Mahathir says Malaysia will seek to retrieve laundered funds

Malaysia's Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

Malaysia's Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's longtime opposition leader, walked free from jail on Wednesday, as the country moved towards a new political era following last week's remarkable election victory by prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Anwar, 70, was convicted of sodomy in 2015 in a case he said was aimed at crushing his alliance, which was making gains against Malaysia's long-ruling coalition government.

Wednesday's scenes made it clear that Anwar - who said he had received congratulatory calls from around the world including old friend and former United States vice president Al Gore - had lost little of his star power. He thanked the all people in Malaysia, Malays, Chinese, Indians, the entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, who stood by the principles of democracy and freedom.

Anwar is prime minister-in-waiting but unlikely to take over quickly from Mahathir Mohamad, who after leading Anwar's alliance in the election campaign has become the world's oldest leader at 92.

Mahathir said Anwar, who was jailed on sodomy charges in a conviction criticized as politically motivated, will be freed Wednesday. He added that it's an additional win that Anwar has been released.

"In the initial stages, maybe lasting one or two years, I will be the prime minister and I will run the country", Mahathir told a Wall Street Journal conference via a video link.

Mr Anwar needed the royal pardon to bypass a five-year ban on re-entering politics.

Once Mahathir's protégé, Najib denied any wrongdoing.

"Although the pardon is the sole product of the king it was Mahathir who facilitated the process", said Anwar, in comments to CNN.

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The difference is that this year we have a younger team, a more inexperienced team, so maybe the expectation is not so big. When you create that feeling, anything can happen in football. "For me one of the best today was Moussa Sissoko".

Decision to reject defectors was made to prevent the old regime from influencing the new government, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He was jailed on another flimsy sodomy charge in 2015.

The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland "is very much interested in renewing dialogue with the competent authorities in Malaysia" and "favors an exchange between partnering authorities at their earliest convenience", it said in an email.

"I don't need to serve in the Cabinet for now", he said.

"Anwar bin Ibrahim", said a statement issued by the palace.

Anwar's first trial in 1998 was a dramatic affair, with the man who had only just been dismissed as deputy premier appearing in court with a black eye and bruises, sparking global condemnation of Mahathir. "I have forgiven him, he has proved his mettle".

At one point he was seen in court with a black eye, and prosecutors brought out what they said was a semen-stained mattress as they alleged Mr Ibrahim had enjoyed sex with two male aides.

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.

Asked about the new government's pledge to review large Chinese infrastructure projects, Anwar said like Mahathir, he welcomed Chinese investment but was concerned about the manner in which they were done.

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