Malaysian former deputy PM Anwar to be released on Wednesday

Anwar Ibrahim (center) arrives at a court house in Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has been freed from jail, paving the way for his return to politics.

Smiling and waving to supporters on Wednesday, Anwar, 70, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a auto and driving to the palace for an audience with the king.

On Monday, the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Istana Negara, Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz, said in a statement that the king, Sultan Muhammad V, had consented to all procedures related to the proceedings of the Pardons Board pertaining to Anwar being finalised on Wednesday.

Anwar waved to reporters on Wednesday as he was whisked from a hospital where he was recovering from a shoulder surgery. "Today, I am very happy", she said.

He said he had met Anwar and told him: "You have all tried your luck many times in the general elections but failed".

Mahathir, 92, who put Anwar in jail in 1998, promised to help release his former protege during the campaign.

He is prime minister-in-waiting but unlikely to take over quickly from Mahathir.

His freedom is expected to ease fears of a growing rift within the newly formed coalition government, after differences erupted between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role in the party.

The volatile relationship between Mahathir and Anwar has dominated Malaysia's political landscape for over three decades and is central to the future of the alliance.

Dr Wan Azizah was asked to comment on a foreign media report quoting Council of Eminent Persons chairman Tun Daim Zainuddin that it would be foolish to make Anwar prime minister as soon as he returned to Parliament.

"No. (rush to appoint Anwar as prime minister) because that is one of the things we have already planned", she added.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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