Anwar Ibrahim

Prime Minister of Malaysia since 2022

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (born 10 August 1947) is a Malaysian politician and has been the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance since 2022. He is the founder and leading figure of the People's Justice Party. He was also the Minister of Finance (1991– 1998), Minister of Education (1986–1991), Minister of Agriculture (1984–1986) and Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (1983–1984).

Anwar Ibrahim in 2019

Quotes

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2000s

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  • We consider the NEP (New Economic Polocy) is obsolete. I always say the NEP benefits the few family members of the ruling establishment and their cronies. So we stop this practice of awarding tenders, projects and privatization to family-related companies and cronies only at states where we are in charge.

2010s

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  • We also realize there is a new generation of Malaysians who were too young to remember the Reformasi movement that started a decade ago. Reaching out to them will happen in large part through technology.
  • Thank God justice has prevailed I have been vindicated.
    • In response to Judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah not finding Anwar guilty of sodomy, after finding the DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution unreliable, in January 9, 2012, quoted on BBC News, "Anwar Ibrahim acquitted of sodomy in Malaysia", 9 January 2012.
  • Just because they are putting me in prison now I can’t announce my retirement. If I retired during the Federal courts deliberation then they would say it is a matter of conceding defeat. I have to then declare that I will fight.
  • The most significant lesson one can learn from prison life is the value of freedom. When you are incarcerated you realise what is the meaning and significance of freedom. No one, not Anwar, or ... anyone must be allowed to undergo the same travesty that has befallen any individual. I happened to be known, I happened to be supported by many people. But we must stop this once and for all, and it is our duty, and our duty particularly in Pakatan Harapan to end this.
  • We talk of poverty and inequality, but in crafting an economic programme or policy for the future for this country, we must ensure no community, no region should be neglected.
  • Free media to my mind, of course, means a responsible media, which means certain rules which they have to observe, but this doesn’t have to be decided by the ruling power. Instead, it should be through an ethics committee run both by the media and authorities.
  • Up to RM28 billion allocation a year to help the poor but there were leakages and neither the fishermen nor the farmers received the assistance. We don't want it to happen again as the help should reach the target and we need to identify the implementation method so there will be no more corruption and leakages.

2020s

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2020

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  • Our economy is in a dire state, hence we need to re-focus the economy. We cannot depend on those who have been abusing power and enriching themselves to champion the common cause of the people. The plight of the workers, the farmers and fishermen, they need to be protected.
  • I want to stress a matter that we shouldn't take lightly — are these numbers (Malaysia's daily COVID-19 cases) real? If you compare to countries with a similar population size — Australia, Malaysia, Canada — our testing capacity is too low. We want to know the total infections, which is connected to the total tests done. We test 10,000 people in a cluster, we'll get 1,000 (cases). If we test 100, we may get one. So, in order to safeguard public safety, testing capacity must increase.
  • The people of Malaysia deserve leadership which can navigate effectively during these turbulent times (COVID-19 pandemic). Instead we have an unstable government whose inability to handle the crisis is driving the country towards an economic recession and rising racial tension.
  • Firstly, Sabah's healthcare system, which is already under-funded, under-staffed, and under resourced is now inundated and overwhelmed by the (COVID-19) epidemic. MOH (Ministry of Health) has been diverting resources to Sabah but the ministry cannot do this alone. This effort needs political support from strong leadership and the involvement of NADMA (National Disaster Management Agency) and other ministries to mobilize adequate medical teams and equipment, improve logistics and provide wider reach of aid.
  • That particular minister (Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz) has said there is already RM3 billion (to purchase COVID-19 vaccines). There is no record in the ministry, there is no record in the budget, RM 3 billion. I don't know from where. Is it that it is being hidden so that a deficit is not seen?

