Singapore repeals Section 377A

Singapore repeals divisive law, endorses protection of marriage definition
The Singapore Parliament voted to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalises gay sex among men. (FILE PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore)

The Singapore Parliament voted on Tuesday (29 November) to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code, a colonial-era law which criminalises gay sex between men.

It also voted to endorse amendments to the Constitution to protect the current definition of marriage from legal challenge. The repeal of 377A saw 93 Members of Parliament voting in favour of the move. Workers' Party MPs Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) and Dennis Tan (Hougang), as well as Nominated MP Hoon Hian Teck, voted against the repeal.

The constitutional amendment saw 85 MPs vote in favour. Progress Singapore Party's Non-Constituency MPs Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa voted against the amendment, while WP's Sylvia Lim and He Ting Ru abstained. Nominated MPs are not allowed to vote on constitutional amendments.


377A repeal: Singapore turns page on dark LGBT history
Russell Heng at the Feet of Five Trees in Esplanade Park

Standing in Singapore's tranquil Esplanade Park, Russell Heng pointed to the spot where he was once caught by the police - just for being gay. It looks like any other tree-lined corner in the city. But back in the 1980s, before the age of the internet and Grindr, it was a popular meeting spot for gay men in a country where homosexuality was in effect criminalised.

Nicknamed the Feet of Five Trees, the spot's towering raintrees provided cover and seclusion, recalled Mr Heng, a playwright and activist. "We were roaming about that night. And then suddenly, there was a loud voice - a plainclothes policeman - who started shouting at us," he said. The men were forced to line up in a row as the policeman fiercely berated them. "He said 'You should be ashamed of yourself'.

"We were just walking in the park," he said.  "You felt psychologically that maybe you did something wrong… basically it was bullying. "For decades, Singapore's government preserved the controversial 377A law inherited from British rule, which banned sex between two men. Authorities argued that it reflected Singapore society's view that homosexuality was not acceptable. But last week its parliament repealed the law, just months after leader Lee Hsien Loong's surprise announcement they would scrap the ban because of changing attitudes.


Repeal of Section 377A and constitutional amendment to protect marriage definition 'major milestone' for Singapore: PM Lee
The crowd at the Pink Dot event on Jun 18, 2022 using white umbrellas to spell out "majulah". (Photo: CNA/Try Sutrisno Foo)

The repeal of Section 377A and protecting the definition of marriage from legal challenges is a "major milestone" for Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Nov 29). 

Mr Lee said in a Facebook post that he is "very happy" that Parliament approved changes to two Bills - the repeal of the colonial-era Section 377A in the Penal Code and the constitutional amendment on the definition of marriage. "It is a major milestone for Singapore. The outcome itself is significant. We are decriminalising sex between men – a longstanding issue, and not just for gay Singaporeans," said Mr Lee.

At the same time, the definition of marriage - as a union between a man and a woman - is protected from constitutional challenge, he added. "Taken together, these are balanced, wise steps forward." The two-day concurrent debate on both Bills ended on Tuesday. The repeal of Section 377A was passed with a majority of 93 to three votes, while a constitutional amendment to protect the definition of marriage against legal challenge was passed with a majority of 85 to two votes.


Parliament repeals Section 377A, endorses amendments protecting definition of marriage
The law, which criminalises sex between men, was repealed after a debate in Parliament. PHOTO: MCI

Parliament on Tuesday voted to repeal a decades-old law criminalising gay sex, while endorsing changes to the Constitution to protect the current definition of marriage from legal challenge. The repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code, following a 10-hour debate over two days, saw 93 MPs voting in favour of the move.

Workers’ Party MPs Gerald Giam (Aljunied GRC) and Dennis Tan (Hougang), and Nominated MP Hoon Hian Teck were the only three to vote against the repeal. The constitutional amendment to introduce Article 156 saw 85 MPs vote in favour, while both Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Non-Constituency MPs (NCMPs) voted against the move, and WP MPs Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) and He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC) abstained. Nominated MPs are not allowed to vote on constitutional amendments.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said Parliament’s overall choice showed that the House is the one to decide on issues of marriage rather than leaving the matter to the courts and living with the potential threat of the current definition being ruled unconstitutional.


