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COMMENT | Anwar's long walk to Putrajaya

COMMENT | In 1982, an orator in his mid-30s joined Umno under the leadership of its new president Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He was a former student activist who had been in prison for protesting against rural destitution and starvation. He was also the founder of the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim).

Given his anti-establishment and religious vein, he was expected to gravitate towards PAS. But the orator wanted to reach for the proverbial stars. And although PAS had the "moon" as its logo, he knew it would not propel him to the political altitude he desired. Much later, he would enlist the assistance of a "rocket" as well.

During his time in Umno, he was viewed with suspicion. His meteoric rise to become Mahathir's heir-apparent unsettled the non-Muslims who perceived him as an Islamic fundamentalist. It also earned him adversaries who considered him an obstacle to their ambitions back then and even now.

But fate, or rather Mahathir, disrupted his aspiration. In 1998, he was sacked, humiliated, and imprisoned. However, it never broke his spirit or resilience. Nor did he lose sight of the prime minister’s post.

Four decades have passed. The orator, now 75, who has not lost his knack for delivering scorching speeches, is a grandfather.

He has achieved his dream. Anwar Ibrahim is the...

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