Ibrahim Anwar declares 'new dawn for Malaysia' after release

Ibrahim Anwar declares 'new dawn for Malaysia' after release

Anwar was initially scheduled to be released on June 10, 2018, after his five-year sentence that started on Feb 10, 2015 was reduced for good behaviour.

Datuk Seri Anwar, a former deputy prime minister to Tun Dr Mahathir between 1993 and 1998, was speaking to reporters at his home in Segambut, Kuala Lumpur, yesterday after receiving a royal pardon from the King that morning. Anwar said he was grateful to Malaysians "regardless of race and religion, who stood by the principles of democracy and freedom". To be appointed a Cabinet minister, Mr Anwar will first have to win a seat in the Lower House of Parliament in a by-election or be sworn in as a senator in the Upper House.

Once seen as a potential future leader, he had been jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption after falling out with the government.

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.

Anwar was a firebrand Islamist student activist before his entry into politics, and had served 20 months in jail in the 1970s after being detained without trial for his activism.

"Mahathir has proven his tenacity, accepted his past limitations, apologised and sacrificed his time and energy to raise the dignity of the people", Anwar wrote to his supporters on May 8.

Bernama news agency said that dozens of police officers were also seen at a luxury condominium in another district of the Malaysian capital where Najib has an apartment.

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Following his release, Mr Anwar said he had forgiven Mr Mahathir and stated he will give full support to the new government.

Anwar is prime minister-in-waiting but unlikely to take over quickly from Mahathir Mohamad, who after leading Anwar's alliance in the election campaign has become the world's oldest leader at 92.

Pakatan Harapan supporters and media practitioners had gathered in Padang Timur in front of Petaling Jaya's Amcorp Mall as early as 5.30pm on Wednesday (May 16), with many donning t-shirts bearing PKR's trade mark "biru muda" (light blue) colour. He was convicted in 2014 on a subsequent sodomy charge and jailed in 2015 when his appeal was denied. Mahathir is the chairman of the alliance and Anwar is its de-facto leader.

"The reason why the public supported us is they have faith in the leadership of the opposition to resolve some of the problems", Mahathir said Tuesday.

Since his defeat, there has been speculation that he and his wife might try to flee the country as the new government has vowed to investigate the massive financial scandal.

Serina Abdul Rahman, a visiting fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, said Mr Anwar would "rely on Mahathir's experience to put the ship back into shape".

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