Anwar Will Be Released Directly From Hospital Without Returning To Prison

16 May, 2018, 11:20 | Author: Carlos George
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post

The new prime minister also said jailed opposition leader and coalition partner Anwar Ibrahim would be freed on Wednesday.

Dressed in a suit, Anwar waved to reporters as he was whisked from a hospital, where he was recovering from shoulder surgery, to an audience with Malaysia's king.

"He's in good health", said Anwar's lawyer Shankaran Nair, who noted that the prison sentence was "unjust", which was why the pardon was approved.

Mahathir also said he welcomed foreign direct investment in Malaysia by China and other countries, but such investment must bring in capital and technology and provide jobs for Malaysians.

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia's 92-year-old new leader Mahathir Mohamad said he expects to stay as prime minister (PM) for up to two years and vowed not to cut any deals to keep his predecessor out of jail for alleged corruption.

"(In) an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister", Mahathir told a Wall Street Journal conference in Tokyo via a video link from Malaysia.

Anwar served as Dr Mahathir's deputy and finance minister before being removed from his post and incarcerated on sodomy and corruption charges, which human rights groups and foreign governments criticised as being politically motivated.

Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir — a gamble that paid off when the alliance won the May 9 polls and ended the National Front's 60-year grip on power.

But in one of Malaysia's many political twists, Mahathir came out of retirement, determined to oust Najib over accusations that he had presided over the looting of billions of dollars from a state investment fund, a scandal that has tarnished Malaysia worldwide.

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Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, making him the world's oldest democratically elected leader.

A royal pardon would reverse Anwar's conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

Anwar said the hardest thing about being in jail was its impact on his family.

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.

He was serving as Mahathir's deputy during the veteran politician's first stint as prime minister when he was suddenly sacked in 1998, and later jailed for sodomy and corruption.

Anwar and Mahathir agreed in 2016 to join forces with the aim of ousting scandal-hit Najib Razak and his Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance. In a statement Sunday, Anwar reiterated his party's support for Mahathir's leadership but called for decisions to be made jointly.

Mahathir has replaced the attorney-general and officials at the anti-graft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.

In the WSJ report published online Tuesday, Dr Mahathir reportedly said he would not offer Najib freedom in an effort to reclaim the missing funds.

"We think that within a short while we will have a case against him", Mahathir said.

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