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Mahathir’s Return Adds Pressure to Malaysian Bonds
Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim is a free man just one week after his coalition’s shock election win and after more than three years in jail. Still, while it clears the way for him to return to politics, it’s unlikely he will take over as premier anytime soon.
Anwar walked late morning from a hospital where he’d been receiving treatment, and was pardoned by the king for a sodomy conviction. He met with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad — his partner in the ruling Pakatan Harapan alliance — and Anwar’s party plans a public celebration tonight. His release comes just a day before the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan begins.
There were cheers and shouts of jubilation outside the hospital as a smiling Anwar appeared, flanked by large numbers of police and security officials. Wearing a suit, he touched his heart before waving and getting into a car alongside his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is deputy prime minister and also president of their People’s Justice Party, or PKR.
Speaking at a briefing later outside his house in Kuala Lumpur, Anwar said he had thanked Mahathir, his former bitter enemy, for his help getting released. He was presented with a flower garland from his ethnic Indian supporters in the colors of his party along with a basket of eggs, which one of his backers said symbolized renewal.
“When you are incarcerated you realize what is the meaning and significance of freedom,” Anwar said. “There is a new dawn for Malaysia.”
Anwar said he backed Mahathir as premier and would not insist on any timeframe for a handover of power. Asked about their past feuds, he said “I have forgiven him,” adding “why should I harbor malice against him?”
“My position is to give him all the support necessary to allow him to ensure that the agenda for reform, the changes that need to be done, can be carried out,” he said. “It’s not a one man show. It’s a decision to be made by a team of leaders from Pakatan Harapan, with Dr M who is the chief…