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Malaysia's Anwar rejoins political fray after release from jail

16 Mai 2018

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed (R) and Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim offer prayers at the Malaysian 1998 Budget report in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, October 17, 1998.

Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon on Wednesday and walked free out of a hospital in Kuala Lumpur where he has been undergoing treatment.

Smiling and waving to supporters on Wednesday, Anwar, 70, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a auto and driving to the palace for an audience with the king.

Anwar was a firebrand Islamist student activist before his entry into politics, and had served 20 months of jail time in the 1970s after being detained without trial for his activism.

Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition last week suffered a shock defeat to an alliance of parties headed by elderly Mahathir Mohamad, ending the corruption-mired regime's six decades in power.

PKR allied with Malaysia's 92-year-old leader Mahathir Mohamad to win a general election last week.

"With Tun Mahathir, I believe we will ensure a smooth transition in future", he said.

The election has upended the political landscape of the multicultural, Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation. Jack Seng, another supporter wearing a shirt with a logo of Anwar behind bars, said he thought Mahathir and Anwar would resolve any tensions between them. Mahathir was credited with modernizing Malaysia during his rule and pledged that the new government would not seek "revenge" against political opponents. Malaysia's markets were shut for three days last week.

"The joy is similar to when South Africans celebrated with jubilation after Nelson Mandela was freed".

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Mr Anwar said the hardest thing about being in jail was its impact on his family. The city-state has cooperated extensively with their Malaysian counterparts on past requests on the matter and is ready to extend further assistance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department said in an email early Wednesday.

"We knew the movement of money in Malaysia, but once it leaves Malaysia, we didn't know where the money went", Mr Lim added.

Anwar can not directly join the government anytime soon.

Following an appeal of the acquittal of those charges he was convicted again and jailed in 2015.

Reporters also kept asking Dr Mahathir about the Government's stance on corruption and whether or not more action will be taken against any heads of ministries and government agencies.

"We think that within a short while, we will have a case against him".

But the two men had a spectacular falling-out that gripped the country.

Anwar was convicted in 2015 on charges of corruption and sodomy that were widely denounced as politically motivated.

Anwar and his supporters have long denied the sodomy allegations, saying they were concocted to crush him and his political allies.

Malaysia's Anwar rejoins political fray after release from jail