World Bulletin / News Desk
Malaysia's newly elected prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that the country's kind would pardon the jailed opposition figure, Anwar Ibrahim.
"We will go through the proper process of obtaining a pardon for Anwar," Mahathir said in a media conference.
Mahathir was sworn in Thursday, becoming the world's oldest elected leader at 92.
Mahathir, who had ruled with an iron fist for over two decades before retiring in 2003, cut ties with BN due to allegations that the party's leader and his ex-protege Najib Razak oversaw the pillaging of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
The elderly politician joined forces with opposition parties that opposed him while in power and agreed that if elected, he would hand over the premiership to Anwar, his former nemesis.
Mahathir has previously said he would likely remain prime minister for two to three years, before transferring power to Anwar.
Anwar, from the People's Justice Party, is a key long-time leader of the opposition alliance.
One of Malaysia's most charismatic politicians, he was heir-apparent to the premiership until Mahathir sacked him in 1998 and he was subsequently jailed for sodomy and abuse of power.
But in a remarkable turnaround, the pair reconciled and joined forces as allegations mounted over 1MDB and Najib became increasingly authoritarian, jailing opponents and introducing laws to stifle dissent.
Anwar, now 70, was jailed again in 2015 during Najib's rule, and had been due out next month.
But Mahathir told a press conference that King Sultan Muhammad V, in a meeting with opposition leaders, had indicated he was willing to grant Anwar a royal pardon immediately.
The royal pardon would mean he could return to politics straight away. Without it, he would be banned from political life for five years.
"We will begin the... proper process of obtaining a pardon," Mahathir told reporters. "He should be released immediately when he is pardoned."
Who is Anwar Ibrahim?
Anwar first made his name as a student leader of a youth Islamic organization, founding Malaysia's Islamic youth movement, ABIM.
His joining Malaysia's dominant party, United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), in 1982 came as a surprise to many but proved to be a good political move - he enjoyed a quick ascent up the political ladder and held multiple ministerial posts.
In 1993 he became Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's deputy and was widely expected to succeed him, but tensions grew between the two men, particularly over issues like graft and the economy.
In September 1998, Anwar found himself sacked and eventually charged with sodomy and corruption.
The trial which followed led to a six-year jail term for corruption and also sparked huge street protests.
In 2000 he was then found guilty of sodomy with his wife's driver and jailed for a further nine years, to be served concurrently with his other sentence.
In late 2004 Malaysia's Supreme Court overturned the sodomy conviction, freeing him from jail.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Mayıs 2018, 10:42