Section 377A of the Penal Code (Singapore)

Section 377A of the Penal Code of Singapore (repealed on 29 November 2022) was the main piece of legislation which criminalised sex between mutually consenting males who were not below the legal age of consent (16 years in Singapore), even when it was done in private. In lay terms, it was known as the "gross indecency" law. This was the phrase commonly used by the press when routinely reporting on criminal cases charged under the statute:
  • Consensual sex between males where one party is underaged is charged under commercial sex with a minor below 18, sex with a minor below 16 or statutory rape.)
  • Non-consensual sex between males is charged under "assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty" (Section 354 of the Penal Code[2]). Male on male rape is charged under Section 375 (1A) of the Penal Code[3]. Sexual assault involving penetration (eg. performing oral sex on another non-consenting male) is charged under Section 376 of the Penal Code. Victims are not charged. (See main article: Rape of males in Singapore).
"Gross indecency" was usually taken to mean all forms of non-penetrative sex (eg. mutual masturbation) between two males regardless of age. This stood in contrast with the former Section 377, known as the "unnatural sex law", which included only penetrative sex (mainly oral and anal) between two persons of any gender, meaning it did not discriminate between heterosexual and homosexual sex.

Section 377A (Singapore)

Section 377A was a Singaporean law introduced under British colonial rule that criminalised sex between consenting male adults. It was added to the Penal Code in 1938 by the colonial government under the governorship of Shenton Thomas. It remained a part of the Singapore body of law after the Penal Code review of October 2007 that removed most of the other provisions in Section 377, until its full repeal on 29 November 2022.

The law, which was retained de jure in the Penal Code, was de facto not enforced in modern times – there had been no convictions for sex between consenting male adults in decades prior to the law's repeal. On 28 February 2022, the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Singapore reaffirmed that 377A cannot be used to prosecute men for having gay sex.[1] That same year, an Ipsos survey found that 44% of Singapore residents supported retaining the law, with 20% opposing it and the remaining 36% being ambivalent.

On 21 August 2022, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced during the annual National Day Rally that the government intends to repeal Section 377A, effectively ending criminalisation both de facto and de jure. The law was officially repealed by the Parliament of Singapore on 29 November 2022

Pink Dot 2022

Singapore’s landmark LGBTQ+ rally will return to Hong Lim Park on 18 June 2022 after two years of online-only events. “We’re excited to return home to Hong Lim Park. The feelings of kinship and community is something we’ve all missed dearly during the last two years, especially after how difficult the pandemic has been for us, and our disappointing loss of the 377A constitutional challenge,” said Pink Dot SG spokesperson Clement Tan.

The 14th edition of Pink Dot SG will harken back to its roots with a daytime dot, inviting participants to write messages of hope and change on physical placards. In response to the government’s promise that it will review its policies to reflect shifts in social attitudes, Pink Dot will call on participants to collectively envision what a more inclusive future could look like. “Change can only come through collective action. We hope that people will show up, stand together with the community, and speak up for the change they want to see in Singapore”, said Mr Tan.

In accordance with local regulations, the event will welcome Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. All entrants are required to provide proof of vaccination at entry points. To be considered fully vaccinated, they must have received their primary vaccination series, along with a booster jab within 270 days of the last dose. As participants will be outdoors, they are not required to wear face masks and will be allowed to enjoy picnics with family and friends. They will also be treated to the Pink Dot Concert, which includes performances by groups like Singapore Drag Royalty. The Community Tent, a mainstay at every Pink Dot event since 2012, will convene LGBTQ+ groups this year. These organisations provide year-round support and have been critical to the well-being of the community over the course of the pandemic. Participants are encouraged to visit the groups to engage with community leaders, gain access to resources, and learn more about LGBTQ+ issues in Singapore.


Mount Everest: Exploiting The Summit

This is the untold story of the 2019 Mount Everest tragedy, where 11 people died trying to scale the world’s highest summit. An image that went viral showed a glimpse of what happened that day - a long, continuous line of hundreds of climbers bottlenecked on the summit ridge of Everest, all trying to take advantage of a narrow window to get to the top. 

Weaving first-hand accounts from alpinists, sherpas and those who lost loved ones, find out how and why things went awry. Was the mountain too crowded, and were there too many inexperienced climbers, lured by the magic of the mountain by exploitative companies. And what is the environmental impact caused by the influx of climbers?


Don't let Vascular Dementia Take Control of Your Life

Vascular dementia is one of the most common forms of dementia in Singapore, yet many of us have never heard of it. Let’s change that. Keep reading to learn more about what causes vascular dementia and how you can reduce your risk.

