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Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim set to walk free

Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim set to walk free

Mahathir, who is now prime minister for a second stint, had vowed to enable Anwar's release and eventually step aside for him to become the prime minister.

Anwar expressed confidence that he would be able to work with the 92-year-old former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad - his ally turned foe turned ally - who led the opposition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition to victory.

"We accept the transformation that we desired, especially the reformation that we wished to propose", she said to reporters after visiting Anwar at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital here yesterday.

Anwar was due to walk free on June 8, but the fast-tracking of his release - via an expected full royal pardon from Malaysia's King Muhammad V of Kelantan, due Wednesday - will allow him to re-enter politics nearly immediately, rather than waiting the five years required by the constitution.

That conviction is viewed by many in Malaysia as politically motivated, orchestrated by the previous government in a bid to decapitate Anwar's rising opposition movement.

His freedom is expected to ease fears of a growing rift within the newly formed coalition government, after differences erupted between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role in the party.

"Our litmus test has always been supporting the reform agenda", he said.

Anwar made his name as a student activist in various Muslim youth groups in Kuala Lumpur in the late 1960s, as the country reeled from the protracted Communist insurgency of the Malayan Emergency.

Anwar was found guilty and sentenced to jail in 1999, but was released in 2004 after his sodomy verdict was overturned.

She also reiterated the commitment given to her by Dr Mahathir to undo the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the regulate fuel prices.

In 2008, once his ban on political participation was lifted, he was hit with further sodomy charges.

He must first be elected to parliament, having been stripped of his seat in 2015 when his conviction on charges of sodomising a young male aide was upheld on appeal, sending him to jail.

Mr Anwar, always denied the charges and claimed he was a victim of a political conspiracy.