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

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

Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, is due to be released from prison on Tuesday, his daughter has said. At 92 years old, Mahathir has become the world's oldest elected leader.

The southeast Asian nation's political landscape has been shaped for almost two decades by a feud between Anwar and Mahathir, whose decision to sack Anwar as his deputy sparked an opposition movement, Reformasi, or Reform, in 1998.

A full pardon is however required for him to re-enter politics because, as it stands, he is disqualified from being an MP for five years following his release.

The paperwork for the release is being arranged, the Singapore-based broadcaster said.

Ibrahim is serving a second prison sentence for sodomy, which many believe was politically motivated and the result of judicial pressure brought by the country's ousted prime minister, Najib Razak.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar addresses the media at Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital.

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When Mahathir first served as prime minister, between 1981 and 2003, Anwar was his protege and seen as his natural successor.

Mahathir said the Malaysian king has indicated he was willing to give an immediate pardon to Anwar, which would pave the way for the opposition icon to make a political comeback. He said Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who stood beside Mahathir as he made the announcement, will be the deputy prime minister in his Cabinet.

"Mahathir has proven his tenacity, accepted past limitations, apologised and sacrificed his time and energy to raise the dignity of the people and the country", Anwar said.

Mahathir has vowed to return billions of dollars lost in a corruption scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

It is unclear how long Mahathir will remain prime minister after Anwar's release. "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.

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