Newly-appointed Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim continues to receive congratulatory calls from world leaders, as he proposes fewer cabinet ministers with likely reduced salaries.

Anwar, 75, was sworn in as premier on Thursday, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner and opposition figurehead.
Anwar, 75, was sworn in as premier on Thursday, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner and opposition figurehead. (Wazari Wazir / MALAYSIA'S DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION / AFP / AFP)

Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim has started discussions on forming his cabinet as he begins work as prime minister at a challenging time, with the economy slowing and the country split politically after a close election.

In a news conference on Friday, Anwar announced that the cabinet of ministers in his government will be smaller compared to previous administrations, and will likely receive lower salaries.

"The size of the Cabinet will surely be smaller and I'm asking new ministers to agree with my proposal to reduce their salaries," he said.

In a separate press conference on Thursday evening, Anwar had told reporters that he will not be receiving a salary as prime minister, while reiterating his vow to address the rising cost of living and address the country's economic problem.

Anwar, 75, was sworn in as premier on Thursday, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner and opposition figurehead.

The parliament is scheduled to convene on December 19 at which point Anwar is expected to present his cabinet and the proposed budget for next year.
The parliament is scheduled to convene on December 19 at which point Anwar is expected to present his cabinet and the proposed budget for next year. (Wazari Wazir / MALAYSIA'S DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION / AFP / AFP)

'No compromise on good governance'

Anwar, who was appointed by Malaysia's king following an inconclusive election, said that the people of Malaysia had long been awaiting change.

"We will never compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians," he said during the Thursday night news conference.

Anwar's appointment ends five days of unprecedented post-election crisis but could usher in further instability with his rival, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, challenging him to prove his majority in parliament.

Both men's coalitions failed to win a majority in Saturday's election, but Malaysia's constitutional monarch, King Al Sultan Abdullah, appointed Anwar after speaking to several lawmakers.

By Friday, Anwar said that his unity government has reached a two-thirds majority in parliament of 148 MPs, after another party bloc from Sabah announced its support of him.

"This shows that we have exceeded the two-thirds support by MPs that will foster political stability. We can focus attention on efforts to uphold the country and strengthen the economy," he said.

READ MORE: From prison to Malaysia PM: Anwar Ibrahim's long ride to the top

Congratulatory messages

Meanwhile, Malaysia's veteran politician and former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad congratulated his longtime rival, Anwar, on Friday, writing on social media, "Good luck.".

The pair's on-off feuds have dominated Malaysian politics for the past two decades.

Anwar had also received congratulatory messages and calls from world leaders, including Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In Thursday's phone call, Erdogan said he is hopeful that the close cooperation between Türkiye and Malaysia will grow stronger based on mutual trust, according to a statement by the Turkish Communications Directorate.

"I wholeheartedly congratulate you for the victorious November 19 elections, your leadership of the coalition and for being appointed prime minister," Erdogan said in the call, part of which was broadcast publicly, after Anwar placed on phone on speaker while in the middle of a press conference.

Anwar also received a phone call from Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, while India's Narendra Modi and Singapore's Lee Hsien Loong greeted him on social media.

READ MORE: Türkiye's Erdogan congratulates new Malaysian PM Ibrahim

Source: TRTWorld and agencies