Malaysia's Anwar plots political return

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim will contest a by-election that is expected to pave the way for his return to active politics, officials said today.

Lawmaker Danyal Balagopal Abdullah said he has resigned as a member of parliament in Port Dickson, a southern coastal town, to make way for Anwar's comeback. The Election Commission must set a date for the by-election within two months.

Anwar, 70, is the anointed successor to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The two had a power struggle 20 years ago that led to Anwar's sacking and imprisonment. Anwar was convicted again in 2015 on the same charge of sodomy but joined hands with Mahathir to win national elections in May that ushered in the first transition of power since independence from Britain in 1957.

He was freed from prison and pardoned by the king after the elections.

Domestic Trade Minister Saifuddin Nasution, who is a senior official in Anwar's party, said there is no timeframe for Anwar to take over the top job and that Anwar has reiterated that he will give his full support to Mahathir.

"He has stated clearly that if he wins as a member of Parliament, he will focus on parliamentary reforms. He will not hold any government positions,'' Saifuddin told a news conference.

Anwar has previously said he was not in a rush to take over as prime minister and that he will not interfere with Mahathir's governance.-AP