Mahathir to continue as Malaysia PM for 1-2 years

In comments to a business conference on Tuesday, Mahathir confirmed the jailed leader will be released on Wednesday but said "I don't know what time".

Anwar was imprisoned again in 2015, when Najib was prime minister, after another sodomy charge, which he described as a politically motivated attempt to end his career.

The country's constitutional king Muhammad V last week agreed to grant Anwar a full pardon after a request from Pakatan Harapan leaders.

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.

The alliance between Mahathir - who has been prime minister before - and Anwar came after years of feud as the latter was first jailed after Mahathir dismissed him as deputy prime minister in 1998.

The ruling alliance wasted no time in preparing a hero's welcome for their icon.

On Tuesday, 92-year-old Mahathir wrote off the prospect of immediately handing over power to Anwar, as hoped by some among Anwar's large urban support base.

Mahathir also said he may bring a case against former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of corruption.

He added: "I will play a role in the background even when I step down".

Mahathir appointed three ministers at the weekend despite previously having said he would name 10 cabinet members.

Fernandes said he had been under "tremendous" pressure from the then-government to sack popular former trade minister Rafidah Aziz, who is on the board of AirAsia's long-haul budget arm AirAsia X, because she was campaigning for the opposition.

Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir - a gamble that paid off when the alliance won May 9 polls and ended the National Front's 60-year grip on power.

Mahathir said it would be hard to achieve consensus and any decisions will be based on the voice of the majority. Pakatan Harapan's predecessor, Pakatan Rakyat, dealt heavy blows to Barisan Nasional in the 2008 and 2013 elections. Tun Dr Mahathir has barred Mr Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and replaced Tan Sri Apandi.

On the eve of last week's election, Anwar penned a note to supporters urging them to back Mahathir, who had brought him into government in the 1980s. "I urge you all to join the people's movement to demand for change".

After barring Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor from leaving the country on Saturday, the leader said criminal charges may be imminent. "If there is no case against him, we don't go for detention without trial". "We will be able to charge him".

His new attorney general, Mohamed Apandi Ali, cleared Najib of any wrongdoing in 2016, saying the money was a donation from the Saudi royal family and that most of it had been returned.

Malaysiakini news website noted the declassified report lacks details due to the fund's refusal to provide complete documentation, but for key parts which were investigated, the information corroborates with that of the US Department of Justice.

Fernandes said he came under pressure from Najib's government before the May 9 vote, causing him to issue a video enthusiastically crediting its policies for the success of the homegrown low-priced carrier.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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