Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim released after royal pardon

Wednesday, 16 May, 2018

Anwar Ibrahim (center) arrives at a court house in Kuala Lumpur.

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will be released from the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital upon the finalisation of a full pardon granted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong tomorrow, said the party's vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Anwar, who was the deputy prime minister during Mahathir's premiership in the 1990s, is now in a hospital in Cheras, waiting for the Pardons Board meeting, scheduled for Wednesday morning, said Bernama. "Today, I am very happy", she said.

"It's truly a blessing with the release of Anwar, we can celebrate Ramadan with him", she said.

Mahathir, 92, who put Anwar in jail in 1998, promised to help release his former protege during the campaign.

However, Dr Mahathir, who now leads the coalition and was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, has said it may take up to two years for him to hand over the reins as he wants to stick around to fix the problems he sees plaguing the nation.

Anwar, 70, has been recovering from a shoulder injury in the hospital under police guard.

A royal pardons board is set to meet at 11 a.m. (0300 GMT) to clear his release.

A royal pardon would reverse Mr Anwar's conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

His freedom is expected to ease fears of a growing rift within the newly formed coalition government, after differences erupted between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role in the party.

Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir - a gamble that paid off when the alliance won the May 9 polls and ended the National Front's 60-year grip on power.

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