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Anwar rejoins political fray after release from jail

Anwar rejoins political fray after release from jail

Malaysia's historic change of government paves the way for an extraordinary comeback for jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, who played a key role in helping to secure last week's election victory and has become a prime minister-in-waiting.

He maintains his innocence, and says on both occasions Mahathir and Najib turned to trumping up charges against him to keep him out of politics.

Smiling and looking spry in a dark suit and tie, the 70-year-old gave a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before being whisked away by vehicle for an audience with the country's king.

Anwar was sent to prison in 1999 and released in 2004.

While there were no massive surprises in the summary of the Auditor General's report, and it did not mention former premier Najib Razak by name, the audit said 1MDB officers took investment actions against or without full knowledge of the board of directors on several occasions, while giving inaccurate or conflicting information to stakeholders.

Both police officers said investigators were not primarily interested in the luxury items but were chasing documents that could be vital for investigations into Najib's administration.Kuala Lumpur's police chief and an official police spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.Najib said earlier on Saturday that he was going overseas for a week to rest, but just minutes later the Department of Immigration announced that he and his wife had been barred from leaving the country.

His release is likely to add to public feelings of excitement about a new era in the country following the stunning election result. Malaysia's markets were shut for three days last week.

"The joy is similar to when South Africans celebrated with jubilation after Nelson Mandela was freed".

Once discussions are finalised with the Pardons Board, Anwar will be released from Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, says daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar. The city-state has cooperated extensively with their Malaysian counterparts on past requests on the matter and is ready to extend further assistance, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department said in an email early Wednesday.

"We do not consider coming into Malaysia, buying up huge pieces of land and developing towns and cities and then bringing in foreigners into this country as FDI. Najib wasted a lot of Malaysia's money".

The pardon allows Anwar to re-enter active politics immediately, but it was not clear what his role in government would be.

That conviction is viewed by many as having been orchestrated by Najib's government to neutralise Anwar's rising political threat.

Mahathir expects Anwar to be pardoned on Wednesday, but said his former enemy will not yet become prime minister and instead will serve in the parliament.

The charismatic Anwar was a rising political star in the 1990s under Mahathir, heading various ministries and earning praise overseas as a reformer. Mahathir said he can't suspend Apandi until he is investigated.

He said Tuesday that he will run the country for "one to two years" to fix Malaysia's financial problems, creating uncertainty about how the two will work together in the interim. Mahathir fired Anwar in the late 90s and oversaw his first jail conviction.