Did you know that almost half (45.5%) of dementia cases in Singapore are vascular dementia? You may also be surprised to learn that you can take steps now to lower your risk of vascular dementia.

So, keep reading and let’s demystify this disease together.

What are the early signs of dementia?
Dementia is a term that describes a variety of symptoms affecting a person’s cognitive functioning. It tends to get worse over time, so there are a few key early warning signs

Dementia occurs when nerve cells in a person’s brain stop working. It can affect their ability to think, remember, and reason.

Although it typically happens in older people, it is not an inevitable part of aging. The brain naturally deteriorates as people grow older, but this deterioration occurs more quickly in people with dementia.

There are 10 typical early signs of dementia:
  • Memory loss - Memory loss is a common dementia symptom.
  • Difficulty planning or solving problems - A person with dementia may find it difficult to follow a plan.
  • Difficulty doing familiar tasks - A person with dementia may find it hard to complete tasks they regularly do.
  • Confusion about time or place - Dementia can make it hard to judge the passing of time.
  • Challenges in understanding visual information - Visual information can be difficult for a person with dementia.
  • Problems with speaking or writing - A person with dementia may find it hard to engage in conversations.
  • Tendency to misplace things - An individual with dementia may not be able to remember where they leave everyday objects, such as a TV remote control, phone, wallet, and keys.
  • Poor judgment or decision-making - It can be hard for someone with dementia to understand what is fair and reasonable.
  • Withdrawal from social activities - A person with dementia may become disinterested in socializing with other people in home life and at work.
  • Changes in personality or mood - An individual with dementia may experience mood swings or personality changes.

What to know about senility and dementia
A person may use “senility” to describe a decrease in the ability to think, concentrate, or remember

Senility and “being senile” are old-fashioned terms, and some people use them to refer to dementia.

A contemporary term that doctors use is “neurocognitive disorder” which might be either minor or major. For example, they may diagnose minor neurocognitive disorder due to Alzheimer’s disease — a type of dementia.

Below, learn more about what senility and dementia mean, as well as dementia’s symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention.



Taiwan President Tsai resigns as party leader

President Tsai resigns as DPP chairperson after election setback
President Tsai Ing-wen announces her resignation as the DPP chairperson at a news conference in Taipei Saturday evening. CNA photo Nov. 26, 2022

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) resigned with immediate effect as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson Saturday after the party suffered a crushing defeat in local elections that day. In a speech at DPP headquarters, Tsai said that as party chairperson she humbly accepts and must shoulder responsibility for the party's disappointing election results. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also verbally tendered his resignation, Tsai said, but added that she had asked him to stay in his post to ensure that the implementation of major policies is not interrupted.

Tsai attributed the DPP's election rout to its failure to change the political landscape at the local-government level, meet people's expectations, and offer quality candidates. All these were reasons why the DPP was unable to appeal to the public again after the party's victories in the 2020 presidential and legislative elections, she said. "Political parties and politicians are insignificant next to public opinion," Tsai said. "The DPP would engage in solemn introspection and aspire to do a better job to meet people's high expectations," she said.

At a press event held at the party's headquarters, Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) hailed the party's election performance as a triumph not just for the KMT but for the people of Taiwan as a whole. Chu added that it also served as a warning to the DPP, which the KMT chair said had been abusing power by mobilizing an "internet army" to attack nonsupporters. Chu said that Saturday's election results offered the KMT a glimmer of hope for the 2024 presidential race. He pledged that his party would continue to do its best in soliciting support from swing voters while upholding the sovereignty of the Republic of China, the de jure name for Taiwan.

Taiwan president resigns as party leader after election loss

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party following local election losses on Saturday in which voters chose the opposition Nationalist party in several major races across the self-ruled island.

Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a backseat to more local issues in the elections.

Tsai had spoken out many times about “opposing China and defending Taiwan” in the course of campaigning for her party. But the party’s candidate Chen Shih-chung, who lost his battle for mayor of Taipei, only raised the issue of the Chinese Communist Party’s threat a few times before he quickly switched back to local issues as there was little interest.

