Monday, 28 May, 2018

Mahathir says he'll stay in office for 1-2 years

Malaysia's Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail Safe-crackers called in to bust open safe at home of Malaysia's former PM
Sammy Stanley | 16 May, 2018, 10:58

Smiling and waving to supporters on Wednesday, Mr Anwar, 70, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a vehicle and driving to the palace for an audience with the king.

After spending six years in jail, Anwar later used his star power to unite the previously hapless opposition before the latest sodomy charges cast him once again into the political wilderness.

Anwar had been scheduled to be released from prison on June 8, but the king agreed to grant him a royal pardon for an early release. "Anwar bin Ibrahim", the palace said in a statement.

Anwar, 70, serving a five-year sentence for sodomy, has been recovering from a shoulder injury in hospital under police guard. Anwar became Mahathir's heir apparent, but they fell out during the 1998 Asian financial crisis and Anwar was sacked.

The volatile relationship between Mahathir and Anwar has dominated Malaysia's political landscape for over three decades and is central to the future of the alliance.

A person described in the USA lawsuits as "Malaysian Official 1" was said to have received more than US$1 billion in 1MDB funds, some of which was used to buy jewellery for the person's wife. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim kisses his wife during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 16, 2018.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says he will be the prime minister for up to two years and then play "a role in the background".

"(In) an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister", Mahathir said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Tokyo via a video link from Malaysia on Tuesday.

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Anwar said the hardest thing about being in jail was its impact on his family. "I have no malice against him". "Now we need to see him become prime minister".

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.

"We are now in the process of getting into the details of the matter he suppressed during his time [as prime minister]".

Mahathir said after winning a parliamentary seat, Anwar could potentially be appointed to the Cabinet.

"The base case is that Mahathir passes the baton to Anwar".

Mahathir also said he will find a replacement for the head of the anti-corruption authority, after the resignation of former one.

Senior officials at scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) withheld information from its board and took some decisions without the board's approval, according to a Malaysian government audit of the fund that was declassified on Tuesday.

Mahathir has replaced the attorney-general and officials at the anti-graft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.

Mahathir has barred Najib from leaving the country pending investigations. Ironically, as Anwar emerges from prison, the prospect of Najib facing prosecution looks increasingly likely.

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