Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim “soundly drubbed” his opponent in a parliamentary by-election Tuesday, said Jed Yoong in the Asia Sentinel, winning about 60 percent of the vote. The question now is whether he can “translate electoral success into a parliamentary majority,” thus ending 50 years of power by his former party, the United National Malays Organization (UNMO), which jailed him on now-overturned sodomy charges in 1998.
Anwar’s “remarkable political comeback” fits in well with “the national mood” of wanting change, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. And his margin of victory should give him “ammunition” to topple the UNMO. Voters in his Permatang Pauh district ignored the “trumped-up sodomy charges” from 1998, as well as a new “outstanding sodomy charge” and “ethnic scare tactics,” both part of the UNMO’s dirty campaign.
“The attacks have had an impact,” said Bridget Welsh in Britain’s The Guardian, “and fostered doubt among some Malaysians about Anwar’s ability to govern.” But without Anwar, there’s nothing holding together his diverse coalition of Malay, Islamic, and largely secular Chinese parties. And without his coalition taking power, Malaysians lose their best chance at “greater ethnic inclusion and cleaner government.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- The European Union was supposed to end nationalism. It gave it new life instead.
Subscribe to the Week