Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim walks free after royal pardon

Pauline Gross
May 17, 2018

Police arrive at former prime minister Najib Razak's residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 16, 2018.

Harpal said the police took a couple of handbags and some clothes. He said the items were believed to have been taken for the objective of investigation under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, said Bernama.

The pardon, granted by Malaysia's King Muhammad V, was announced last week, a day after Mahathir Mohamad, the 92-year-old political stalwart who was prime minister for more than 20 years until he resigned in 2003, returned to power after a 15-year hiatus. Najib started the fund in 2009 and US investigators say at least $4.5 billion was stolen and laundered by Najib's associates, some of which landed in his bank account.

Najib, who was ousted from office in a shocking loss in the election, was accused by Mahathir of corruption in relation to 1MDB, the state development fund he created in 2009.

Abdul Razak Idris said he would discuss with MACC officials whether he should lodge another report under sections 217 and 218 of the penal code regarding certain public servants protecting a person from punishment or property from forfeiture with MACC or the police.

"Nothing serious. About two-three boxes (of them)", he said.

And Mahathir announced that attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali had been sent on leave after he reported for work on Monday and would be temporarily replaced by the solicitor general, pending the results of a police report and investigation.

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Mahathir said the government would seek to retrieve billions of dollars laundered from 1MDB to repay government debts that have piled up over the years.

"Seeing him walk free makes me emotional, but the fight is not over", said Ridzuan Ismail, an Anwar supporter at the hospital.

Dr Mahathir said the government would also review other government expenditures to reduce its burden.

"The main issue is of corruption, particularly 1MDB as well as the money that was embezzled by the previous government", Mahathir told reporters on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the government was also ready to refund whatever excess taxes collected under GST. "Together we will ensure the smooth transition that Malaysians can be proud of".

One twist in the election came when Mahathir embraced Anwar Ibrahim, his former deputy and later political foe, whom he once jailed on sodomy and corruption charges that critics said were politicallymotivated.

Anwar will have to become a member of parliament - most likely through a by-election - in order to be sworn in as prime minister.

Other reports by GizPress

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