Malaysian former deputy PM Anwar to be released on Wednesday

Anwar Ibrahim speaks to the media in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia's jailed reformist Anwar Ibrahim will likely be freed by noon on Wednesday (May 16) after the Pardons Board in Kuala Lumpur meet on the same day to discuss his release.

On Monday, the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Istana Negara, Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz, said in a statement that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V, had consented to all procedures related to the proceedings of the Pardons Board pertaining to Anwar being finalised yesterday. "Today, I am very happy", she said.

Saifuddin Nasution, a party leader in the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, told reporters that Anwar is also expected to attend a gathering with his supporters after his release.

Anwar joined forces with his old ally-turned-foe-turned ally, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak.

A royal pardon would reverse Mr Anwar's conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

Smiling and looking spry in a tailored black suit, Anwar emerged from a Kuala Lumpur hospital where he had undergone surgery for a shoulder problem, giving a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before leaving in a convoy of cars without making any public comment.


"You will have to give time to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and for the cabinet to be formed and the government to be working and running well".

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

Mr Mahathir has promised to step aside for Mr Anwar to become prime minister within two years.

Until his early release, he had been scheduled to be freed in early June.

Anwar served as Dr Mahathir's deputy and finance minister before being removed from his post and incarcerated on sodomy and corruption charges, which human rights groups and foreign governments criticised as being politically motivated.

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