World

Mahathir says Malaysia will seek to retrieve laundered funds

Mahathir says Malaysia will seek to retrieve laundered funds

He was finally freed following a full and immediate pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V after the Royal Pardons Board meeting.

Mr Anwar was greeted by Dr Mahathir on his arrival at the palace.

"The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, has stood by the principles of democracy and freedom".

Anwar's release caps a remarkable reversal of fortune made possible by the BN's unexpected electoral drubbing a week ago.

Once a high flyer in the ruling party, Anwar was convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998.

The convoy, which picked up vehicles as it sped through the city, carried the 70-year-old Anwar to the king's palace, where he shared a warm handshake with new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad - his former nemesis and current ally - before having an audience with the monarch.

Anwar was a firebrand Islamist student activist before his entry into politics, and had served 20 months in jail in the 1970s after being detained without trial for his activism. As such, he will not be rushing back into politics and will support the new government as a regular citizen instead.

Mahathir said Malaysia will reach out to authorities in Switzerland, the U.S, Singapore and other regions as it seeks to recover funds diverted from 1MDB.

At the time Mahathir had said he needed to remove Anwar because he was "not fit for office" - though Anwar has always maintained that the charge was spurious and that Mahathir felt threatened at his popularity with the masses. Asked about their past feuds, he said "I have forgiven him", adding "why should I harbor malice against him?"

Members of the press gathered outside the Cheras Rehabilitation centre this morning to capture the historic moment as Anwar walked out as a free man at 11.30am today (16th May).

Anwar is prime minister-in-waiting but unlikely to take over quickly from Mahathir Mohamad, who after leading Anwar's alliance in the election campaign has become the world's oldest leader at 92. He was Mahathir's deputy in the 1990s but fell out with his mentor during the Asian financial crisis.

In March 2014, Anwar was sentenced to another five-year jail term for a second sodomy charge.

Meanwhile, Nurul Izzah said she was grateful for the release of her father, who is also the PKR de facto leader, and described that justice was done through the release. "They demand change", he said.

If true, it could be an ominous sign for Najib, who has already been barred from leaving the country and is expected to face prosecution. Wearing a white shirt printed with a photograph of Anwar and the words "March 2 Freedom", he said he nevertheless believed Anwar and Mahathir could work together and that the alliance's prospects were good.


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