KMT wins big in local elections, taking four special municipalities
Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (front) of the opposition KMT and his campaign team celebrate his victory outside his campaign headquarters on Saturday evening. CNA photo Nov. 26, 2022

The Kuomintang (KMT) scored a big victory in Taiwan's local government elections, taking 13 of the 21 cities and counties up for grabs, including four of the country's six biggest metropolitan areas where nearly 70 percent of Taiwan's people live.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), on the other hand, saw its number of local government seats fall from seven to five, and it was swept out of power in the northern half of Taiwan. Following the election setback, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced she would step down as chairperson of the DPP, potentially creating uncertainty for the party 14 months ahead of Taiwan's next presidential election. Though numerically, the KMT entered Saturday's elections holding 14 seats and finished with 13, its victories in Taipei and Taoyuan more than compensated for its losses in the island counties of Penghu and Kinmen and in Miaoli County.

It will have a chance to win control of a 14th district when Chiayi City votes for its mayor on Dec. 18, in a race that incumbent Mayor Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) is favored to take. The race was postponed due to the death of one of the six candidates entered in the election. The big prize for the KMT was winning back Taipei eight years after Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) of the fledgling Taiwan People's Party (TPP) took over the city government in 2014, succeeding the KMT's Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), who could not run for reelection after serving two four-year terms.

Mainland spokesperson comments on results of Taiwan's local elections
The Taipei 101 skyscraper commands the urban landscape in Taipei, Taiwan. [Photo/Xinhua]

The results of the local elections held in Taiwan Saturday revealed that the mainstream public opinion in the island is for peace, stability and a good life, a Chinese mainland spokesperson said.

The mainland will continue to work with people of Taiwan to promote peaceful and integrated development of cross-Strait relations, contribute to the wellbeing of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, firmly oppose "Taiwan independence" and foreign interference, and strive for bright prospects for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, said Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

Zhu made the remarks when commenting on the results of Taiwan's local elections.

Taiwan’s Tsai says no backing down to Chinese aggression

Taiwan won’t back down in the face of “aggressive threats” from China, the president of the self-governing island democracy said Tuesday, comparing growing pressure from Beijing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tsai Ing-wen made the comment following a twice-a-decade congress of China’s Communist Party at which it upped its longstanding threat to annex the island it considers its own territory by force if necessary. The party added a line to its constitution on “resolutely opposing and deterring” Taiwan’s independence and “resolutely implementing the policy of ‘one country, two systems,’” the formula by which it plans to govern the island in the future.

The blueprint has already been put in place in the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has seen its democratic system, civil liberties and judicial independence decimated in recent years. Speaking to an international gathering of pro-democracy activists in Taipei, Tsai said democracies and liberal societies are facing the greatest challenges since the Cold War.

Beijing-friendly KMT’s huge win in local elections does not mean Taiwan is pro-China
Kuomintang’s rising star Chiang Wan-an greeting members of the public on Nov 27 after winning the Taipei mayoral election. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The Beijing-friendly opposition Kuomintang’s (KMT) landslide victory over the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at Taiwan’s municipal elections on Saturday should not be interpreted as the island becoming more pro-China, experts said. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has hailed the election outcome as a sign that “mainstream public opinion” in Taiwan is for “peace, stability and a good life”. But analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit said “a KMT victory will not represent a public rebuke of the DPP’s handling of issues across the Taiwan Strait”.

Officials elected at these midterm polls do not have direct say on foreign policy development – in contrast to the presidential election, which will be next held in 2024. “Midterm elections in Taiwan are primarily concerned with local issues and the personality of individual candidates,” said analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Campaign issues can include a city’s road improvement work or a neighbourhood’s recycling efforts. Beijing, which has not ruled out force to take control of Taiwan, which it views as a breakaway province, is not a fan of the ruling DPP and has cut off communication channels with the island since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016.

The KMT traditionally favours warmer ties with Beijing, although it has strongly denied being pro-China. On Saturday, the opposition party claimed victory in 13 of the 21 city mayor and county chief seats up for grabs. The DPP’s five wins were its worst showing in its 36-year history. Independent candidates took two seats, while the upstart Taiwan People’s Party snagged one. Significantly, the KMT’s rising star Chiang Wan-an, 43, beat the DPP’s former health minister Chen Shih-chung, 68, by a significant margin to take the coveted Taipei mayoral seat.

Taiwan's local election results announced

Taiwan held local elections on Saturday.

Among the elected 21 county and city chief posts, the Chinese Kuomintang party won 13 seats, the Democratic Progressive Party landed five, the Taiwan People's Party landed one while the rest two went to independent candidates, according to the island's election affairs authority. 

