Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim freed from jail

PKR political bureau member R. Sivarasa speaks to the media at Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Pic by MOHD KHAIRUL HELMY MOHD DIN

"The Pardons Board is scheduled to sit at 11am tomorrow (Wednesday) and we won't know how long it will take before he is set free", she said to The Star.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's historic change of government paves the way for an extraordinary comeback for jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, who played a key role in helping to secure last week's election victory and has become a prime minister-in-waiting.

Smiling and waving to supporters on Wednesday, Anwar, 70, was surrounded by his family, lawyers and prison guards before getting into a vehicle and driving to the palace for an audience with the king.

Earlier, when met, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said Anwar will be released from the rehabilitation hospital tomorrow upon the pardons board's decision.

Smiling and looking spry in a tailored black suit, Anwar emerged from a Kuala Lumpur hospital where he had undergone surgery for a shoulder problem, giving a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before leaving in a convoy of cars without making any public comment. "Today, I am very happy", she said.

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Anwar joined forces with his old ally-turned-foe-turned ally, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak.

"On our promise to get a pardon for Anwar, it will continue, but the process will be followed", Dr Mahathir said yesterday.

The royal pardon is crucial for the PKR leader who plans to return to politics after his release.

Mahathir is the leader of the ruling alliance and Anwar's PKR won the majority of parliamentary seats in the group. He and his supporters have said the charges are politically motivated. Wearing a white shirt printed with a photograph of Anwar and the words "March 2 Freedom", he said he nevertheless believed Anwar and Mahathir could work together and that the alliance's prospects were good.

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