KUALA LUMPUR: New Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday that he intends to stay in office for one or two years and that Anwar Ibrahim, the jailed reformist he had vowed would replace him, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile it was also reported that Anwar Ibrahim's was released from jail on Wednesday, on Mahathir arranging a full pardon for him.
However, Mahathir, 92, said he thought that “in a short while” the government could have a case against his predecessor, Najib Razak, who has been dogged by a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
A four-party alliance propelled by Mahathir and Anwar won the general election last week, ousting the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition for the first time in the history of Malaysia. Subsequently, Mahathir was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, making him the world’s oldest democratically elected leader.
In “an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister”, said Mahathir. “I will play a role in the background even when I step down.”
Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy. In the first conviction, following a case charged during Mahathir's regime after Anwar fell out with him, he had served a similar sentence. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated. The royal pardon reverses Anwar’s conviction and makes him eligible to actively participate in politics. He has been in hospital for a few months recovering from a shoulder operation.