Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Former Malaysian Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim released

Former Malaysian Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim released

The ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, for which PKR is the lead party, plans to make Anwar prime minister once he has successfully won a by-election for a parliamentary seat, making him eligible for the premiership.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, who had been imprisoned since February 2015 on disputed sodomy charges, was released from hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after being granted a royal pardon and will not return to prison.

Bespectacled and dressed in a sharp black suit and dark tie, Anwar was due to give a press conference.

"Our litmus test has always been supporting the reform agenda", he said.

When asked if he might be willing to cut a deal to spare Mr Najib if he were to offer information that can recover part of the US$4.5 billion (S$6 billion) allegedly lost by 1MDB, Dr Mahathir would only say: "No deal".

He was sacked from the ruling party and founded the Reformasi movement, challenging Mahathir's government.

Anwar was beaten up while in police custody and convicted for corruption in 1999 and for "sodomy" in 2000. He quickly rose up the ranks, becoming finance minister in 1991 and deputy prime minister two years later.

After being freed in 2004, Anwar was jailed a second time.

"I will play a role in the background even when I step down", he added, however. "Why should I harbour any malice towards him?"

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

The pardon allows Anwar to re-enter active politics immediately, but it was not clear what his role in government would be.

Mahathir, who became the world's oldest elected leader at 92 in the elections and previously served as prime minister for 22 years until 2003, has agreed to hand the baton to Anwar.

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.

Several high-risk investments were made in a very short time, and the 1MDB management went against the board's and the shareholders' wishes in some instances, it said.

Jack Seng, another supporter wearing a shirt with an image of Anwar behind bars, said he thought Mahathir and Anwar would resolve any tension between them.

"We will follow by the rule of law and the law applies to everyone irrespective of being a prime minister", said Mahathir.

Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years he understands "that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia".

Mahathir said it would be hard to achieve consensus and any decisions will be based on the voice of the majority.

Earlier, state news agency Bernama and other media reported that a former official of the anti-graft agency, MACC, had lodged a report against Najib on suspicion of blocking probes in cases involving 1MDB and a government pension fund.

"AG refused to investigate further despite evidence suggesting that Najib received directly or indirectly RM42 million from SRC", Lim said, using the acronym for the attorney-general.

"Just last week nobody would have thought that this posh boarding school boy would be rear ended by his old political headmaster", he said. "There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir said.

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