Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim released from prison after royal pardon

Malaysia's Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail Safe-crackers called in to bust open safe at home of Malaysia's former PM
Leonard Rios | 16 May, 2018, 16:12

Mahathir has said he expects to run the government for one to two years but has signalled that the reins would be turned over to Anwar eventually.

Mr Mahathir, who worked with Mr Anwar during his own first stint as prime minister in the 1980s, has promised he will step aside for Mr Anwar to become prime minister within two years.

However, Dr Mahathir, who now leads the coalition and was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, has said it may take up to two years for him to hand over the reins as he wants to stick around to fix the problems he sees plaguing the nation.

Anwar was freed after being pardoned for a sodomy conviction that put him behind bars for three years, but that was widely viewed as trumped up.

Robertson added that "the new Pakatan Harapan government should now get busy revising or revoking the many rights abusing laws that are still on the books in Malaysia so that other politicians and activists do not suffer a similar injustice to what Anwar faced".

Although members of Umno or BN will not be able to become party members, Dr Mahathir said they can voice their support for the government on an individual level.

He was released after the country's constitutional king Muhammad V granted him a full pardon.

But the two men fell out over a number of issues, resulting in the popular Anwar's imprisonment, which triggered unprecedented protests.

Mahathir, with whom Anwar joined forces to win last Wednesday's election, greeted him at the palace where they both met the king. Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, making him the world's oldest democratically elected leader.

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"Whether he will immediately join the cabinet or not will be decided when the time comes", Mahathir said. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated.

Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years, "I understand that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia. a new partnership was essential to overcome the deeply entrenched, corrupt system that was presiding over Malaysia".

"But as a family, we were in concert that we can not expect the people of Malaysia to take a risk for their freedom if we ourselves were not prepared to take those same risks".

It was a shared desire to remove scandal-ridden former-PM Najib Razak that forged the unlikely alliance between Anwar and Dr Mahathir, who came out of retirement to bring down his former protege.

After being freed, Anwar was jailed a second time for sodomy in 2015.

Dr Mahathir said it was up to the police to call Najib to facilitate the investigations into the 1MDB. He and the fund have denied wrongdoing.

Mahathir made the statement in an interview hours before the Pardons Board was expected to meet on Wednesday regarding his expected successor, Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year jail term on sodomy charges that his supporters say were orchestrated by ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mahathir has replaced the attorney-general and officials at the anti-graft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.

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