his promise to hand over power to Anwar.