Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim walks free after royal pardon


"The pardons board has already met and the King has granted a full pardon, which means all past convictions have been expunged", lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah said.

Malaysia jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim waves to supporters as he leave a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Wednesday, May 16, 2018.

Once discussions are finalised with the Pardons Board, Anwar will be released from Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, says daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Anwar was due to walk free on June 8, but the fast-tracking of his release - via an expected full royal pardon from Malaysia's King Muhammad V of Kelantan, due Wednesday - will allow him to re-enter politics nearly immediately, rather than waiting the five years required by the constitution.

Following the charge, Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar from Cabinet and it then triggered the formation of PKR and the reformasi movement.

Officials in Anwar's political party said he was headed to an audience with Malaysia's king and was expected to address the public in the afternoon followed by a political rally in the evening.

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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.

Their newfound alliance is a stunning turnaround from the 1990s when - on the orders of Dr Mahathir and his government - Mr Anwar, arrested and jailed on charges of corruption and sodomy. Without the pardon, Anwar would have been banned from politics for five years due to having a criminal record.

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

Dr Mahathir was sworn in as Prime Minister, making him the world's oldest democratically elected leader.

On Friday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V had expressed his willingness to grant an immediate pardon to Anwar. It was the second time he had been convicted of a sodomy offense.

Despite past hostilities between Anwar and Mahathir, the two agreed to work together to oust former Prime Minister Najib Razak.