Released Malaysian opposition reformist forgives nemesis-turned-ally Mahathir

Released opposition reformist promises 'new dawn' for Malaysia, as he forgives nemesis-turned-ally Mahathir
2 min read
16 May, 2018
Jailed Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim said he forgives his old nemesis, current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, and welcomed a 'new dawn' for the country.
Released Anwar Ibrahim said he forgives his old nemesis, current prime minister Mahathir [Getty]
Imprisoned Malaysian opposition reformist Anwar Ibrahim hailed a "new dawn" in the country, after he was released pn Wednesday following a shock win for his former rival Mahathir Mohamad.

The charismatic 70-year old returned to the political spotlight after being imprisoned for three years on widely-criticised sodomy conviction, largely believed to be trumped up.

Despite being imprisoned by the-then Prime Minister Mahathir two decades ago, Anwar said he has forgiven the 92-year-old leader, and vowed to support the government's efforts to clean up corruption in the country.

"Now there is a new dawn for Malaysia. I must thank the people of Malaysia," said Anwar.

"The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, have stood by the principles of democracy and freedom. They demand change."

Mahathir Mohamad, a former leader of the Barisan Nasional (BN) party, came out of retirement and went head-to-head against his protege Najib Razak for the position of prime minister.

While many were expecting an easy victory for the Razak's BN coalition - who had held onto power for six decades by controlling the media, government, police and electoral apparatus - Mahathir's surprise return caused what opposition dubbed a "Malay tsunami" and ousted BN from its tight grip on power.

The shock victory only highlighted the depth of disgust and disillusionment the country had with former leader Razak, who stands accused of corruption and plundering the state investment fund 1MDB.

Razak was barred from travelling last week by the immigration department, after he announced plans to have a "short break" following his election loss. 

Since his defeat, there has been speculation that he and his wife might try to flee the country as the new government has vowed to investigate the massive financial scandal.

Anwar's release sets up a tantalising reunion with his nemesis-turned-ally Mahathir.

"I have forgiven him," said Anwar on Mahathir - who had sacked Anwar and had him jailed in 1998.