In 1968, Ibrahim enrolled at the ‘University of Malaya’ in Kuala Lumpur. He immediately began to assume the mantle of leadership, quickly becoming elected president of the ‘National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students’. He became quickly known for his fervent pro-Islamic views.
The young leader then shouldered on further responsibility, becoming elected the president of the University of Malaya's ‘Malay Language Society’. The next year he then became a co-founder of the ‘Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia’ while also serving as the president of the ‘Malaysian Youth Council’.
In 1974, he was arrested for participating in a student protest against rural poverty. Owing to his country's draconian security laws, he spent nearly two years in jail without a trial.
From 1975-82, he was chosen to represent the entire Asia Pacific region at the ‘World Assembly of Muslim Youth’.
In 1991, Mahathir bin Mohamed rose to lead the ‘United Malays National Organization’ (UMNO). After general elections, he became the Prime Minister.
Although Anwar was the president of multiple organizations, he surprised many supporters in 1982 when he joined the UMNO. Almost immediately, he was awarded with a series of ministerial posts.
In 1989, on the strength of his service as Minister of Education, he was appointed President of the UNESCO General Conference.
He was appointed as the Minister of Finance in 1991. His market reforms and economic principles coincided with a national rise in prosperity.
In 1998, Ibrahim was selected to be the Chairman of the Development Committee of World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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In 1993, he survived a party vote to become the Deputy President of Malaysia. Despite widespread allegations of corruption, he was seen as being groomed to inherit the position of Prime Minister.
In 1997, he was appointed acting Prime Minister for two months while long-time Prime Minister Mahathir was on holiday. Mahathir and Ibrahim soon began to clash, as the latter supported austerity programs favored by the IMF while Mahathir wanted to chart another course.
On September 20, 1998, Anwar was arrested. He was charged with corruption for allegedly taking steps to actively interfere with a separate police investigation. While in jail, he was personally beaten by the Inspector General of Police.
In April 1999, he was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to six years imprisonment. Following the vagaries of Malaysian law, two months later this political leader received a subsequent nine-year sentence. His conviction was widely derided globally for being a clear case of political persecution.
Later the same year, Anwar filed a civil suit against Prime Minister Mahathir for defamation.
On September 2, 2004, he had his conviction vacated by the Supreme Court of Malaysia. He then held a series of teaching positions at prestigious educational institutions, including ‘St. Antony's College’ in Oxford, ‘Johns Hopkins SAIS’ in Washington, D.C. and at the ‘School of Foreign Service’ at Georgetown University.
In November 2006, he announced he would run for office in the next elections.
In July 2008, Ibrahim was arrested on a new charge of sodomy. The arrest immediately disqualified him from the upcoming election.
His PKR party won 31 parliamentary seats. Using a technical loophole, the politician nonetheless became the Leader of the Opposition, a position he held until March 16, 2015.
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In January 2012, after an extended trial, Ibrahim was acquitted of all charges.
On March 14, 2014, an appeals court overruled the vacation and his conviction was reinstated. There was widespread global condemnation for the ruling as it was deemed blatantly politically motivated.
This eminent leader continues to be a political thorn in the side of the ruling powers in Malaysia.
Personal Life & Legacy
Anwar Ibrahim is married to Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Together they have six children: son Mohd Ehsan and daughters Nurul Izzah, Nurul Nuha, Nurul Liham, Nurul Iman and Nurul Hana. Both wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughter Nurul Izzah are politicians.
Ibrahim is infamous for making frank statements about Israel, claiming that an Israeli public relations firm that the Malaysian government uses is directly linked to the deaths of Palestinians.
Many organizations have made substantive allegations that this political leader is anti-Semitical in some of his views. Though he supports the liberalization of Malaysia's bans on homosexual acts but is firmly opposed to the legalization of gay marriage