After so many years, and so many leaders, who have not passed the test of government, Malaysia is giving a long-standing opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, a chance to rule. He was made prime minister in November, after many years in the wilderness—and years in jail.
Ibrahim is an interesting character. I interviewed him last year for Foreign Policy, something that was occasioned by a brief moment when it seemed as if he might finally take office. That chance eluded him, but he demonstrated immense perseverance. He always said, if it took fifty years, he would do it. And now he has.
Ibrahim is not a complete outsider, however. In the 1990s, he was a widely respected deputy prime minister and finance minister, holding the latter post for most of the 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 cold war was over, peace dividends were cashed, and everyone thought the world could work together to become rich.
Read more in the National Interest.