Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar walks free

- REUTERS, KUALA LUMPUR

May 17, 2018-

Jailed Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon on Wednesday and walked out of a hospital in Kuala Lumpur just a week after his alliance scored a shock victory in a general election.

Smiling and waving to supporters, Anwar, dressed in a black suit and tie and his hair neatly swept back, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before driving to the palace for an audience with King Sultan Muhammad V.

He was greeted at the palace by new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his ally-turned-foe-turned-ally, with whom he joined forces to oust scandal-tainted Najib Razak’s administration in last week’s election. “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 ... Anwar bin Ibrahim,” said a statement issued by the palace.

Anwar, 70, serving a five year-sentence for sodomy, has been recovering from a shoulder injury in hospital under police guard.

The pardon allows Anwar to re-enter active politics immediately, but it was not clear what his role in government would be.

Mahathir, 92, had vowed to enable Anwar’s release and eventually step aside for him to become the prime minister.

On Tuesday, Mahathir said he expected to be prime minister for one or two more years, setting off talk of differences between the two.

“Seeing him walk free makes me emotional, but the fight is not over,” said Ridzuan Ismail, an Anwar supporter at the hospital. “Now we need to see him become prime minister.”

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. “I think we need to let Mahathir do his work to save Malaysia and to get back its system of government.”

Published: 17-05-2018 08:36

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment