Anwar set to be released tomorrow

Anwar Ibrahim speaks to the media in Kuala Lumpur

Anwar Ibrahim speaks to the media in Kuala Lumpur Thomson Reuters

The process of releasing Datuk Seri Anwar will be carried out at the Rehabilitation Hospital in Cheras here without requiring the de facto leader of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) to be taken back to the Sungai Buloh Prison, the Bernama news agency reported.

"The pardons board has already met and the king has granted a full pardon, which means all past convictions have been expunged", said Sivarasa Rasiah, Anwar's lawyer.

However, Dr Mahathir, who now leads the coalition and was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, has said it may take up to two years for him to hand over the reins as he wants to stick around to fix the problems he sees plaguing the nation.

Supporters gathered on Thursday at the hospital from where Anwar walked free just a week after his alliance scored a shock victory in a general election.

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Mr Anwar, 70, is serving a second five-year jail term for sodomy.

A royal pardon would reverse Mr Anwar's conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.

"I will continue to ensure that the current prime minister (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) fulfils the promises for reforms he has made and we will ensure there are proper checks and balances".

Anwar served as Dr Mahathir's deputy and finance minister before being removed from his post and incarcerated on sodomy and corruption charges, which human rights groups and foreign governments criticised as being politically motivated.

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Until his early release, he had been scheduled to be freed in early June.

PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the new administration under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would strive to ensure the smooth running of the country.

Once discussions are finalised with the Pardons Board, Anwar will be released from Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, says daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar.

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