Malaysia's new PM says Anwar Ibrahim will be given royal pardon

Marco Green
May 12, 2018

Mahathir, who has said he plans to give the premiership to Anwar - his former nemesis - came out of retirement after he was angered at a massive corruption scandal that ensnared ex-prime minister Najib Razak.

France offers its congratulations to the Prime Minister elect, Mahathir bin Mohamad, and wishes him the utmost success in his new term.

Mahathir and Anwar put aside a longstanding rivalry to fight together to defeat Najib and his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, which forms the largest constituent in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Mahathir sacked Anwar in 1998 over political differences, and he was subsequently jailed on charges of sodomy and abuse of power, in a case widely condemned as politically motivated.

It was not clear when Anwar, who is now in the hospital for treatment to his shoulder, would be freed. His wife, who visited Anwar in hospital, later told reporters he could be freed in days and pardoned within a week. "If the director of prisons is satisfied. then he may be released in 2-3 days".

Anwar, 70, was due to be released on June 8 with time taken off his sentence for good behaviour.

As for whether the historic election result will have any impact on bilateral relations, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said it is still "early days" to assess what it means for major joint projects such as the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.

"We continue to forecast for average growth to exceed the "A" median, though policy uncertainty and resulting market volatility may lead to some short-term headwinds", it said in a statement.

Mahathir said his four-party alliance will hold a meeting Saturday and name 10 ministers for a start.

Najib's premiership has been battered by a massive financial scandal, in which he was accused of overseeing the plunder of billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. "He has, in fact, hidden evidence of wrongdoing and that is wrong in law", Mahathir said. "We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country", Mahathir said.

Mahathir said his government would look into measures to stabilise the ringgit, and talk to departments on what could be done. But he was also credited for transforming his Southeast Asian country from a sleepy backwater into a modern industrialised nation.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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