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Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail

16 May, 2018, 16:11 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberals

"There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir said.

As part of their arrangement, Mahathir has pledged to step down in a year or two and to help create a path for Anwar to become premier.

"At a time when democracy is in retreat around the world, I hope that the people of Malaysia have given some hope to people around the world clamouring for their own freedom", he said.

Anwar Ibrahim's lawyer says the Malaysian king has granted him a full pardon and all past convictions have been expunged.

Anwar was serving a five-year jail term for sodomy, but had considered himself a prisoner of conscience. Both times, he and his supporters have said the charges were politically motivated.

Anwar, 70, headed for the royal palace to meet the King after the pardon came through, Xinhua news agency reported.

Smiling and looking spry in a tailored black suit, Anwar emerged from a Kuala Lumpur hospital where he had undergone surgery for a shoulder problem, giving a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before leaving in a convoy of cars without making any public comment.

Anwar said he had forgiven Mahathir, 92, who had him imprisoned two decades ago but has become his unlikely ally.

"Differences have already appeared between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role".

"I expect him to play the same role as the leaders of the other three parties".

The prime minister of neighbouring Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, will visit Mahathir on Saturday, Lee's office said.

"I'm not in a rush", Anwar was quoted as saying.

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Anwar is set to replace Mahathir as prime minister under a deal the pair agreed to before the election, though no date has been set for that transfer of power.

Devamacar Arumugam, 45, a woman wearing a sari made up of Anwar's People's Justice Party (PKR) flags, said she waited all day on Tuesday and was back just after dawn on Wednesday to see him free.

Mr Anwar also met Dr Mahathir, his former political mentor, at the...

But in 1998, they disagreed on how to tackle the Asian financial crisis and fell out.

Anwar was freed in 2004 and cleared of the sodomy charges after Mahathir retired.

But he eventually joined the anti-government movement that had been energized by his ordeal, using his star power to unite a divided and cowed opposition.

But it said the attorney-general Apandi Ali refused to consider recommendations by the anti-corruption agency to further investigate the transaction, a member of a panel that reviewed the commission's case files told Reuters.

"Najib wasted a lot of Malaysia's money".

Najib who lost the elections last week had insisted the fund is a donation from a Saudi royal.

But observers had failed to gauge the depth of disgust with former leader Najib Razak, who stands accused of presiding over the plundering of a state investment fund he established.

Dr Mahathir said it was up to the police to call Najib to facilitate the investigations into the 1MDB.

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