2021

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  • I haven't failed to be prime minister, it just hasn’t happened yet. I have to accept the fact that I am still the Pakatan Harapan's chosen candidate to be prime minister and if Malaysians support me for the post, I will continue to protect the people, especially those who need it the most, God-willing. I know those with billions of Ringgit do not really agree with me. They are afraid of me. I think that the people are more understanding and are more comfortable with me as prime minister.
  • We do not defend those who take bribes and we do not condone that the authorities are being used as a political weapon. It appears to be the case with the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). If you switch support, investigations will be postponed or thrown out, if not, the harassment continues.
  • Referring to the flooding that occurred in the (Gunung Jerai) area earlier, the ministry should conduct a thorough investigation into whether there is any forest encroachment activity there.
  • Our Cabinet is one of the biggest in the world with 69 ministers and deputy ministers. I think it's important that ministers and their deputies should at least be present to listen to the opposition leader's debate. This is part of transforming Parliament, a basic code of ethics, yet it was not complied with. This morning, I feel sad. When the opposition leader is speaking, there are only five individuals from the government bloc. Where have the other 60 over ministers and deputy ministers gone?
  • I have also made it clear to those who are preparing an office for the opposition leader in Parliament House that they should not make any renovations and not be granted additional allocations for it.
  • You must understand that changes have to happen, but not with our uncompromising attitude. It can happen only when we are being wise, being intelligent and by attracting support from every quarter.

2022

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  • We want Bahasa Melayu but if can't speak English, it won't be good either. If it's an ordinary person, then okay, but if the person has become a graduate, what else a leader, they must have fluency of a second language. Okay, if you can't be fluent in English, then Arabic? French? Can as well.
  • The seat distribution among PH (Pakatan Harapan) is already completed but we are negotiating with other electoral pacts such as Muda, PSM (Parti Socialis Malaysia) and others. But seat allocations for all parties under the PH umbrella especially in Peninsular Malaysia, DAP (Democratic Action party), Amanah and PKR (People's Justice Party), have been completed.
  • Just received the sad news from Kuala Lumpur this morning that the mother of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Mariah Khamis passed away this morning. I apologize to the leadership and supporters of Pakatan Harapan Sarawak that the campaigning trip to Miri and Kuching scheduled today had to be cancelled. We shall meet at another time.
  • Alhamdulillah, today Pakatan Harapan has come up with ten main pledges for the rakyat (people) for GE15 (15th general election). Through these offerings, (Pakatan Harapan) is determined and focused on redeveloping Malaysia which has been plagued and beset by all sorts of crises, including lame policies and administrative weaknesses, health issues, crumbling economy, rising cost of living, dwindling employment opportunities, food supply and education issues among others. I implore the rakyat (people) to study this offer and therefore give us the mandate to emerge as the party with the clearest majority to govern and rule the country. We will work very hard for our beloved country, Reformasi!
  • In stating the need for a federal system, distribution of power is a must in the constitution of the country that is considered a federation. This is not a strange issue for Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Pakatan Harapan will fully implement the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and devolve certain powers to Sabah and Sarawak should it come into power after GE15 (15th general election).
  • Please! For goodness sake, for the sake of our children and our future, stop this rot (corruption). Stop this nonsense and it must begin on the 19th of November (2022, on the election day).
  • The number of 70 ministers, which we had previously will be cut by half, their salaries will be cut by half too. The same goes with the prime minister's pay. If you want to be a minister under my cabinet, you need to accept this condition. This is the first step we will take to convince the people.
  • You (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) are inspiring and you have stood by us as a good brother in difficult times. I look forward to improving our bilateral economic, commercial, and cultural relations between Malaysia and Turkey.
  • It is with great sorrow and sadness to hear about the passing of former President His Excellency Jiang Zemin. On behalf of the Government of Malaysia and its people, please accept our profound condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the government and people of the People's Republic of China. He will always be remembered for his outstanding leadership and legacy during China's reform, opening up and modernization process.
  • If we (government) want to spend (public fund), we have to check. This is a matter of good governance.
  • The government intends to facilitate this industry to export produce and at the same time, ensure there is sufficient supply to meet the needs of the people.
  • The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has not taken his royal allowance since the COVID-19 pandemic began (in 2020). Sultan Abdullah had instead donated the funds in view of the country's economic situation and the struggles of the people during the pandemic.
  • Based on the report by the National Action Council on Cost of Living on Tuesday, we decided that the earlier proposal to increase the electricity tariff will not proceed as this will burden the rakyat (citizens). We acknowledged that if nothing is done, there will be a negative impact on government finance which is quite high, exceeding some RM30 billion next year. So, only multinational companies and large companies that export products will be charged.
  • God willing, we will be able to continue (to lead the government after the motion of confidence in Parliament on 19 December 2022). I hope you pray for us as well.
  • I did not ask for a pardon because I was punished, let this be clear on the record. It was the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Muhammad V of Kelantan) at the time who took the initiative.
  • Although there was a slight increase (in cost) to accommodate the realignment of the ECRL (East Coast Rail Link) project that we approved, (we managed to) bring down the total cost by RM11.01 billion.
  • From RM15 billion (of flood mitigation program budget), we could save close to RM2 billion because we have put an end to direct negotiations.
  • What I have done is that many of my duties as prime minister have been delegated to my deputies (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Fadillah Yusof).
  • As a multi-racial and culturally diverse country, it has become a habit and an obligation for each of us to take this opportunity (Christmas Eve) to strengthen friendship between the people by saying beautiful words to them.
  • Should we have mega projects but not be bothered about the people? We must not develop and yet destroy at the same time. The profits from the giant companies are big but the pay for the workers is still low. As we live with our faiths and morals, the job opportunities which we create must not make those who are employed lower themselves as human beings.

