Malaysia’s Jailed Politician Anwar Ibrahim to Be Released on Tuesday

Kuala Lumpur, MINA — Jailed Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim will be freed Tuesday, his daughter told DPA, which could pave the way for his political comeback after a historic electoral upset this week.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday following a shock election victory, said on Friday that the king had agreed to grant a full pardon for Anwar.

Anwar is currently serving a jail sentence for sodomy and was initially set for release on June 8.

In a press conference on Saturday, Mahathir said the government would “expedite this as soon as possible.”

“As for his role, it will be determined by the party.”

Mahathir – whose opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) earlier this week defeated the Barisan Nasional coalition, which had been in power for more than 60 years – has pledged to step down and set a path for Anwar to eventually become prime minister.

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In the late 1990s, Mahathir, who was previously prime minister from 1981 to 2003, had Anwar, his former deputy prime minister, imprisoned for the first time on bogus sodomy charges.

However, the two agreed to set aside their difficult past in a bid to unseat premier Najib Razak from power in the recent election.

In a brief statement on Saturday, the Immigration Department said ex-premier Najib and his wife were “blacklisted from leaving the country” after speculations that he was planning to flee Malaysia to avoid corruption allegations following his election loss to Mahathir.

Following the department’s decision, Najib tweeted that he would “respect the direction [of the department] and be with the family in the country.”

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Najib had announced on Saturday at the United Malays National Organization (UNMO) premises that he was stepping down as the president of his party and as chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN).

He had written on social media earlier Saturday of plans to take a “short break” to “reset” after the elections, during which he would reconsider his position as president of the UMNO (United Malays National Organization) and chairman of BN.

“It is true I prevented Najib from leaving the country,” Mahathir said in his Saturday press conference.

Mahathir and Najib had a bitter falling-out two years ago over Najib’s alleged involvement in a 4.5-billion-dollar embezzlement and money-laundering scheme at state development fund 1MDB.

Mahathir told the media he has given instructions to the police to look into 1MDB.

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Najib has rejected the accusations and his attorney general has cleared the prime minister of any wrongdoing.

In the press conference, Mahathir also presented his new cabinet, including an advisory council tasked with looking into the allegations against the former administration of Najib.

The new prime minister named Lim Guan Eng, a former chief minister for Penang state, as the new finance minister. Former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin will become home affairs minister and Mohamad Sabu is the new defence minister.

“These people will study a lot of things on what has been happening over the past from 2009 till now,” Mahathir said. “We want to take action as quickly as possible.” (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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