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Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has been released from prison after receiving a full pardon from the king on Wednesday.
Speaking at a news conference after being freed following the royal pardon, he thanked the Malaysian people for standing by "the principles of democracy and freedom".
"Now there is a new dawn for Malaysia. I must thank the people of Malaysia. Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Iban; the entire spectrum of our Malaysians, regardless of race and religion ...
"They demand change and it is our duty now to ensure that this mandate given to Pakatan Harapan [political alliance] will honour this commitment," the politician added.
Anwar, who was initially scheduled to be released on Tuesday, walked out of the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital, where he was temporary confined after a surgery, and later arrived at the residence of the king, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.
An image published by the Malaysian news agency Bernama showed Anwar, 70, greeting newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his ally-turned-foe-turned-ally.
Another image showed the king welcoming Anwar and his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the deputy prime minister-designate.
Earlier, Mahathir arrived at the royal palace for the royal pardons board meeting to discuss Anwar's release.
The question for Malaysia now is how Anwar will get along with Mahathir and what role he will play in the new government.
Anwar's party, PKR, holds 48 seats of the 113 seats won by the Pakatan Harapan alliance on Wednesday, and he is widely tipped to succeed Mahathir once he steps down from office.
He first rose to prominence as an Islamic student leader
...catching the eye of Mahathir Mohamad
...who dominated Malaysian politics for more than two decades.
Considered a gifted and natural politician
...Anwar rose quickly by heading various ministries
...before he was named Malaysia’s deputy PM.
As Asian economies toppled in the 1998 regional financial crisis
...a bitter rift emerged with Mahathir
...who was infuriated by Anwar's calls for reform
...and an end to corruption and nepotism.
Anwar was soon sacked then charged with corruption and sodomy.
He was imprisoned for 6 years and freed in 2004
...when the sodomy charge was overturned.
He again rose to power as a firebrand opposition leader.
In 2015, he was jailed for 5 years for sodomising a former aide.
He described the charge as a politically motivated attempt
...by former PM Najib Razak to end his career.
Mahathir Mohamad announced on his first day as Malaysia’s PM
...that he’d seek for the release and full pardon of Anwar Ibrahim
...and would hand power over to him within 2 years.
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