Anwar Will Be Released Directly From Hospital Without Returning To Prison
16 May 2018, 11:03 | Glen Norman
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Malaysia's reformist icon Anwar Ibrahim has been freed from custody after receiving a royal pardon, paving the way for a political comeback following his alliance's stunning election victory. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated by Najib to end his career.
Anwar waved to reporters as he was whisked from a hospital Wednesday where he was recovering from a shoulder surgery.
"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.
"The king, with the advice of the pardons board of the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, has allowed a full pardon and given an immediate release for ..." He was set to meet the king after leaving the hospital, and planned to speak to media in the afternoon. Once a high flyer in the ruling party, Anwar was convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998.
Anwar Ibrahim has hailed a "new dawn" for Malaysia in his first news conference following his release from prison on Wednesday (May 16).
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Mahathir also said he may bring a case against former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of corruption.
Anwar's release caps a remarkable reversal of fortune made possible by the unexpected electoral drubbing of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition that held power for the last six decades.
Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years he understands "that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia".
Anwar is in the People's Justice Party, while Mahathir is in the Malaysian United Indigenous Party, but they are part of the same coalition, Pakatan Harapan (meaning "Pact of Hope").
Mahathir has said he expects to run the government for up to two years but has signalled the reins would be turned over to the Anwar eventually. "So, we think in the short while, we will have a case against him and we will be able to charge [Najib]", Dr Mahathir added.
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Cracks have already emerged, with officials from Anwar's party alleging that Mahathir bulldozed the announcement of three top Cabinet posts.
Anwar was freed in 2004 and cleared of the sodomy charges after Mahathir retired. He was Mahathir's deputy in the 1990s but fell out with his mentor during the Asian financial crisis.
A person described in the USA lawsuits as "Malaysian Official 1" was said to have received more than US$1 billion in 1MDB funds, some of which was used to buy jewellery for the person's wife. He has warned that Najib will have to "face the consequences" if found guilty of wrongdoing.
Mahathir was spurred out of retirement by a corruption scandal at 1MDB, a state fund that is being investigated by the USA and several other countries after associates of defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak allegedly stole and laundered $4.5 billion from it.
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