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Malaysia's jailed leader-in-waiting has been released from custody

16 May 2018, 07:31 | Taylor George

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an election campaign in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an election campaign in Kuala Lumpur

Supporters began gathering on Thursday at the hospital from where jailed Malaysian reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim is expected to walk free just a week after his alliance scored a shock victory in a general election.

Anwar served as Dr Mahathir's deputy and finance minister before being removed from his post and incarcerated on sodomy and corruption charges, which human rights groups and foreign governments criticised as being politically motivated.

Mahathir and Anwar are a political odd couple who have "hated each other politically" for two decades, James Chin, Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, told CNN ahead of the election last week.

Anwar Ibrahim, a former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, has been released from prison after being granted a pardon by the country's king, according to Anwar's son-in-law Mohamad Khairul.

Mr Anwar, 70, was released from custody at Cheras Rehabilitation Centre in Kuala Lumpur, where he was recovering from a shoulder injury.

Malaysia's king has agreed to pardon him, paving the way for his return to politics.

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When asked whether Anwar should take over as prime minister, Izzah said she believed the country deserved the best prime minister.

The pair fell out spectacularly and Anwar was jailed, during Mahathir's first period of 22 years as prime minister, for a five year period in 1999 on trumped-up sodomy charges.

He must first be elected to parliament, having been stripped of his seat in 2015 when his conviction on charges of sodomising a young male aide was upheld on appeal, sending him to jail.

Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years, "I understand that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia. a new partnership was essential to overcome the deeply entrenched, corrupt system that was presiding over Malaysia".

In an ominous sign for the former prime minister, Najib and his wife Rosmah were slapped with a travel ban by Malaysia's Immigration Department on Saturday, which stopped the couple from leaving for Jakarta. There are no by-elections planned but it is thought Wan Azizah may step aside for Anwar.



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