Anwar Ibrahim today thanked his one-time mentor Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his support, saying he has no malice towards anyone including former prime minister Najib Razak following the shock election results last week which pushed Pakatan Harapan to power.
“I have no malice towards Najib or any others,” he said in his first press conference since his release this morning.
Earlier, he walked out a free man at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, and shortly after was granted an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara.
Anwar said his royal pardon was unconditional, adding that he was grateful to be summoned by the king after his release this morning.
He said he was pardoned not because he had committed a crime.
“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.
“The king has accepted this, that the pardon is complete and unconditional. The entire conviction is erased automatically,” he said.
Anwar today again defended his decision to work with Mahathir, and expressed confidence that the prime minister will be committed to Pakatan Harapan’s policies.
“With Tun Mahathir, I believe we will ensure a smooth transition in future,” he said.
“I’ll be taking time off to give a series of talks in Harvard, Georgetown and a few Muslim countries,” said Anwar.
Anwar said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail should continue with their administration.
“I’ve given my assurance to Mahathir and Azizah that I’m here as a concerned citizen, with complete support for them manage the affairs of the country,” he said.
He added that this was on the understanding they were “committed with the reform agenda, beginning with the judiciary, media and the entire apparatus”.
Anwar also said that as premier, Dr Mahathir had the prerogative to form the Cabinet, but added that the Prime Minister had given him assurance that he would consult party leaders before deciding on its composition.
“My wife is the deputy prime minister, she will have no time for me,” he quipped.
Anwar described his journey “from prison to the palace” as something made possible due to the support of the people.
He said he treasured his freedom, saying there were lessons one can learn from prison life.
“It is the value of freedom. No one must be allowed to undergo the same travesty. It is our duty, particularly in Pakatan Harapan, to end this,” he said.
In 2015, Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail after the Federal Court upheld his guilty verdict for sodomy.
Anwar was initially scheduled to be released on June 8, 2018 after his five-year sentence that started on Feb 10, 2015 had been reduced for good behaviour.
His release came a week after Pakatan Harapan defeated Barisan Nasional at the polls on May 9.
Anwar Ibrahim has arrived at his home, shortly after he was granted an audience with the Agong at the Istana Negara, following his release and pardon today.
Hundreds of supporters and reporters were gathered in his Bukit Segambut residence to greet him.