2023

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  • The historical relationship between Malaysia and Pakistan that was established for a long time is not only limited to the current bilateral trade, but also in terms of culture, Islamic understanding and philosophy which has benefitted us greatly.
  • I hope this visit (to Indonesia) will be able to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) in addition to exploring new cooperation opportunities through discussions with (the Indonesian) President Joko Widodo, Insha Allah.
  • This is a bit personal, Mister President (of Indonesia Joko Widodo). When I was in a difficult situation, living in uncertainty and suffering, Indonesia welcomed me as a true friend.
  • Usually an autobiography is written by someone who is retiring from his job. I have just been in this (Prime Minister of Malaysia) position for a little over a month.
  • The issue of welfare is called the Rahmah program. We will make it the theme in all programs to help the poor, especially the hardcore poor, which is our priority in the current government administration.
  • The state and federal machinery should negotiate properly because we are under economic constraints. The national debt (of Malaysia) is estimated to be at RM1.2 trillion and the revenue is getting smaller, while the spending capacity is very limited.
  • For the January-December 2022 period, Malaysia's export to Brunei increased by 33.3 per cent to RM7.4 billion (US$1.68 billion). Imports from Brunei were recorded at RM5.82 billion (US$1.21 billion), an increase of 154.8 per cent from the previous year (2021).
  • I know there are comments like 'Anwar likes to toy with numbers'. I seldom want to answer these, but I want to say here that any investigation into alleged corruption is for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to look at. But believe me, in my current position, I will not issue baseless statements.
  • There are people who asked 'Anwar, if there are wrongdoings, why not prosecute?' Prosecution is not my job. Don't challenge me.
  • As a general rule, previous announcements should be honoured although we might have some reservations. Otherwise, it will cause a lot of disruptions.
  • I want to start a new transition. No more just slogans. We want appreciation and practice and also truth, justice and unity. Malaysians have become cynical and are tired of just slogans and promises.
  • If the main teachers take a wrong action, it must be questioned. Just because that person is a head of a political party, that does not mean all his statements are right. Islam did not teach us to do so (follow blindly). Islamic religious education should be based on deep understanding of the Quran, sunnah and the earliest of Ulemas. The interpretations must be questioned and corrected if need be. That is the tradition of seeking knowledge.
  • I received a congratulatory message from US (United States) President Joe Biden, who commended Malaysia's inspiring democracy in the recent general election.
  • Indonesia accepted me as a true friend, so I will never forget that. Indonesia is a neighbour, we share the same roots and have a good friendship. It (Indonesia) was also a true friend at a time when I was cast out and sidelined.
  • People can harp upon issues of race or religion, to me, it's completely irrelevant. It's a way and attempt by political leaders to disguise and hijack the central issues of governance in this country. They are going to appeal to the race, including the Malays, that their position, their power base is challenged.
  • I don't think the Myanmar issue should frustrate our (ASEAN) moves. It would be ideal if we have a strong consensus in sending a strong message to the Myanmar regime. You (Myanmar) have every right to have your own domestic policies and priorities, but no country in these times should ever continue with discriminatory policies, marginalization of their people, intimidating, or worse, perpetrating violence against its own people.
