Anticipation grows in Malaysia as Anwar Ibrahim's fate is decided

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an election campaign in Kuala Lumpur

The alliance between Mahathir - who has been prime minister before - and Anwar came after years of feud as the latter was first jailed after Mahathir dismissed him as deputy prime minister in 1998.

Smiling and looking spry in a dark suit and tie, the 70-year-old gave a thumbs-up to a crowd of journalists before being whisked away by auto for an audience with the country's king.

Once seen as a potential future leader, he had been jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption after falling out with the government.

Previously, the charismatic Anwar headed various ministries under Mahathir's tutelage in the 1990s, earning praise as a reformer.

He was sacked from the ruling party and founded the Reformasi movement, challenging Mahathir's government. Within weeks, he was arrested and jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption.

Images at the time of a goateed, bespectacled Anwar in court with a black eye and bruises brought condemnation of Mahathir from around the world.

However, on Tuesday the prime minister said he planned to stay on for "an initial stage, maybe lasting one or two years". Anwar is expected to be released this week, as early as today. Wan Azizah has said time is need for the country's "healing process" after the first transition of power in six decades, and that Anwar needs to recover fully from recent surgery before jumping back to politics.

Abdul Gani was heading the special task force investigating the RM2.6 billion in the former prime minister's bank account and the SRC International case.

"I will play a role in the background even when I step down". "Why should I harbour any malice towards him?"

Anwar will travel directly to the palace after his release.

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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.

He says he will run the government for two years before turning over the reins to Anwar.

Although members of Umno or BN will not be able to become party members, Dr Mahathir said they can voice their support for the government on an individual level.

Speaking via video conference at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Meeting in Tokyo, Dr Mahathir, 92, said: "We are slowly getting to the bottom of things and many of our senior officers are volunteering information accompanied, of course, by documents".

Differences have already cropped up between supporters of Mahathir and Anwar over cabinet positions and Anwar's role.

Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years, "I understand that he cares deeply about Malaysia and the people of Malaysia. a new partnership was essential to overcome the deeply entrenched, corrupt system that was presiding over Malaysia".

Mahathir said it would be hard to achieve consensus and any decisions will be based on the voice of the majority.

Najib was cleared of wrongdoing by the attorney general in 2016 but Mahathir has said the official has been asked to go on leave and replaced.

Mahathir has barred Najib from leaving the country pending investigations.

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