Malaysia's ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim released after getting full pardon

Anwar now 70 was granted a royal pardon over a sodomy conviction that saw him jailed for the past three years

Malaysia's former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been released from custody and pardoned. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is to become deputy prime minister.

The move paves the way for a political comeback for the reformist icon and it follows a stunning election victory for the opposition alliance he backed.

"I don't need to serve in the Cabinet for now", he said.

Anwar, 70, was convicted of sodomy in 2015 in a case that he said was aimed at crushing his alliance, which was making gains against Malaysia's long-ruling coalition government.

Surrounded by media and supporters, Anwar walked out of a hospital Wednesday where he was recovering from surgery.

As he left the hospital, Anwar waved at the large crowd of journalists and supporters gathered outside the facility but did not say anything to them.

He added: "It's exhilarating to see him released, this was clearly a miscarriage of justice".

During the campaign, Mahathir promised to stand aside for Anwar once he had been pardoned, but the veteran leader is now talking of running the country "for one or two years" to fix its financial problems.

Despite that, Anwar remained as PKR's de facto leader and had played a role from behind bars.

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Najib has been virtually under house arrest since he lost the election last week; police have cordoned off access to his road, and the former prime minister and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been placed on an immigration blacklist to prevent them from fleeing the country.

Mahathir, 92, has said there is sufficient evidence to investigate a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), which was founded by Najib.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and later jailed for corruption and sodomy under then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Events took a remarkable turn earlier this year, when Mr Mahathir announced he would join forces with the opposition and run for top office once again.

Striking a note of caution, he reminded his fellow citizens of the deep, entrenched and systemic corruption that has infected Malaysia during the 61-year rule of recently ousted Barisan Nasional.

Anwar's three-year imprisonment ended Wednesday after he was granted a royal pardon.

Mr Mahathir kept the heat on his predecessor, Mr Najib, by releasing the summary of a critical audit report into 1MDB, the fund set up by Mr Najib.

The partnership between Mahathir and Anwar was plotted past year, when a new leadership structure for the then opposition was announced, with Anwar its de facto leader and Mahathir named the four-party coalition's chairman. "Alhamdulillah his health is getting better and (we are) waiting for his release to celebrate the Ramadan with family members and perform the "tarawikh" prayers".

"The hope is that Anwar and Mahathir will find a way to work together, especially during this period of transition", said Rashaad Ali, research analyst with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

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