Malaysia's Mahathir says he will remain leader for 1-2 years

During the campaign, Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years in a previous stint from 1981, had promised to step aside and make Anwar prime minister once he was pardoned. Once a high flyer in the ruling party, Anwar was convicted of homosexual sodomy and corruption after a power struggle with Mahathir in 1998.

"The king has accepted this, that the pardon is complete and unconditional".

The Prison Pardons Board is expected to convene at 11am on Wednesday, with Anwar's release expected soon after. "There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir 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.

Differences have already appeared between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role.

However, she's demonstrated she has a great deal of public support so another legislator might have to step down to allow Anwar to run, she added.

He emerged from Cheras rehabilitation hospital here where he was serving his sentence after an operation on his shoulder.

Anwar is expected to meet supporters at a rally later Wednesday.

"With Tun Mahathir, I believe we will ensure a smooth transition in future", he said.

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Upon his release in 2004, Anwar galvanised the "Reformasi" movement against Barisan Nasional that he started before going to jail. "It is our duty, particularly in Pakatan Harapan, to end this", he said.

But Anwar's wife and deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told reporters later that Anwar was in no hurry to become prime minister.

Later in his political life, he preached moderate Islam and democratisation.

The Wall Street Journal cited what it called audio remarks from Anwar as saying Mahathir should be given time to achieve his objectives.

Mahathir, in his remarks on Tuesday, signalled he was moving fast to effect that change.

"In my case, we appealed (for pardon) because there was a miscarriage, travesty of justice, a conspiracy to condemn me and assassinate my political character. We will be able to charge him". Najib has denied any wrongdoing and was cleared by the attorney general at the time, while the fund has consistently denied any misconduct. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated.

Asked if Abdul Gani showed any documents, Dr Mahathir said he did not ask for any documents to be presented and the talks were merely verbal.

Mahathir has replaced the attorney-general and officials at the anti-graft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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