The election for the mayor of Chiayi City was postponed. The elections also chose county and city councilors, and township and village leaders.

Amid tensions with China, Taiwan shows off military drones
The Taiwanese flag is seen on the NCSIST Albatross medium UAV displayed at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology in Taichung in central Taiwan on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. Taiwan displayed its self-developed drone technology Tuesday, amid rising concerns over China's threats to use force to assert its claim to the self-governing island republic. (AP Photo/Walid Berrazeg)

Taiwan displayed its self-developed drone technology Tuesday, amid rising concerns over China’s threats to use force to assert its claim to the self-governing island republic.

The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, which develops military technology, offered a rare look at the Chien Hsiang drone designed to destroy enemy radars, and other unmanned combat aerial vehicles. A dozen of the single-use drones, officially termed loitering munitions, are carried on a truck. Launched with a built-in rocket, they are guided by a propeller engine before crashing into their targets.

Any country that is “confident in itself” will come up with strategies and develop defense technologies, said Chi Li-ping, director of the institute’s Aeronautical System Research Division. Unmanned combat aerial vehicles are “a future trend,” Chi said. “This is why we are doing research about it and laying out some strategies.”


How To Reignite Passion In A Long-Term Relationship

You certainly understand the stability and a sense of security in a long-term relationship. Those are paramount, but when you are too familiar with someone as well as what they do, the relationship might become less sparky. As a result, how to reignite the spark in a long-term relationship has become a frequent topic of discussion:


Anwar is Malaysia's 10th PM

Update: 3 Dec 2022: Malaysian PM Anwar unveils cabinet

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim unveiled his cabinet on Friday, naming two deputy prime ministers in an effort to better represent both halves of the country.

Anwar sworn in as Malaysia's 10th PM

Anwar Ibrahim will be sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister this evening.

After days of negotiations, and political uncertainty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had decided to appoint the prime minister after meeting with the Conference of Rulers.

Anwar is expected to lead a unity.

Anwar Ibrahim sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th PM, ending decades-long wait for country's top job
Malaysia's newly appointed Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim (centre) takes part in the swearing-in ceremony at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 24, 2022. (Photo: AFP/POOL/Mohd Rasfan)

Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister on Thursday (Nov 24).

His appointment was confirmed by Istana Negara just after lunch, following several days of political uncertainty as last Saturday’s election failed to produce a clear winner. In the palace statement confirming Mr Anwar as the next leader of Malaysia, the king advised Mr Anwar and the new government to show “humility and wisdom”.

“The fact is that ordinary people should not be burdened with endless political turmoil when the country needs a stable government to boost the economic landscape and development of the country,” said the statement. The statement also reminded elected Members of Parliament to show priority, high commitment as well as to provide the best service to the people.

Malaysia's Anwar sworn in as PM, pledges to fight corruption
Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks to a gathering in Kuala Lumpur © Reuters

New Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim pledged Thursday to fight corruption and support a multiracial Malaysia under progressive and transparent leadership. "There will be no questions of instability in my administration," he said. "I have asked for the government to put in a motion of confidence as the first agenda on Dec. 19," he told a packed news conference near Kuala Lumpur with his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, by his side.

Anwar, 75, said he would seek to prove he has the support of at least 112 lawmakers, the amount needed to form a simple majority government. The leader of the reformist Hope Pact coalition, Anwar was sworn in earlier as the country's 10th prime minister in front of King Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin. The new prime minister received congratulatory calls from Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Anwar's elevation caps a dramatic career in which he tried and failed to become prime minister three times, and spent a period in jail on charges many believed were politically motivated. "My grandson, Nurul Izzah's (his eldest daughter) son, asked me today how long I had to wait to be prime minister...I told him not too long, but only 24 years," he quipped.

PM Anwar Ibrahim says role of China ‘pivotal’, ties to be enhanced
New appointed PM Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian king and queen, and Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail after the swearing in at the National Palace. Photo: EPA-EFE

Malaysia’s king convened a special meeting between the heads of the nation’s nine royal houses on Thursday, on day five of a post-election political impasse.

Saturday’s polls led to a hung parliament, although the reformist long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance and the Malay-Muslim Perikatan Nasional (PH) coalition led by Malay nationalist Muhyiddin Yassin emerged as the two biggest blocs.

