Malaysia's jailed opposition leader Anwar 'to be released in days'

Malaysia's jailed opposition leader Anwar 'to be released in days'

Malaysia's king has agreed to pardon Anwar Ibrahim immediately, the country's newly installed Prime Minister said on Friday, paving the way for the jailed leader to return to politics.

The relationship between Anwar and Mahathir had remained bitter until this year, when in a bid to remove Najib, Mahathir joined the opposition to run as leader in the election.

It was a second spell in prison for Anwar, a former deputy prime minister in the defeated ruling party who was also imprisoned under Mahathir in 1998 following a power struggle.

A full pardon is however required for him to re-enter politics because, as it stands, he is disqualified from being an MP for five years following his release.

"We will go through the proper process of obtaining a pardon for is going to be a full pardon, which of course, means he is not only pardoned but to be released immediately", he told a news conference.

He is due for release on June 8.

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In 2015, Anwar, 70, was jailed for five years for sodomising a former aide, a charge he described as a politically motivated attempt by former Prime Minister Najib Razak to end his career.

Anwar was released from jail in 2004 and became a powerful figure in the opposition, running against Najib in the 2013 election.

Anwar is now in Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, where he is recovering after surgery, according to Malaysian local media. He has said Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be the deputy prime minister in his cabinet.

Mahathir said initial policies would focus on fulfilling promises made in alliance's manifesto, including the abolition of a goods and services tax (GST).

It is unclear how long Mahathir will remain prime minister after Anwar's release.

Malaysian markets were closed and will reopen on Monday, but overseas investors were nervous about Mr Najib's ouster after a decade in office. But he was also credited for transforming his South-east Asian country from a sleepy backwater into a modern industrialised nation.