KUALA LUMPUR: Supporters began gathering on Thursday at the hospital from where jailed Malaysian reformist leader Anwar Ibrahim is expected to walk free just a week after his alliance scored a shock victory in a general election.
Devamacar Arumugam, 45, a woman wearing a sari made up of Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (PKR) flags, said she waited all day on Tuesday and was back just after dawn on Wednesday to see him free. “Today, I am very happy,” she said.
Anwar joined forces with his old ally-turned-foe-turned ally, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, to oust scandal-tainted former premier Najib Razak. Mahathir, who is now prime minister for a second stint, had vowed to enable Anwar’s release and eventually step aside for him to become the prime minister.
Anwar, 70, has been recovering from a shoulder injury in the hospital under police guard.
Anwar is seeking a royal pardon on the grounds of ‘miscarriage of justice’, which would reverse his conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics.
Mahathir is the leader of the ruling alliance and Anwar’s PKR won the majority of parliamentary seats in the group.
The volatile relationship between Mahathir and Anwar has dominated Malaysia’s political landscape for over three decades and is central to the future of the alliance.
Ob Tuesday, Mahathir said he expected to be prime minister for one or two more years.