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Malaysia's ex-PM Najib barred from leaving

12 Mai 2018

A senior member of defeated Malaysian leader Najib Razak's party called today for "big changes" after their coalition suffered a shock election defeat to an alliance led by former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

"We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country", Mahathir said.

In a late-night briefing on Thursday, the 92-year-old politician said he'd focus on growing the economy and reducing debt, adding that some terms may need to be renegotiated.

Mr. Najib's coalition won just 79 of Parliament's 222 seats on May 9, a collapse from the 133 seats it won in the 2013 election, when the BN lost the popular vote which was its worst-ever poll performance at the time.

His decisive and historic win has ousted the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has been in power since independence in 1957.

Anwar remains imprisoned since the 2015 sodomy trial - the second time he'd been jailed for the offense.

Najib is accused of presiding over the looting of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB and has responded with strident denials - and increasing repression.

But Najib, who faces being investigated by the incoming government for alleged corruption, never appeared and the private jet, owned by Indonesian company Premiair, remained on the tarmac at Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur.

Mahathir's comments appeared created to counter worries among investors who had bet that former leader Najib Razak would stay in power.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) speaking at a press conference after a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting on May 11, 2018. A domestic investigation cleared him and concluded the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family, and he has denied any wrongdoing.

The US Justice Department says $4.5 billion was looted from 1MBD by associates of Najib between 2009 and 2014.

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's king has agreed to pardon Anwar Ibrahim immediately, the country's newly installed prime minister said on Friday, paving the way for the jailed leader to return to politics and potentially become premier.

Mahathir said on Friday: "It is going to be a full pardon, which means not only pardoned, but he is released immediately and after that he will be free to participate fully in politics".

She said the United States-Malaysia relationship is rooted in longstanding and strong people-to-people ties, shared democratic values and commercial relations.

In his speech, Najib, 64, said he accepted the "verdict of the people".

"You can be reassured that we will go after 1MDB", the lawmaker said.

Mahathir said the new government would abolish "oppressive and unfair" laws and study the new anti-Fake News law and the national security council act.

Malaysia's ex-PM Najib barred from leaving