Former Malaysian Dy PM Anwar Ibrahim released, PM Mahathir arranges pardon

Former Malaysian Dy PM Anwar Ibrahim released, PM Mahathir arranges pardon

Former Malaysian Dy PM Anwar Ibrahim released, PM Mahathir arranges pardon

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has promised to back his onetime rival, Mahathir Mohamed, after being freed from jail.

Unity between Anwar, 70, and Mahathir is key to the government executing quickly on campaign promises to scrap an unpopular goods and services tax, review big-ticket infrastructure projects and cut spending.

Last week, "we freed Malaysia from BN, today we freed Anwar Ibrahim from prison", PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi tells cheering crowd.

The volatile relationship between Mahathir and Anwar has dominated Malaysia's political landscape for over three decades and is central to the future of the alliance.

Mr Anwar said he had forgiven Mr Mahathir and stressed he would give full support to the new government, though not immediately be part of it.

After being sworn in as Malaysia's seventh prime minister last Thursday, Mahathir moved swiftly to name new finance, home affairs and defense ministers but has not appointed a full Cabinet amid horse trading among his four-party alliance for posts. Once a high flyer in the ruling party, he was first convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998.

He said yesterday 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.

Malaysian police visited former Prime Minister Najib Razak's house late Wednesday, reportedly searching for documents as part of a renewed probe into a massive corruption scandal involving a state investment fund that is being investigated overseas. "For this, we will contact the governments of the countries to recover the money there", Mahathir said.

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Malaysia bans convicts from political activities for five years after their sentence ends.

In 2004 his conviction was overturned and he led the opposition to unprecedented gains - though remained short of victory - in the 2008 and 2013 general elections.

The fallout led to Anwar's conviction and six-year imprisonment on a charge of sodomy. Mahathir, who is now prime minister for a second stint, had vowed to enable Anwar's release and eventually step aside for him to become the prime minister.

The shock victory only highlighted the depth of disgust and disillusionment the country had with former leader Razak, who stands accused of corruption and plundering the state investment fund 1MDB.

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.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is now a free man.

"They demand change, and it is our duty to ensure this mandate given to Pakatan Harapan would honor those commitments", he said.

"I expect some resistance", Mahathir said Tuesday of differences related to cabinet appointments.

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