Sep 14, 2018 11:58 UTC
  • Malaysia’s ex-deputy PM Anwar plans to return as legislator

Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said on Friday that it was time for him to return as a lawmaker, but reiterated his full support for the government led by his former foe-turned-ally Mahathir Mohamad.

Anwar and Mahathir put aside their 20-year-old political feud to help their alliance win a historic national vote in May that led to the first change of power since independence from Britain in 1957.

Anwar, who was convicted in 2015 for sodomy, could not take part in the elections but their four-party alliance had agreed that Mahathir would be prime minister and hand over the reins to Anwar. Anwar, 70, was freed and pardoned by the king shortly after the polls.

"The understanding ... is that immediately after the pardon, I should enter the race," Anwar told The Associated Press on Friday. "I waited four months and I think it is also important for me to start connecting" with lawmakers and focus on parliamentary reforms.

Mahathir "will continue leading the nation, I will give full support," he added.

A lawmaker from Anwar's party earlier this week announced he had resigned as a member of Parliament in the southern coastal town of Port Dickson to make way for his comeback. The Election Commission will set a date for a by-election that must be held within two months.

Anwar said he would work hard to appeal to the electorate and explain how new government policies would benefit Malaysians.