Prime minister Anwar Ibrahim steered his cobbled-together government through economic and sociocultural challenges in 2023, emerging stable but spooked. State-level elections in August sustained each party’s roster of states, but with declining margins for Anwar’s coalition. Fiscal pressures—high debt, declining revenues, rising cost of living, and a persistently weak currency—constrained room for maneuver, while state-level and societal cultural contests tested Malaysia’s multiracial, multireligious tolerance.

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