- Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
- Malaysia’s new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad doesn’t intend to immediately step aside once his foe-turned-colleague Anwar Ibrahim is pardoned.
- Mahathir expects Anwar to be pardoned on Wednesday, but said his former enemy will not yet become prime minister and instead will serve in the parliament.
- Former prime minister Najib Razak is being investigated for crimes related to a multi-billion-dollar scandal, and Mahathir expects to charge him shortly.
Malaysia’s new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said he will lead the country for “one or two years” and expects his government to lay charges against his predecessor Najib Razak.
In a country that has never seen a change of power in its history, 92-year-old Mahathir led the opposition alliances to their first victory in 60 years last week.
Anwar, the opposition’s de facto leader who is currently in jail for a sodomy conviction considered to be politically-charged, agreed to work with his former enemy Mahathir. Mahathir fired Anwar in the late 90s and oversaw his first jail conviction.
Mahathir had said he would stand aside for Anwar and told a Wall Street Journal conference on Tuesday via video that he would remain in office for now.
“For the time being, I will run the country,” Mahathir said, adding that he will lead for “one or two years.”
Anwar, Mahathir said, “maybe [will] have a seat in the cabinet” after he is voted into office and have a similar role to other heads of individual opposition parties within the alliance.
Mahathir also said that Anwar will be released from jail on Wednesday after the pardons board meets at 11 a.m.
The new prime minister also fired a warning shot at his predecesor Najib, saying there would be “no deal” over an investigation into Najib’s role in a multi-billion-dollar scandal linked to the state investment fund 1MDB.
“We think that within a short while we will have a case against him,” Mahathir said. “We will be able to charge him.”
Najib is suspected of wrongdoing over $1 billion that went missing from 1MDB, $700 million of which was found in Najib’s personal bank accounts.
The former prime minister has been blacklisted from leaving the country and on Monday Mahathir announced he would replace the attorney-general who cleared Najib in the 1MDB scandal in 2016 after a royal Saudi family member said the money was a personal donation to Najib.