On the eve of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s release, he says he never lost hope. Anwar told reporters in an exclusive interview with Australia’s Fairfax Media,
“I always believed in the wisdom of the people and that if we fought hard enough we would eventually prevail.
“At a time when democracy is in retreat around the world, I hope that the people of Malaysia have given some hope to people around the world clamoring for their own freedom.”
The politician was imprisoned for five years in 2015 for sodomizing a former aide, a charge which Anwar described was a politically motivated move by former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Anwar commented on him teaming up with newly elected Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir,
“A new partnership was essential to overcome the deeply entrenched, corrupt system that was presiding over Malaysia.”
He added that the 92-year-old leader “cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia.”
“Our litmus test has always been supporting the reform agenda. So long as there is sincere commitment to these principles, we have always welcomed new supporters. The animosity which preoccupies some observers is not an issue for me.”
Despite the difficulties he faced in prison, Anwar said,
“As the days and weeks wore on I never lost hope. Even from within the prison cell, I sensed the outrage against a corrupt regime was increasing by the day.”
He was granted a full pardon by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V and has been released today, May 16. Clad in a black suit, Anwar walked out a free man from the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital where he was recovering for the past few months from a shoulder surgery.
According to The Star, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that Anwar would have to contest for a parliamentary seat and could then possibly join the Cabinet. He added that he would continue to serve as Prime Minister for ‘maybe one or two years’ before stepping aside to make way for Anwar.
Tun Dr. Mahathir will still continue to play a role ‘in the background’ after stepping down.
As a welcome for Anwar’s release, there will be an event held tonight where he will give a brief talk to supporters at Padang Timur Amcorp Mall Petaling Jaya.
Here is tonight’s itinerary in case you’re interested in attending the talk.