Malaysia's Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar

Malaysia's Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar

Malaysia's Mahathir says king willing to grant full pardon for Anwar

Mahathir's opposition alliance scored a shock win at the polls to break the grip on power of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has governed Malaysia uninterrupted since its birth as an independent country in 1957. "I will ensure that the interests of all Malaysians are protected", Lim, 57, said at a news conference.

In a series of earlier messages Saturday, Mr. Najib said he apologized "for any shortcomings and mistakes", but did not address the scandal at the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, known as 1MDB, directly in his Twitter post on Saturday.

When asked why only three out of 10 positions were announced, Mahathir said: "We can't say abracadabra and everything happens, it takes time", adding that several factors such as their qualifications, experience and views of the four parties in the coalition need to be taken into consideration.

Mr Najib has been accused of diverting $700m (£517m) from a state investment fund in 2015, but has since been cleared by the authorities. It's yet to be seen if in his new avatar as PM, the once formidable strongman can give his people more democratic freedoms, and eschew authoritarian tendencies, while expanding economic modernisation that he had brought about in his earlier stint as PM (1981-2003).

Mahathir, previously prime minister for 22 years, was once Najib's mentor but turned against him over a graft scandal and led the opposition challenge to him in this week's election, defeating the coalition that had ruled Malaysia for six decades. He subsequently joined the opposition and handed his former camp an astonishing election defeat.

A leaked flight manifesto showed that he and his wife were due to leave for Indonesia on Saturday.

The announcement followed strong calls from the party for the 64-year-old Najib to step down over the disastrous loss in Wednesday's elections.

"As the president of UMNO and the chairman of Barisan Nasional, I made the decision that I am stepping down as president of UMNO and chairman of Barisan Nasional with immediate effect", Najib told a press conference at the UMNO headquarter in Kuala Lumpur.

"Of course we have nothing to do with the former prime minister's schedule", he said. Mahathir has pledged a full independent investigation into the billions of embezzled funds and many believe this will implicate Najib.

He is alleged to have received about 700 million dollars through his personal bank account from a Malaysian state fund 3 years ago.

Mahathir had promised, if elected, to free Anwar and eventually hand power over to him.

Anwar was a senior figure in government and Mahathir's heir-apparent until the pair dramatically fell out. Charged with corruption and sodomy, Ibrahim is to be released from imprisonment on May 15, confirmed his daughter Nurul Izzah on Saturday.

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