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Freed Malaysian icon has much to offer

by
May 16, 2018

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has welcomed the release of Malaysia's opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim.

From prisoner to prime minister-in-waiting - inside and outside of Malaysia there's eager anticipation for the political comeback of opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim.

The 70-year-old was convicted of sodomy in 2015 in a case he claimed was politically motivated and concocted to crush him.

His sentence expires in June but the unexpected election win of his alliance led by former leader Mahathir Mohamad last week has led to his swift release.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian government had followed Anwar's trial closely and had expressed concerns to the previous Malaysian government.

She is relieved the pardon will allow Anwar to participate fully in Malaysian politics.

"Anwar has much to contribute to Malaysia," she said.

Mahathir became the world's oldest elected leader at 92 and previously served as prime minister for 22 years.

He has agreed to hand the baton to Anwar, but no timing has been given, creating uncertainty about how the two will work together.

Anwar walked free from a Kuala Lumpur hospital on Wednesday where he was recovering from shoulder surgery.

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