Malaysian PM-in-waiting Anwar takes oath as lawmaker

Current prime minister expected to step down in two years

Malaysia's People's Justice Party president and leader of the Pakatan Harapan coalition Anwar Ibrahim (R) waves before taking an oath as a member of the parliament during a swearing-in ceremony at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur on October 15, 2018. / AFP / Mohd RASFAN

Malaysian Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim has taken his oath as a lawmaker, marking his return to active politics three years after he was imprisoned for sodomy in a charge critics said was politically motivated.

The swearing-in ceremony in parliament on Monday followed Mr Anwar's huge win in a by-election on Saturday in the southern coastal town of Port Dickson. The seat was vacated after a lawmaker from his party quit to pave the way for hi political comeback.

Mr Anwar, 71, was designated as successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad after the two men set aside a bitter feud and united to capture a stunning victory in May's general election. Mr Anwar was freed and received a royal pardon days after the polls. Mr Mahathir has said he expects to step down in two years.

Prime Minister Mahathir, 93, was elected a second time to the premiership, becoming the world's oldest leader in the Malaysia's first transition of power between parties since independence from Britain in 1957.

Mr Anwar could not participate in the polls due to a 2015 conviction for sodomy that he alleged was politically motivated, but he was freed and pardoned by King Muhammad V days after the general election.


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Comment: Anwar Ibrahim's return to politics is a symbol of Malaysia's many contradictions