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23 May 2018 11:04
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  •   Home > News > Politics

    Anwar Ibrahim confident Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad will hand over top job

    Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he is confident Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad will keep his promise of handing over the top job in coming years.

    Former Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he is confident Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad will keep his promise of handing over the top job in coming years.

    Mr Anwar, Dr Mahathir's ally-turned-foe-turned-ally, was released from prison and received a full pardon from the King on Wednesday.

    While he forgave both Dr Mahathir and former prime minister Najib Razak for putting him in jail, he told the ABC being away from his family was "sickening".

    "Oh my God. It's certainly tough to see your children grow up without their father, and then now start having grandchildren without their grandpa," he said.

    "This is sickening to my mind, it should not have happened, it should not have happened to anyone."

    Mr Anwar said he welcomed his release and that his walk into freedom was "indescribable".

    "You only have to experience incarceration and insult to realise the importance and significance of freedom," he said.

    "We've been fighting to ensure that there's democratic transition, democratic accountability in this country, and this country must mature as a democracy."

    Mr Anwar is set to replace Dr Mahathir as Prime Minister under a deal arranged before the election.

    No date has been set for the transfer of leadership, but it is widely expected to take at least a year.

    Mr Anwar said he had no doubt about Dr Mahathir's sincerity and that he trusted him.

    "You've seen [Dr Mahathir's] pronouncements and … more important is that he's seen to be adopting the reform agenda; talking about judicial reform, taking action against excesses and corrupt officials," he said.

    "I think people would recognise that this is a new Mahathir, rejuvenated, and at his age, 92, is keen to do it fast, and I think we should give him that recognition."

    Dr Mahathir came out of retirement and teamed up with the opposition and Mr Anwar in a bid to oust Mr Razak, tainted by a corruption scandal.

    The former leader of the party he defeated, Barisan Nasional, became the world's oldest leader after a shock election win.

    Mr Anwar said he believed it was a combination of factors that led to Pakatan Harapan's victory.

    He pointed to the country's economy and GST as key issues and said people finally decided "enough was enough".

    "1MBD became a very strong issue because it affected and compromised the key institutions of governance; the judiciary, the anti-corruption agency, the enforcement authorities, so that became a compelling story for us," he said.

    "The more compelling case is the economic hardships faced by the people and there's of course this gap between the impressive pronouncements about economic growth and registering phenomenal increase in investments and the ... realities of huge inequality."

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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