Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir might stay up to two years in post

16 May, 2018, 14:07 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Like Suu Kyi, Anwar faces difficulties in power

Jailed Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon on Wednesday and walked out of a hospital in Kuala Lumpur just a week after his alliance scored a shock victory in a general election. Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, making him the world's oldest democratically elected leader.

In "an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister", Mahathir said.

He added: "I will play a role in the background even when I step down". The royal palace said in a statement that the monarch had given Anwar a full pardon following advice from the Pardons Board.

Anwar, now 70, was granted a royal pardon over a sodomy conviction that saw him jailed for the past three years.

Analysts said the win by the opposition was a resounding rejection of the political status quo.

Dr Mahathir had said a 10-person cabinet would be set up first, followed by more ministries and deputy ministers.

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

She says that Anwar's recent hospitalization might "encourage him to slow down a bit", but he is known to be eager to get back into the fray.

Reuters could not verify the report.

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Mahathir and Anwar are a political odd couple who have "hated each other politically" for two decades, James Chin, Director of the Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania, told CNN ahead of the election last week.

But in 1998, they disagreed on how to tackle the Asian financial crisis and fell out. He and his supporters say the charge was politically motivated.

There are no plans to hold a by-election in the near future for PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to become a member of parliament before he is made a minister, said PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

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

Low, a friend of Najib's stepson Riza Aziz, had no official role at 1MDB but US investigators say he had considerable influence over its dealings and was often in contact with Najib.

Mahathir, who earlier slammed Apandi's credibility, said the solicitor general will take over Apandi's job while he goes on leave.

The scandal is being investigated in at least six countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

Billions of dollars are believed to have been siphoned off from the fund, with most reportedly disappearing overseas, while $681 million also mysteriously appeared in Najib's personal bank accounts in 2013.

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

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