Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Mahathir to continue as Malaysia PM 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
Faye Gross | 16 May, 2018, 12:06

Mahathir, who was Malaysia's prime minister from 1981 to 2003, led his four-party alliance to victory against Barisan Nasional in last week's general election, ousting a coalition that had ruled the Southeast Asian nation for six decades.

Anwar is thought to be "impatient to get back into office", but Mahathir won't step down until he's ready, Meredith Weiss, professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, says, adding that there's "nothing Anwar can do" to hurry along the process.

The pardons board in Malaysia's capital will meet this week to discuss Anwar's release and Mahathir said he would be released the same day.

Shares in AirAsia closed down 2.6 per cent after losing more than 5 per cent on Monday as investors fretted over the company's relationship with a new government following the shock defeat of prime minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition. After that Mr Anwar was jailed on charges of committing sodomy and abusing power.

Anwar Ibrahim's release from prison marks yet another dramatic turn in a roller-coaster political life that has left a profound mark on Malaysian politics and society. While in prison, he was reportedly beaten so bad that his shoulder sustained lasting injuries.

Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy.

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he may remain premier for up to two years and will play a role in the background even after he steps down.

His wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who heads Anwar's party, is now the new deputy prime minister.

To become prime minister, Mr Anwar must win a seat in parliament.

Anwar is in the People's Justice Party, while Mahathir is in the Malaysian United Indigenous Party, but they are part of the same coalition, Pakatan Harapan (meaning "Pact of Hope").

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"It all depends on the investigations being made and whether there is a case against him or not".

His bruising fall was widely seen as politically motivated.

Anwar is seeking a royal pardon on the grounds of "miscarriage of justice", which would reverse his conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

Mahathir and Anwar (a jailed reformist) won the general election last week.

The US Department of Justice has said that more than $4.5bn was misappropriated from the fund. nearly $700 million appeared in Mr Najib's bank accounts before the 2013 election. Mr Najib denied any wrongdoing and was cleared by then Attorney-General Apandi Ali.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir met Auditor-General Madinah Mohamad, who announced the declassification of the report and said its executive summary would be available on her department's website.

In his Tuesday remarks, Mahathir said whether Najib would serve time in jail would depend on the results of a probe into the scandal.

Najib's lawyer told Channel News Asia in January 2016 that Najib denies receiving the 42 million ringgit from SRC into his personal bank account.

Voters turned out en masse to oust Najib, angered at rising living costs, divisive racial politics in the Muslim-majority country and allegations of endemic graft among the country's ruling elite.

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