Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail

Mahathir Mohamad insisted that he respected the right to freedom of speech but the move is likely to alarm liberals

Anwar himself claimed that Malaysia was on the verge of a new "golden era" in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. "The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, have stood by the principles of democracy and freedom".

But Anwar's wife and deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told reporters later that Anwar was in no hurry to become prime minister.

The corruption-plagued former government of now-disgraced Najib Razak was keenly aware of this, and the latest sodomy charge dogged Anwar through a lengthy trial that culminated in his imprisonment in 2015. A royal pardons board met at 11am to clear his release.

Anwar has cast a long shadow over Malaysian politics for decades. "I can not complain very much", he said. Both times, he and his supporters have said the charges were politically motivated.

Malaysia's reformist icon Anwar Ibrahim.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia was committed to paying any debt linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) if it had been guaranteed by the government.

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To another question that Dr Mahathir has said that EC was purposely delaying the 14th General Election results, he replied: " Even though I had said it, I can't grab hold and throw him to jail.

Anwar can not directly join the government anytime soon.

The pardon will remove a five-year political ban, allowing him to pursue elected office.

"He did good (before) and can do good for the whole of Malaysia", he said.

On the eve of last week's election, Anwar urged supporters to back Mahathir, who had brought him into government in the 1980s.

As this week's historic vote unfolded, Anwar was confined as a prisoner at Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in the country's capital, after suffering a shoulder injury while being transported in a prison van.

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"My answer is simply that we must all firmly resolve to never let our nation sink to the depths it did again and prime minister Mohamad now has a rare second chance to put things right".

But today he was granted a royal pardon by king Muhammad V of Kelantan thanks to the intervention of Prime Minister Mahathir, 92, who was sworn in as the world's oldest leader last Thursday, representing the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM).

Differences have already cropped up between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role. He added that he would make the final decision about cabinet posts.

"I expect him to play the same role as the leaders of the other three parties".

Mr Anwar told jubilant supporters he fully backed his ally and former rival, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.

The opposition alliance united by Anwar brought together unusual bedfellows: an ethnic Chinese pro-democracy party, the conservative Islamic PAS, and Anwar's own racially diverse party.

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The volatile relationship between Anwar and Mahathir, from friends to foes to allies, has dominated Malaysia's political landscape for more than three decades and is central to the future of the alliance.

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