Anwar Ibrahim makes first public speech after 3 years
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim spoke at a political rally for the first time in three years on Wednesday night, some 12 hours after he walked out of a Kuala Lumpur hospital a free man.
Several thousand supporters filled the Padang Timur field in the Petaling Jaya suburb of Selangor which took on a street party atmosphere lined with food trucks, as well as stalls selling his coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) T-shirts and other merchandise, despite the soggy ground due to earlier rain.
The former deputy premier joked with the crowds, saying that he had taken a three-year unpaid holiday, referring to his time in jail, reports Straits Times.
He said that the Malaysian King had told him that he had his records expunged, and that his record was now clean, following a full royal pardon he received on Wednesday, which meant that he can now take part in politics. Datuk Seri Anwar was jailed in February 2015 for a second sodomy conviction.
Anwar said the King had met his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is now Malaysia's deputy prime minister, in the early hours of May 10 following the general election, and asked her if she had wanted to be prime minister. Her Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which Anwar leads, had won the most number of seats.
But she replied that the PH leaders had agreed for Tun Mahathir Mohamad to take on the position. "I give my support to Tun Dr Mahathir. We must give strong support to him and the Cabinet.