After so many years, and so many leaders, who have not passed the test, Malaysia is giving a long-standing opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, a chance to govern. He was made prime minister last month, after years in the wilderness.
Ibrahim is an interesting man. I interviewed him last year, when it briefly seemed as if power might be his. That chance slipped away, but he demonstrated immense perseverance, and maintained that if he lived to be a hundred, he would be prime minister. It seems he did not need to wait that long.
In the 1990s, Ibrahim was a widely respected deputy prime minister and finance minister, holding the latter post for most of that decade. It was a time of growth and optimism, not least in Malaysia. This was a period of the Asian tigers — a bold and imaginative moment, where the European, North American, and Soviet stranglehold on development was being radically upended, setting the stage for the twenty-first century.
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