KUALA LUMPUR: Jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be given a full pardon and released soon, said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference on Friday (May 11) a day after he was sworn in.
Dr Mahathir said the King of Malaysia has indicated he is willing to pardon Anwar and he should be released immediately.
“It is going to be a full pardon … which means he should be released immediately after he is pardoned,” he said. “After that he will be free to participate fully in politics.”
Dr Mahathir has said before that he will step aside for Anwar once he is pardoned and elected as an MP.
He also said that he will keep the Cabinet small and announced 10 key ministries to be formed, but not the ministers helming them. They will be named on Saturday, he said.
The newly-minted prime minister also spoke on how corruption, a major issue for Malaysians, will be dealt with.
Throughout the election, the anti-corruption agency ignored money changing hands for votes, he alleged.
“In the last two days, for example, there were no speeches made, only money distributed,” he said. “We will properly investigate all these things.”
When there is evidence that someone won his seat through corruption, his seat may be invalidated, he added.
In answer to reporters’ questions, he said that the attorney-general has “undermined his own credibility” and has hidden evidence of wrongdoing.
He had expressed confidence on Thursday that the new government would be able to recover most of the money lost in a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
He also reassured that Malaysia, as a “trading country”, wants to maintain good relations with all nations regardless of their ideologies.”As far as possible, we are going to be neutral and we are going to be friendly with all countries,” he said.
Dr Mahathir held a meeting of top alliance partners on Friday morning as he got down to the business of forming a government that, for the first time in the country’s history, will not be from the Barisan Nasional coalition.
The 92-year-old was sworn into office by Malaysia’s constitutional monarch late on Thursday, becoming the world’s oldest elected leader.
He called a meeting of senior members from all four parties in Pakatan Harapan to gather views on the formation of the Cabinet.
Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan alliance defeated Barisan in a stunning election upset on Wednesday, ousting the coalition that has ruled the nation for six decades since the country’s independence.