Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Malaysia's Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar

Nurul Izzah Anwar speaks to a reporter at the Hospital Rehabilitasi Cheras today Nurul Izzah Anwar speaks to a reporter at the Hospital Rehabilitasi Cheras today
Deanna Wagner | 13 May, 2018, 03:53

Malaysia's king has reportedly agreed to pardon the jailed politician.

He explained that Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul Izzah Anwar's visit to the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital on Friday afternoon - where Anwar is being held - was just a normal family visit.

Under Malaysian law, Anwar is disqualified from running for office for five years after his release, unless he is pardoned by the King.

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

The royal pardon would mean he could return to politics straight away. One of Malaysia's most charismatic politicians, Anwar was heir-apparent to the premiership until Mahathir sacked him in 1998 and he was subsequently jailed for sodomy and abuse of power.

Mahathir has said he will step aside and hand over the prime minister's post to Anwar once he is pardoned.

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He didn't say how long the process will take and whether Anwar could be freed before his sentence ends June 8.

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.

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

Asked about 1MDB on Friday, Mr. Mohamad accused Attorney-General Mohamed Ali Apandi - who cleared Mr. Razak over the scandal - of having "undermined his own credibility". "He has, in fact, hidden evidence of wrongdoing and that is wrong in law", Mahathir said.

Dr Mahathir said his government would look into measures to stabilise the ringgit, and talk to departments on what could be done.