Constitutional monarch Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah sought the meeting to seek the views of his fellow sultans and assist him in making a decision on the leadership tussle “for the interests and well-being of the nation and people”.

A long and winding road to the top
Woman behind the man: Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail leaving Istana Negara with her husband. — KAMARUL ARIFFIN/The Star

It has been a 24-year wait, an arduous journey that saw him sacked as deputy prime minister, defeated several times, jailed twice and pardoned. Now, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has finally achieved his long-held ambition and clinched the country’s top job at the age of 75.

Anwar, who was born in Cherok Tok Kun in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, in 1945, started out as a young firebrand in the 1970s. He founded the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim) in 1971 and served as its president until 1982. He became famed as a student leader when he headed the Baling demonstration of 1974.

The demonstration, which broke out on Nov 19 of that year, saw some 30,000 people gather to protest the drop in the price of rubber. Anwar is reported to have said that the demonstration was to voice the sufferings of rural folk and farmers.

What analysts say about Anwar’s appointment as new Malaysia PM
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appointment caps a three-decade long political journey. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia’s King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, appointed long-time opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister on Thursday, ending five days of unprecedented post-election crisis after inconclusive polls.

Datuk Seri Anwar’s appointment caps a three-decade long political journey, from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, to a prisoner convicted of sodomy, to opposition leader and, finally, prime minister.

The former finance minister and deputy prime minister will have to address soaring inflation and slowing growth, while calming ethnic tension that has flared since a Saturday election.

Malaysia’s longtime opposition leader Anwar sworn in as PM
Anwar Ibrahim attends a news conference outside the National Palace, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 22, 2022. © Hasnoor Hussain, Reuters

Malaysia’s longtime opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister on Thursday, ending days of uncertainty after divisive general elections produced a hung parliament. Anwar was sworn in by the country's monarch at the royal palace on Thursday evening, hours after the palace released a statement announcing the nomination. "After taking into consideration the views of Their Royal Highnesses the Malay Rulers, His Majesty has given consent to appoint Anwar Ibrahim as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia," the statement said.

His appointment ended five days of unprecedented post-election crisis, but could usher in a new instability with his rival, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, on Thursday challenging him to prove his majority in parliament. A general election on Saturday ended in an unprecedented hung parliament with neither of two main alliances, one led by Anwar and the other by Yassin, immediately able to secure enough seats in parliament to form a government. Anwar's appointment caps a three-decade long journey from heir apparent to a prisoner convicted of sodomy to longtime opposition leader. His Alliance of Hope coalition led Saturday’s election with 82 seats, short of the 112 needed for a majority. Former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s right-leaning National Alliance won 73 seats, with its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party emerging as the biggest single party with 49 seats.

The decision on the prime minister came down to King Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, after both Anwar and Muhyiddin missed his Tuesday afternoon deadline to put together an alliance. The constitutional monarch plays a largely ceremonial role but can appoint a premier he believes will command a majority in parliament. Anwar finally emerged victorious after other smaller blocs agreed to support him for a unity government. His rise to the top will ease anxieties in the multiracial nation over greater Islamisation under Muhyiddin and spark hopes that reforms for better governance will resume.

Prisoner to PM: Anwar Ibrahim’s long ride to the top in Malaysia
Anwar emerged victorious after smaller blocs agreed to back him to form a unity government. Malaysia's king on Thursday named him the country's prime minister, ending days of uncertainties after divisive general elections produced a hung Parliament. [John Shen Lee/AP Photo]

Anwar Ibrahim has been sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister, trumping a Malay nationalist leader to clinch the top job after divisive general elections led to a hung parliament. Becoming prime minister caps Anwar’s rollercoaster political journey, from a former deputy prime minister whose sacking and imprisonment in the 1990s led to enormous street protests and a reform movement that rose into a vital political force.

It is a second victory for his reformist bloc, which won 2018 polls but lost power after 22 months due to a power struggle that has led to continuous political turmoil. Last Saturday’s election, which was supposed to end the instability that had led to three prime ministers since 2018, instead produced new uncertainty after no party won a clear mandate.

Anwar’s multiethnic Alliance of Hope, led with 82 seats, short of the 112 needed for a majority. Muhyiddin’s right-leaning National Alliance won 73 seats, with its ally Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) emerging as the biggest single party with 49 seats  Anwar emerged victorious after smaller blocs agreed to back him to form a unity government. Still, he faces a tall task in bridging racial divides that deepened after Saturday’s poll and reviving an economy struggling with rising inflation and a currency that has fallen to its weakest point.

