Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim walks free after royal pardon

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim walks free after royal pardon

Sivarasa Rasiah, a central committee member of the People's Justice Party, said the Royal Pardon Board "has already met and the (king) has ordered a full pardon for Anwar Ibrahim".

Mr Anwar, who was formerly Dr Mahathir's political rival, has been promised leadership of Malaysia's new governing coalition when Dr Mahathir, 92, decides to step down.

Malaysia's new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sought a pardon for Mr Anwar, which was granted on Wednesday morning.

Malaysia jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim waves to supporters as he leave a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

"The Pardons Board is scheduled to sit at 11am tomorrow (Wednesday) and we won't know how long it will take before he is set free", she said to The Star. Party spokesman Fahmi Fadzil says he has been pardoned by the king.

Mahathir and Anwar are a political odd couple who have "hated each other politically" for two decades, James Chin, Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, told CNN ahead of the election last week.

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When asked whether Anwar should take over as prime minister, Izzah said she believed the country deserved the best prime minister.

Anwar has spent eight of the past 20 years in prison on politically-motivated sodomy charges, and as his one-time rival, Mahathir Mohamad, secured a remarkable election victory six days ago, he was in hospital recovering from shoulder surgery.

Mr Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy.

In an ominous sign for the former prime minister, Najib and his wife Rosmah were slapped with a travel ban by Malaysia's Immigration Department on Saturday, which stopped the couple from leaving for Jakarta.

Anwar can not directly join the government anytime soon.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders are working to deliver the pact's election promises despite not being sworn in yet as ministers, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. He was released from prison in 2004 and faced further allegations, charges, and appeals for years before being convicted in 2015 on what human rights groups consider to be a politically-motivated charge.

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