Anwar Ibrahim Becomes Malaysia’s Prime Minister 

Cast upon a backdrop of rising living costs and years of the government’s integrity being questioned, the 2022 Malaysian elections were heavily contested between the two major coalitions led by Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH). Following inconclusive election results where no party achieved a 112 seat parliamentary majority, Malaysia was left in a political deadlock for five days, until ultimately new agreements were formed, and a workable majority was achieved. This saw the election of Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister, a post he was first tipped to take on nearly 25 years ago, but had eluded him following decades of political discourse, which saw him imprisoned for nearly 10 years following accusations of corruption and sodomy, claims which were later proved to be false. 

Mr Ibrahim has preached an agenda of ‘Reformasi’, or reform, throughout his political career, and his 2022 campaign was no different. While Malaysia is mostly ethnic Malay Muslim, and Islam is the country’s official religion, there are significant minorities of ethnic Chinese, Indians, and indigenous people. Race and religion have long been sensitive issues in Malaysia, and Mr Ibrahim has pledged to “govern for all” and build an inclusive government, representative of the diversity within Malaysian society. Additionally, years of political instability led to the cabinet ballooning to nearly 70 ministers and deputy ministers, a number that Mr Ibrahim intends to reduce and reshape to better reflect Malaysia’s socioeconomic realities. Mr Ibrahim took a public pledge not to draw a salary, and to remodel the salary structures of government officials to instead provide more funds to benefit Malaysia’s citizens. 

Arguably, the most important task facing Mr Ibrahim is restoring the government’s integrity. Following multiple administrations plagued by accounts of corruption, most notably under former Prime Minister Najib Razak, Mr Ibrahim made it clear that he “will never compromise on good governance, the anti-corruption drive, judicial independence and the welfare of ordinary Malaysians”. He has called for a vote of confidence on December 19th to display the strength of his new coalition, and ultimately aim to rebuild the Malaysian public’s trust in its government. 

Bolsonaro Fails in Attempt to Overturn Brazilian Election Results

Three weeks after losing the presidential vote to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, incumbent Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil’s Liberal Party presented a case challenging the results of the October 30 run-off election. On 23rd November, a complaint was filed on behalf of Bolsonaro, alleging that 280,000 electronic voting machines demonstrated ‘irreparable operating discrepancies’, and that this bug should nullify votes from roughly 60 percent of the voting machines. Had these votes been nullified, President Bolsonaro would win 51% of the remaining votes, making him the victor instead. 

However, despite party lawyers producing a 33-page report highlighting the presence of the supposed ‘software bug’, they failed to actually explain how the bug might have affected election results. Furthermore, Brazil’s election authority gave Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party 24 hours to provide evidence that the vote count was inaccurate, which they failed to produce.

As a result of these shortcomings, Alexandre de Moraes, judge and president of Brazil’s Superior Electoral Tribunal denounced the case as being in “total bad faith”, labelling the complaint a “totally fraudulent narrative of the facts”. Additionally, Mr Moraes fined the parties in Bolsonaro’s coalition $4.3 million. 

Despite the dismissal of the case, members of Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party continue casting concern over the presence of the bug, with party president Valdemar Costa Neto claiming that “There can’t be any doubts about the vote”. However, independent computer security experts were involved in the tribunal’s assessment of the case, and they concluded that while the bug exists in some machines, it holds no bearing on the integrity of the results, directly refuting the claims from Bolsonaro’s coalition. 

Football: A Political Arena

In their opening game of the world cup, the German national football team raised their hands over their mouths for their team photo, in silent protest against both Qatar’s criminalisation of homosexuality, and FIFA’s prevention of 7 European teams wearing LGBTQ+ ‘OneLove’ armbands. FIFA threatened captains with yellow cards if their teams wore the ‘OneLove’ branded rainbow armbands which symbolises solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community internationally.

Germany’s protest is not the first political action that has surfaced in the competition and has merely joined an ensemble of causes that have attempted to exploit the competition’s publicity to garner media attention. The Iranian team’s refusal to sing their national anthem in defiance of the conservative, theocratic government that has been the target of the recent protest movement in Iran was a notable example of this trend, as was the Qatari-backed pro-Palestine chants and flag flying by crowds.

