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Malaysia election

Malaysia's new deputy premier Ahmad Zahid feeds off adversity

Will Anwar's coalition partner leader help unify multiethnic nation or rend it?

Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, right, sits with his deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, following a swearing-in ceremony at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 3.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- There is no politician in Malaysia more adept at turning adversity to his advantage than the country's new deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

A coalition led by Ahmad Zahid's party suffered a crushing defeat in the Nov. 19 general election, but newly appointed Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim named him co-deputy prime minister, offering him the No. 2 position in the government, alongside Fadillah Yusof.

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