Malaysia's stunning election upset: investors react

Casey Dawson
May 12, 2018

Malaysia's king has agreed to pardon a politician whose case has gripped national politics for two decades, says new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir Mohamad was sworn in as Malaysia's seventh prime minister on Thursday after a stunning election comeback, defeating the coalition that has ruled the nation for six decades since independence from Britain.

At the age of 92 years and 303 days, Mahathir is the world's oldest sitting leader.

The Philippines on Friday, May 11, congratulated Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on his election victory, and looked forward to "enhanced" ties with Malaysia under his rule.

But in a remarkable turnaround, the pair reconciled and joined forces as they sought to eject Najib, who was accused of stealing billions of dollars from a state investment fund that he set up and oversaw.

Dr Mahathir has said he will eventually stand aside to allow Mr Anwar to take over the running of the country.

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Early indications are encouraging, with Mahathir confirming a full pardon for the man he helped incarcerate on sodomy charges, his former protege Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir was a dominant political figure, winning five consecutive general elections and fending off a series of rivals for the leadership of UMNO.

"He should be released immediately when he is pardoned".

Mr Mahathir said that a limited cabinet of 10 senior positions would be named on Saturday, but that he would delay announcing further ministerial positions pending negotiations. "[Mr Mohamed] in fact has hidden evidence of wrongdoing and that is wrong in law". "Our intention is to go for people who have shown a tendency to be corrupt or who had committed known corrupt crimes". He acknowledged around $700 million appeared in his accounts but said it was a donation from the Saudi royal family and most of it was later returned. He sacked critics in his government including an attorney general and a deputy prime minister and muzzled the media.

"We hope that by 5 o'clock today we will have a prime minister", he said. However, he said officials would seek to bring back the rule of law and prosecute those who break it.

His comments might raise eyebrows however.

Mahathir said that his government may reverse some of the policies implemented by the Barisan Nasional coalition, especially the goods and services tax which many have complained against.

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