Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Malaysia's Mahathir Vows to Investigate Toppled Government

Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post Mahathir to stay up to two years as Malaysia PM
Ellis Copeland | 16 May, 2018, 10:46

Days after taking in the stunning election triumph of Malaysia's long-languishing Pakatan Harapan political pact, the country's 31 million people on Tuesday were steadying themselves for yet another historic moment - the release from jail of the victorious alliance's icon, Anwar Ibrahim.

"The king, with the advice of the pardons board of the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, has allowed a full pardon and given an immediate release for ..."

"The pardon timing is fast, and this speaks to the recognition that his conviction was unjust", said Bridget Welsh, a political science professor at the John Cabot University in Rome. "Anwar bin Ibrahim", the palace said in a statement.

In the 1990s, Mahathir was prime minister, Anwar who worked under him was his deputy and clear heir-apparent.

Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying in the report that his government would follow due process and Najib would be treated fairly.

Reuters was unable to reach Najib himself, his wife, or other family members and close associates on Saturday night.Reuters had seen about 20 police officers entering the marble-floored lobby of the Pavilion Residences apartment block in the Malaysian capital, just as Mahathir was holding a news conference to announce key members of his cabinet.At least a dozen other plainclothes law-enforcement officers were there to help them.

Mahathir, who built much of his campaign by accusing Najib of corruption, vowed to control corruption and cronyism after the election.

Nurul Izzah, Anwar's daughter, said her father's release was a gift ahead of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan which begins on Thursday in Malaysia.

The 92-year-old prime minister in the report said Anwar could be given a seat in the cabinet once he was re-elected to parliament.

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Mahathir was once Najib's mentor but he left the former ruling party over the 1MDB affair and joined the opposition.

Mahathir's four-party coalition won a historic election victory over former leader Najib Razak on May 9.

"It has never been about our father but doing it because it is right", she said when met at the hospital, where Anwar has been undergoing treatment following surgery.

Tensions within the ruling coalition, which are likely given differences between Mr Mahathir and Mr Anwar in the past, would raise doubts about the ability of the administration to deliver.

"Seeing him walk free makes me emotional, but the fight is not over", said Ridzuan Ismail, an Anwar supporter at the hospital. "But Mahathir may be reluctant to hand over to his former nemesis, and if he drags his feet other scenarios could come into play", said Peter Mumford of the Eurasia Group in a research note.

"(In) an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister", Mahathir told a Wall Street Journal conference in Tokyo via a video link from Malaysia.

Mahathir has removed the Najib-era attorney general, treasury chief, and anti-corruption agency chief as he ordered officials to step up investigations.

Swiss prosecutors said Tuesday they wanted to start talks with investigators in Malaysia as soon as possible to better coordinate various criminal probes into the sprawling case.

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