Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim to be freed on Tuesday, daughter says

Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim to be freed on Tuesday, daughter says

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said at a press conference on Friday that the king of Malaysia had made a decision to pardon Anwar, but did not give a date for his release.

At 92, he is the world's oldest elected leader. Indeed, the unlikely alliance of Mahathir and Anwar has been one of the many odd aspects of this election.

He has now sought a royal pardon for Anwar ~ who is still languishing behind bars on a second charge of sodomy ~ and then make way for him to become Prime Minister.

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Pakatan Harapan has named Anwar as the prime minister-in-waiting, with Dr Mahathir having promised to vacate the seat once Anwar is pardoned, released and elected as a lawmaker.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, president of Anwar's party and his wife, told AFP the process to have him freed was already under way. She is the first female deputy premier in Malaysia but the current set-up is seen as transitional as Mahathir has agreed to hand over the baton to Anwar once he is freed.

Speaking at a news conference, Mahathir also said he would announce a 10-member cabinet on Saturday, including ministers for finance, defence and home affairs.

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Mahathir has vowed to reassure financial markets and return billions of dollars lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was a major factor in the election and in the ouster of Najib, Mahathir's predecessor and former protege.

Asked about 1MDB on Friday, Mahathir accused Attorney-General Mohamed Ali Apandi - who cleared Najib over the scandal - of having "undermined his own credibility". It was a major issue in the run-up to the election and played a major role in the ouster of Najib, Mahathir's former protegé.

US investigators say Najib's associates stole and looted at least $4.5 billion from the fund, of which some $700 million landed in Najib's bank account.

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Mahathir has said he would not go on a witch hunt but that Najib will be brought to court if there was evidence of wrongdoing.

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