Mahathir expects to stay in power for 1-2 years

Investors had anticipated the bearish reaction to Dr Mahathir Mohamad becoming prime minister once more

Investors had anticipated the bearish reaction to Dr Mahathir Mohamad becoming prime minister once more

Anwar Ibrahim's repeated imprisonments occurred amid a wider crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful political dissent in Malaysia.

Mobbed by ecstatic supporters and journalists, chased through the streets by the media like a celebrity, sharing an audience with the king, and taking selfies with his prison guards.

Anwar was sentenced in 2015 to a five-year term for sodomy, a charge he says was trumped up by the government of ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak.

After he was sworn in last week as Malaysia's seventh prime minister, Mahathir said the king indicated he would give Anwar a full pardon that will allow him to immediately run for office.

But the two men fell out over a number of issues, resulting in the popular Anwar's imprisonment, which triggered unprecedented protests.

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Malaysia's reformist icon Anwar Ibrahim waves to his supporters and journalists after leaving a hospital in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. Anwar was sacked and charged with corruption and sodomy, charges seen as politically motivated.

In a drama that earned worldwide scorn, Anwar was brought into court with a black eye after a beating from the country's police chief.

Anwar's trial became a spectacle.

An advocate for reform, clean government and an end to the previous government's authoritarian ways, Anwar made no immediate comment but was expected to address the public in the afternoon followed by a political rally in the evening.

Even while in jail, and then while recovering from shoulder surgery in Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Anwar said he had detected a growing outrage among Malaysians over the "corrupt regime" of former prime minister Najib Razak, who has been accused of siphoning off billions of dollars in the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund scandal.

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Last week, when asked about turning power over to Anwar, Mahathir replied that the process could take a long time. He eventually became deputy prime minister and Mahathir's presumed successor.

"Going to jail I consider a sacrifice that I make for the people of this country", he said at the time. "There will be no special powers given except as are given to ministers or deputy ministers or deputy prime ministers", Mahathir said. Jack Seng, another supporter wearing a shirt with a logo of Anwar behind bars, said he thought Mahathir and Anwar would resolve any tensions between them.

The head of Malaysia's anti-corruption watchdog resigned on Monday, while attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali was put on leave as Mr Mahathir moved to step up the investigation into allegations of corruption at the 1MDB fund, which has attracted the attention of prosecutors and regulators around the world.

He said it was Mahathir's prerogative to form the cabinet, but noted he had given assurances that he will consult party leaders. "But Mahathir may be reluctant to hand over to his former nemesis, and if he drags his feet other scenarios could come into play", said Peter Mumford of the Eurasia Group in a research note.

The scandal is being investigated in at least six countries, including Singapore, Switzerland and the United States.

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