Election Results: No clear winner as Malaysia election ends in hung parliament
Coalition led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim wins most seats, but group led by ex-PM Muhyiddin Yassin make gains

Malaysia’s tightly contested general election has ended in a hung parliament, with the coalition led by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim winning the most seats followed by a grouping including the country’s Islamist party a few seats behind.

Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition secured 82 seats in the 222-member parliament while former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Malay-based Perikatan Nasional (PN) trailed behind with 73 seats, the Election Commission of Malaysia said early on Sunday morning. Voting was suspended in one seat in the Borneo state of Sarawak after flooding made it impossible for elections workers and voters to get to some polling stations.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition – dominated by his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party – suffered major upsets, emerging with just 30 seats. It was a major turnaround for an alliance that dominated Malaysia’s political landscape since its independence nearly 60 years ago. Anwar and Muhyiddin each claimed their coalitions had enough support to form the government, although they did not reveal which parties they had allied with. Key to the formation of any government will be the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, which have long sought greater influence at the federal level.

Malaysia 2022 Election Results: Mutual Claims of Win, Appears Hanging Parliament

Malaysia 2022 election results have been obtained. The 2022 Malaysian General Election (Pemilu) was completed on November 19, 2022. The results of this election determine the majority of votes in parliament, with the winning party or coalition entitled to form a new government and determine the next Prime Minister (PM).

It should be noted that the main battle in the parliamentary election this time took place between the Barisan Nasional coalition led by the now ruling United Malays National Organization Party (UMNO), the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, and the Perikatan Nasional coalition led by former PM Muhyiddin Yassin. It takes at least 112 seats out of a total of 222 seats to gain a majority in the Malaysian parliament. The coalition or party that wins the majority of seats in parliamentary elections will be tasked with forming a new government and determining the next PM.

The following are the latest facts about the results of the 2022 Malaysian election:
  • Malaysia’s 2022 election has ended. Two Malaysian PM candidates, namely Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyiddin Yassin, both claimed their respective wins. The winner of Malaysia’s 2022 parliamentary election results can form a new government and determine the next PM after the general election.
  • As reported Asian News Channel and Asian Nikkei, Sunday (11/20), voting on Saturday (11/19) resulted in a tight vote. Pakatan Harapan, which carries opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, won 82 seats.
  • Perikatan Nasional, which carried former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, followed closely with 73 seats.
  • Meanwhile, the Barisan Nasional Coalition, which carried Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, won 30 seats.
  • Furthermore, the Sarawak Party Association (GPS) has 22 seats, the Sabah People’s Association (GRS) six seats, the Sabah Heritage Party three seats, the Malaysian National Party one seat and two seats won by independent candidates.

Malaysia election results: Umno loses big time

While Malaysia’s parliament currently hangs in the balance after yesterday’s election, with neither Perikatan Nasional (PN) or Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalitions having the majority to form a government (despite their leaders’ claims), what is most shocking was the crushing defeat for Barisan Nasional (BN), the right-wing alliance led by the once undefeatable Umno party.

Out of the 191 seats that Barisan Nasional contested in the 15th general election (GE15), it only won 30. The results of GE15 on the election commission’s website show that PH wins the most seats at 82, followed by PN (73) and BN (30). Meanwhile, Islamist party PAS is currently the largest party in parliament with 44 MPs followed by DAP (40) and PKR (31). BN chairman Zahid Hamidi issued a statement last night in which he acknowledged that his coalition recognised the vote outcome but refrained from admitting defeat. “BN considers that the result of GE15 as a big signal given by the people towards us.” “Nevertheless, BN will commit to continue contributing to see that a stable government can be established, we are ready to set aside our previous differences in sentiment,” he said in the statement.

PN, led by former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, delivered the biggest blow to Umno after it reduced support for the grand old party in its historical bastions. The PN alliance comprises a Malay-centric party (Bersatu), which portrays itself as anti-corrupt, and an Islamist party (PAS) that has touted shariah law in the past. Malay Muslims form the majority community in Malaysia followed by ethnic Chinese, Indians and other minorities. Race and religion remain sensitive and divisive issues in the country.

Malaysia Boleh