Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim released from prison, granted royal pardon

17 May, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Police are seen at former prime minister Najib Razak’s house last night

The full pardon for and immediate release of jailed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today marks the end of 20 years of going in and out of prison, and the resumption of the political career of a leader touted to be the country's next prime minister.

After years of suspension and legal jeopardy, he was sentenced to five years in prison on a sodomy charge in 2015.

Anwar, 70, has been recovering from a shoulder injury in the hospital under police guard.

One condition for Mr Mahathir being allowed to lead the opposition coalition was that he agreed to secure a royal pardon for Mr Anwar who remained popular with his supporters.

"The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, has stood by the principles of democracy and freedom".

Anwar added he planned to rest and carry out some speaking commitments at universities.

Anwar, 70, joined forces with his once bitter foe Mahathir Mohamad in a four-party alliance to win a shocking victory in the May 9 elections, ending more than 60 years of rule by the Basiran National coalition and ousting Prime Minister Najib Razak. After that, Mr Anwar was jailed for committing sodomy and abusing power, a case that was widely perceived as politically motivated.

"The expectations of the new Malaysian government are very high, and I think Dr Mahathir will be very busy in the days to come".




"The Singapore authorities have cooperated extensively with their Malaysian counterparts on their past requests for information in relation to 1MDB-related transactions and are fully prepared to extend further assistance", the agencies said.

Anwar's release sets up a tantalising reunion with his nemesis-turned-ally Mahathir.

Mr. Mahathir, who is 92, promised to arrange the pardon during the election campaign and said he would hand power to Mr. Anwar once he secures a seat in the country's Parliament. "I can not complain very much", he said. Anwar became Mahathir's heir apparent, but they fell out during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was sacked.

But Mr Anwar said he trusted the prime minister to pursue their shared reform agenda and had forgiven him for past transgressions.

"In the initial stages, maybe lasting one or two years, I will have to be the prime minister and I will have to run the country", he said Tuesday via video conference to participants at a Wall Street Journal event in Tokyo. He was jailed on another flimsy sodomy charge in 2015.

Meanwhile, Nurul Izzah said she was grateful for the release of her father, who is also the PKR de facto leader, and described that justice was done through the release.

"The Anwar and Mahathir relationship will be a challenge to navigate as trust, ambition and priorities will be likely problem areas", said Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert who was in Malaysia to monitor the polls.

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