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Jailed Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim walks free

17 May 2018

The convoy, which picked up vehicles as it sped through the city, carried the 70-year-old Anwar to the king's palace, where he shared a warm handshake with new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad - his former nemesis and current ally - before having an audience with the monarch. "For this, we will contact the governments of the countries to recover the money there", Mahathir said. "But I plan to visit him on Saturday, and tell him I look forward to working with him again for mutual benefit", he said during the Singapore parliament session today.

He has agreed to hand over power to jailed reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim but has not previously given any timing.

Holding a brief press conference, he thanked the people of Malaysia, who "stood by the principles of democracy and freedom" by voting against the ruling party and are now demanding "for change".

Mahathir has not yet moved into the prime minister's office or residence. "There will be no more special powers given, excepting as is given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers".

Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years until 2003, left the ruling party he once led to join a four-party coalition that scored a stunning victory in last week's elections.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has been freed from jail, paving the way for his return to politics.

Anwar, 71, was released immediately following the full pardon that was decided by the Pardons Board. Dr Wan Azizah is PKR president and Datuk Seri Azmin the deputy president.

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Mahathir, 92, promised during the campaign to stand aside for Anwar once he was pardoned but is now pushing back the potential timeline by a matter of years.

The charismatic 70-year old returned to the political spotlight after being imprisoned for three years on widely-criticised sodomy conviction, largely believed to be trumped up.

Anwar's journey over the past two decades added colour to the country's political landscape with the emergence of the reformation movement that eventually contributed to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) taking control of the federal administration in the 14th general election on May 9.

"I have forgiven him". Anwar became Mahathir's heir apparent, but they fell out during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was sacked.

Mahathir has said he intends to run the country for "one to two" years before stepping down.

He enjoyed a meteoric rise in the now-ousted Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, but suffered a spectacular falling-out with his then-boss Mahathir in the late 1990s and was thrown in jail after being convicted of sodomy and abuse of power.

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.

Jailed Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim walks free