Former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, sees a “new dawn for Malaysia” after his release from prison on Wednesday following royal pardon.
The 70-year-old was jailed for three years for sodomy in 2015 and Anwar’s supporters felt his arrest and jailing by the previous government led by Najib Razak was politically motivated.
Anwar said the political change after the recent elections marks a new dawn for Malaysia. People who believe in democracy and freedom are demanding a change.
Although royal pardon allows him to immediately return to politics, Anwar said he will not be deeply involved in politics for now. Instead, he would support Mahathir’s government as a private citizen.
Anwar said he had forgiven Mahathir who jailed him in 1998 for sodomy and abuse of power. Now Mahathir is his ally and he is responsible for removing the corrupt Nasional (BN) coalition from power.
Anwar and Mahathir were once part of the same coalition which was last headed by Najib who is being investigated by Malaysia and six other countries for corruption at the state fund 1MDB.
Mahathir is planning to run the government for one to two years before handing over the reins to Anwar.
Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is the deputy prime minister.
Anwar heads the People’s Justice Party while Mahathir leads the Malaysian United Indigenous Party. Both parties are part of Pakatan Harapan (Pact of Hope) coalition.