  • We are living in post-normal time as you know, unanticipated. There is something developing, simultaneous, sometimes spontaneous and would require some ingenuity in resolving many problems. Now, look at Malaysia, where is the problem? Political instability will kill the country politically and economically. For the last few years nothing seems to move, no policy, no direction and, because of that, leaders will take the chance to squander as much as possible. So, we have been at loggerheads, sometimes viciously I think, between PH (Pakatan Harapan) and the UMNO-lead coalition of BN (Barisan Nasional), but what was the consensus? That it is enough. We agree that we need stability. We agree that we need to chart a new future for the country. We agree on good governance and leading the country out of corruption and we agree that this is a country that is not racial. A strong Malay-based (society) to address the Malays' concerns, but to be able to embrace and include all races, this is the parameter on which we agree and the strong coalition and partners in Sabah and Sarawak will form a very formidable alliance with a two thirds majority, which makes Malaysia one of the most stable countries in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
  • As what I explained in the previous (parliamentary) session, although it was a decision made by the previous government, to increase electricity tariff, the government now has withdrawn the suggestion and will only impose that on the T20 (top 20 income group) that are the multinational corporations (MNC) and other big companies, unless they are companies that are involved in food security.
  • I was asked by the (Turkish) president (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) to be there (in Turkey) immediately, to give moral support (in the aftermath of 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake). (And) I am considering whether I should fly tonight to Türkiye to show our support. Several leaders of other countries have arrived in the country, and the president has asked me to personally be there.
  • I will be part of the process (former Prime Minister Najib Razak's request for a royal pardon) and on the matters of the awarding of honorific titles and pardons, that is the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. We don't have to debate this in public because we have to go through that process.
  • The (political) appointments are for government-linked companies, not publicly-listed companies. Those appointed have the suitable qualifications. Unlike before, these appointments are based on their qualifications and it comes with a set of rules. For example, they must (carry out) their responsibilities well, they must not overspend and allowances are given based on their qualifications.

Quotes about Anwar Ibrahim

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  • I invited PM Anwar (Ibrahim) to visit Singapore soon. I look forward to working with him and the new government to further strengthen our bilateral relationship. I have known Dato' Seri Anwar for several decades. We last met in Singapore in 2018, when he delivered a lecture at the Singapore Summit on the importance of bilateral relations between Singapore and Malaysia. Indeed, Singapore and Malaysia are close partners. Our countries share a longstanding friendship, underpinned by strong historical, cultural and interpersonal ties. There is more that we can do to enhance our bilateral relationship for mutual benefit.
  • I am willing to work with Anwar (Ibrahim) to push for further development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, and move forward steadily towards building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, so as to better benefit the two countries and their people.
  • If Najib is tortured in prison, PH (Pakatan Harapan) leaders including ex-prisoners like Anwar and myself will be the first to defend him. But has MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) any evidence that Najib is being tortured? The issue is the special treatment given to Najib that was never accorded to Anwar or me when we were in Sungai Buloh and Kajang Prison respectively.
  • Congratulations from Indonesia to His Excellency Anwar Ibrahim for becoming the Malaysian prime minister. Datuk Anwar is a very popular and widely respected figure among the Indonesian people. I hope the relationships of the two neighbors belonging to the same race will get even stronger and more advanced in all areas.
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