Malaysia's jailed political leader Anwar Ibrahim to be released on May 15

In a press conference at Yayasan Al Bukhary here Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah said that she will also push for a media council to allow the press to self-govern

In a press conference at Yayasan Al Bukhary here Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah said that she will also push for a media council to allow the press to self-govern

It was a remarkable comeback for Mahathir, who was premier for 22 years until his retirement in 2003 and is now the world's oldest leader at 92.

Two top officials from his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) confirmed to The Straits Times that Anwar will be released once the pardon is issued on Tuesday. He has let it be known that he will assume power... only to hand it over to a "former apprentice" who was jailed after the two fell out and still remains behind bars.

But Mahathir told a press conference that King Sultan Muhammed V, in a meeting with opposition leaders, had agreed to grant Anwar a royal pardon.

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said yesterday that the ruling coalition would petition the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for a full pardon, and he would be released the same day the pardon was granted.

The royal pardon would mean he could return to politics straight away.

Anwar, 70, has been recuperating in Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital after undergoing surgery.

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Ibrahim is serving a second prison sentence for sodomy, which many believe was politically motivated and the result of judicial pressure brought by the country's ousted prime minister, Najib Razak.

Mahathir said he will announced a cabinet on Saturday that would include himself, Wan Azizah and 10 others, including the ministers for finance, foreign affairs, defence and home affairs.

Mahathir said initial policies would focus on fulfilling promises made in alliance's manifesto, including the abolition of a goods and services tax (GST). "We have to do what is permitted by the laws of this country", he said. Najib's premiership has been battered by a massive financial scandal, in which he was accused of overseeing the plunder of billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

"He, in fact, has hidden evidence of wrongdoing, and that is wrong in law".

Malaysian markets were closed and will reopen on Monday, but overseas investors were nervous about Najib's ouster after a decade in office.

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