The new prime minister also pledges to recover billions of dollars lost in the 1MDB corruption scandal
The Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has said the country’s monarch is willing to grant a full pardon to the jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim.
Speaking at a news conference in Petaling Jaya, Mahathir also said he would announce a 10-member cabinet on Saturday, including ministers for finance, defence and home affairs.
“The (king) has indicated he is willing to pardon Anwar immediately,” Mahathir said.
It came a day after the 92-year-old was sworn in after a shock win that toppled the country’s long-ruling coalition.
“We will begin the … proper process of obtaining a pardon. This means a full pardon. He should be released immediately when he is pardoned.”
Anwar and Mahathir, former allies and then implacable foes, joined forces to contest this week’s election and oust the administration of Najib Razak. Anwar is in custody on charges of sodomy and corruption and cannot take any office until he is pardoned and released.
Mahathir has said he will step aside and hand over the prime minister’s post to Anwar once he is pardoned.
After a meeting with Mahathir used his first news conference after being sworn in to reassure the financial community and said he would prioritise stabilising the economy and return billions of dollars lost in a corruption scandal at the state sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The scandal became a major factor in the election and in the defeat of Najib Razak, Mahathir’s predecessor and former protege.