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Malaysia: Jailed Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim granted full pardon, walks free

17 May 2018, 12:40 | Myrtle Vega

Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberalsLAI SENG SIN REUTERS

Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberals

Since Razak was unseated, the 1MDB investigation has gathered pace, with both the former prime minister and his wife barred from leaving the country.

Since 2016, Mahathir and Anwar have joined hands again against the government led by Najib Razak. The events were being streamed live on Facebook by local media and one account had attracted almost 8,000 viewers. "There will be no more special powers given, excepting as is given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers".

Separately, Malaysia and six countries are investigating defeated prime minster Najim over corruption at the state fund 1MDB. Mahathir has also appointed a new attorney-general and replaced officials at the anti-graft agency.

At his first media conference at his home in Bukit Segambut here after being released from prison today, following a full pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Anwar calmly faced the media and even joked when allowing the first question in the press conference to be made by a journalist from a television station which was "unfriendly" to him following his sacking from UMNO and the government. "For this, we will contact the governments of the countries to recover the money there", Mahathir said. However, the relationship between the two remains volatile, and will largely determine what course Malaysia will chart in the coming months.

"When you are incarcerated you realize what is the meaning and significance of freedom", Anwar said.

Speaking about Mr Mahathir's behaviour during his first prime ministership, Ibrahim Suffian, executive director of the Merdeka Center, an independent survey group, said: "Many of his allies suffered during his time as prime minister". Anwar became Mahathir's heir apparent, but they fell out during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was sacked. He was convicted in 2014 on a subsequent sodomy charge and jailed in 2015 when his appeal was denied.

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Images at the time of a goateed, bespectacled Anwar in court with a black eye and bruises brought condemnation of Mahathir from around the world.

Anwar was jailed for sodomy and corruption. "The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, have stood by the principles of democracy and freedom".

"Anwar realizes that for Pakatan Harapan to stay united and strong, he shouldn't interfere or meddle in affairs at the moment", said Ahmad Martadha Mohamed, an associate professor at Universiti Utara Malaysia.

The pardon, which enables Anwar to re-enter politics immediately, was granted on the grounds that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

It's officially one week into the brand new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government after a historic general election, and big changes are happening all around us!

However, ahead of the 2018 general election he joined forces with Mahathir to topple Najib Razak's Barisan Nasional coalition party, which had been in power for nearly six decades. Mr Mahathir also presses ahead with a plan to reinstate energy subsidies.

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