Malaysia's opposition icon released from prison with full royal pardon

Malaysia's opposition icon released from prison with full royal pardon

Anwar's release paved the way for him to return to politics, following a surprising election victory last week by his opposition political coalition, including Anwar's former foe Mahathir Mohamad, who was sworn in Thursday as Malaysia's new prime minister.

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.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not accept defectors from Barisan Nasional (BN) or the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) as registered members of the coalition, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Images at the time of a goateed, bespectacled Anwar in court with a black eye and bruises brought condemnation of Mahathir from around the world.

"The base case is that Mahathir passes the baton to Anwar". Ironically, as Anwar emerges from prison, the prospect of Najib facing prosecution looks increasingly likely.

He said Tuesday that he will run the country for "one to two years" to fix Malaysia's financial problems, creating uncertainty about how the two will work together in the interim. Jack Seng, another supporter wearing a shirt with a logo of Anwar behind bars, said he thought Mahathir and Anwar would resolve any tensions between them.

"I will play a role in the background even when I step down", he added, however.

"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".

Mahathir - who ruled Malaysia from 1981-2003 - came out of retirement to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak in an astonishing election turnaround last week.

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"I hope I will be given some space to spend time with my family although at the same time, I need to give support to my wife (Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail), who is now the Deputy Prime Minister".

The highs and lows of the relationship between Anwar and Mahathir are extraordinary.

Anwar Ibrahim speaks to reporters at a press conference held at his home.

He was freed in 2004, but then jailed again for five-years in 2015 for sodomy, in what his supporters considered an attempt by Najib to end his political career.

To a question whether Najib would be placed under house arrest, the Prime Minister said Najib was just not allowed to travel overseas.

"A-G refused to investigate further despite evidence suggesting that Najib received directly or indirectly RM42mil from SRC".

Najib was cleared of wrongdoing by the attorney general in 2016 but Mahathir has said the official has been asked to go on leave and replaced.

Without a deal to help recover the funds, Najib faces the likelihood of prosecution and possible criminal charges.

"Just last week nobody would have thought that this posh boarding school boy would be rear ended by his old political headmaster", he said.

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