Malaysia: date set for release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

Malaysia: date set for release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

Channel NewsAsia cited Nurul Izzah, Ibrahim's daughter, as saying on Saturday that the paperwork for her father's release was under way. A full pardon by the king would mean Anwar can return to active politics. Nearly incredible must be the swingback in Malaysian politics, verily an electoral quake.

Mahathir, who at 92 is the world's oldest leader, ran for election on the agreement that, if the opposition won he would secure a royal pardon for Anwar and then step aside to let him take over as prime minister.

Anwar is now in Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where he is recovering after surgery, according to Malaysian local media.

Anwar, 70, is being held at the facility after a shoulder surgery last November. He was due to be released on June 8 after serving a five-year jail term following a sodomy conviction.

The southeast Asian nation's political landscape has been shaped for almost two decades by a feud between Anwar and Mahathir, whose decision to sack Anwar as his deputy sparked an opposition movement, Reformasi, or Reform, in 1998. Anwar and Mahathir joined forces in an unlikely alliance that helped the opposition nailed the electoral victory.

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Mahathir's sacking of Anwar in 1998 is viewed by many observers as a prime example of the authoritarianism prevalent during his era.

Malaysiakini added that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be visiting Anwar soon at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where he is recovering from an operation.

Mahathir refutes this, claiming he was acting on police advice.

Mahathir's deputy in the new government is Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Anwar's wife and the leader of his People's Justice Party.

She said: "He followed the event of the prime minister being sworn in and the victory. even though he was a spectator this time not within the ring, so to speak, but he has contributed". He is now making good on the promise making Anwar's release among his first priorities as prime minister.

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