Interestingly, just so much as the world cup is providing as a platform for social movements, it has equally been a target – 22 000 tweets bear the hashtag #boycottqatar2022 – reflecting the controversy that has plagued the competition since its announcement to be held in Qatar in 2010. Amnesty International dubbed the competition the ‘World Cup of Shame’ because of the human rights abuses and worker exploitation of the 90% migrant work force in Qatar to build the infrastructure for the world cup.

The inextricability of such controversy from the competition – in all respects – raises the question as to whether the politicisation of football is a new phenomenon – or a deeply ingrained in the culture of the game that is accumulating global interest.


Taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, COP-27 has drawn to an end following days of negotiations. With the strapline, ‘Together for Implementation’, this year’s conference oversaw the discussion of several issues, with talks about how to strengthen global capability to adapt to climate change. Given that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated the world is close to moving past the point of repair, the importance of COP-27 cannot be understated. 

This year’s key outcomes include the establishment of a loss and damage fund for developing countries who have been seeking financial assistance due to the costs of rebuilding due to climate change. Although this is a major achievement, questions still exist as to where such funds will come from and by which format they should be provided. Following COP-26 in Glasgow where countries agreed to focus on keeping the rise in temperature below 1.5C, certain countries attempted to reverse this goal at COP-27. Whilst failing in such attempts, a resolution to cause emissions to peak by 2025 was omitted.

COP-27’s Loss and Damage Fund

On Saturday 19th of November, Leaders at COP 27 came to a long-awaited agreement on establishing a ‘loss and damage’ fund to financially compensate developing countries for their suffering at the hands of the climate crisis, and ultimately, the developed world. Pakistani Climate Change minister Sherry Rehman hailed the fund as ‘historic’, having led a team of 134 developing countries in pressuring the UN for the fund after years of campaigning by developing nations for similar reparations schemes.

Nevertheless, it seems such hails might be ignorant of the empty and incomplete promises of the fund. Aside from an agreement to establish the ‘loss and damage’ fund and establish a ‘transitional committee’ who will only make recommendations for funding sources at COP-28, the fund’s establishment has little relation to meeting the needs of developing countries at odds with the climate migrant crisis, green energy demands, and climate disasters. Equally, there are worries as to whether funds will emerge, or if, like the 2015 pledge for $100 billion for climate aid spending, it will remain in the pockets of the developed world. So far, few nations have made pledges for the ‘loss and damage’ fund, so fears, regarding this matter are not unwarranted.

The fund has also encountered scrutiny in its arbitrary distinctions as to which countries should bear the economic responsibility for sourcing the fund. The UNFCC rules for defining developed countries date back to 1922, and therefore neglect emerging nations which have been key emitters – like China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. Equally, contention has arisen, despite funds having yet to materialise, as to which nations should receive the compensation, and how such should be distributed. It seems a cascade of ethical problems would ensue with the need to measure ‘suffering’, and ‘triage’ developing countries suffering under the immediate impacts of climate change.

Turkey Retaliates

Turkey launched a series of air raids in northern Iraq and Syria over the weekend in response a terrorist attack that took place in Istanbul the previous week, which Turkey attributes to Kurdish militants. Turkey has been locked in a series of intermittent conflicts with the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party), a Kurdish armed group which Turkey (along with the United States and the European Union) labels as a terrorist organisation. Since the organisation was formed in 1984, an intermittent conflict has taken place in south-east Turkey and the mountains of northern Iraq, an area which the PKK fought to be recognised as an independent nation: Kurdistan.

The air raids are the latest in a long series of skirmishes that have claimed around 40,000 lives since the formation of the PKK, and Turkey has launched three separate campaigns in the region since 2016 alone. Turkey blames the Istanbul attacks of 13th November, which claimed six lives and injured over 80, on the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who were allied with the US during the war against ISIS in northern Syria. Turkey claims that the airstrikes were focused on 89 strategic targets and that a large number of ‘terrorists’ were killed in the strikes. The PKK claims otherwise, stating that 11 civilians were killed in an airstrike targeting hospitals, a power plant, and a grain silo.