May 24, 2018

In Malaysia world's oldest government leader sworn in

12 May 2018, 11:28 | Marta Robbins

Jailed Malaysian opposition leader to be freed, granted full pardon on Tuesday

In a press conference at Yayasan Al Bukhary here Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah said that she will also push for a media council to allow the press to self-govern

Malaysia's king has agreed to pardon Anwar Ibrahim, the country's newly installed prime minister said yesterday, paving the way for the jailed opposition leader to return to politics and potentially become premier.

Aged 92, Mr Mahthir is now the oldest elected leader in the world.

Taiwan's government on Friday extended congratulations to Malaysia on its successful May 9 election, which resulted in the nation's first shift of power in the more than 60 years since its independence from British rule.

The stunning election outcome was expected to ruffle financial markets that were expecting a comfortable win for Najib and the BN.

Mahathir's opposition alliance, known as Pact of Hope, won 121 seats to claim a simple parliamentary majority. Mr Anwar was arrested, beaten by the then chief of police and jailed for six years on a dubious charge of sodomy.

Mr Najib, 64, said earlier that he and his wife Rosmah Mansor would go on a holiday on Saturday and would return next week. He added that the National Front would "honor the principle of democracy in parliament".

There had been widespread speculation Najib would fly overseas after his shock election defeat this week, amid calls for him to be prosecuted over the sprawling 1MDB corruption scandal. In fact, in his previous stints, he changed the entire economic landscape of his country that also earned him the title "Father of Modern Malaysia". Their relationship has loomed large over the Malaysian political landscape for decades. He said the government could also renegotiate terms of Chinese loans for infrastructure projects.

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That tenacious appetite to secure his rule saw a younger Mahathir turn turn against the judiciary, banish opponents and allies to jail, ban public protest and issue a raft of laws aimed at repressing freedom of speech. He is credited with building a strong and lasting economy.

Both he and Anwar were formerly in power, as part of the BN, as prime minister and deputy respectively.

"(It must be done) to follow the rule of law, not to take revenge.

But Najib, who faces being investigated by the incoming government for alleged corruption, never appeared and the private jet, owned by Indonesian company Premiair, remained on the tarmac at Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur. Others sounded vehicle horns while driving through the streets.

"(Mahathir) has come back to help us regain the country.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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