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

Malaysia's outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at a news conference following the general election in Kuala Lumpur

A day after Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as Malaysia's Prime Minster, the ousted Najib Razak and his wife were barred to leave the country by the Malaysian authorities after Mohamad vowed to reopen the investigation into the multi-billion-dollar graft scandal allegedly involved the former leader.

The Immigration Department, which had initially said there was no travel blacklist for Mr Najib, issued a brief statement that the ex-premier and his wife "have just been blacklisted from leaving the country".

Possible return of Anwar Ibrahim: Mahatir said after his victory over Najib that the country's monarch had agreed to pardon jailed opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim, who has been serving a jail sentence since 2015 on "sodomy" charges that Anwar says were politically motivated.

"This process has certain rules and regulations that we have to adhere to", Mahathir said.

The new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, is no radical political outsider.

Lim was chief minister of the northern Penang state before the latest election.

In a lively news conference peppered with his trademark wisecracks, he flagged significant changes for Malaysia, which he described as being left in a "mess" by Najib and the National Front coalition.

"We need to do investigations on a lot of things", Mahathir said on Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

Former central bank governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and billionaire tycoon Robert Kuok were among those named to a special team of eminent persons that will advise the government on economic and financial matters for the next 100 days.


"Of course we have nothing to do with the former prime minister's schedule", he said.

The attorney general, Apandi Ali, declined to comment. Anwar is in custody on charges of sodomy and corruption and can not take any office until he is pardoned and released. Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah told Reuters her father could be free by Tuesday.

It was not clear when Anwar, who is now in hospital for treatment to his shoulder, would be freed.

Fifteen years after he stepped down as leader, Mahathir is keen to show he's listened to critics and has pledged to serve only as interim prime minister for the Pakatan Harapan alliance until opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's expected pardon and release from prison in June.

Mahathir also said he had replaced the country's attorney general, who had cleared Najib of all wrongdoing in the 1MDB scandal.

Najib also announced that former deputy prime minister and Najib's deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would take over as the new president of the UMNO party, the main component of the Barisan Nasional alliance.

But Najib, who faces being investigated by the incoming government for alleged corruption, never appeared and the private jet, owned by Indonesian company Premiair, remained on the tarmac at Subang airport near Kuala Lumpur.

"I've given instructions to the police to remove the restrictions placed on it by the Official Secrets Act", he said. There was no sign that Najib or Rosmah had come to the airport.

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