Anwar’s First Press Conference Since Release

- Advertisement -

With his trademark smile and hair carefully combed to the side, Anwar was in his element today, fielding questions from the press and saying that “from prison to palace…our struggle, everything we have gone through for the last 20 years has not been in vain.”

  • Anwar granted full pardon
  • Poses for selfie with prison officials in final farewell
  • Will assist and support new government as a regular citizen
  • Anwar in no hurry to be PM, eyes lecture circuit

After his audience with the king, Anwar arrived at his Bukit Segambut home escorted by several police outriders and a Prisons Department van at 1.35pm to shouts of “reformasi” from the crowd of about 150 people who have gathered.

Chairs and a table had already been set up for a press conference, as close friends and relatives huddled together inside Anwar’s home.

Another round of “reformasi” chants ring out as Anwar stepped out of his home at 2pm for his first press conference since 2015.

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali was by his side.

“The Prisons Department wants to hold a ceremony to hand me over,” Anwar told the press.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“I do not have to sign any documents because my conviction has been erased by the royal pardon,” he said.

Some 50 prison officers then entered the canopy, and a lead officer addressed Anwar, announced his release from their custody before giving a salute.

The officers then took turns shaking Anwar’s hand amid cheers and claps from onlookers. Some prison officers even took the opportunity to take selfies with Malaysia’s most famous and special ex-prisoner.

Mukhriz Hazim

At the start of the press conference, Anwar thanked Mahathir for assisting in the process of securing his pardon.

He insisted that he asked for a pardon, not for the conviction, but because there was a miscarriage of justice.

In his first press conference as a free man, Anwar indicated that he was in no hurry to demand a handover from Dr Mahathir.

He said will not seek a timeframe to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir.

He added that Dr Mahathir Dr Wan Azizah should continue with their administration.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“I’ve given my assurance to Mahathir and Azizah that I’m here as a concerned citizen, with complete support for them manage the affairs of the country,” he said.

Anwar also said that as premier, Dr Mahathir had the prerogative to form the Cabinet, but added that the Prime Minister had given him assurance that he would consult party leaders before deciding on its composition.

He said he will now assist and support the new government as a regular citizen.

He also questioned why some people continued to harp on his past with Dr Mahathir, saying the latter has proven himself by working hard and supporting PH’s reform agenda, which facilitated his release.

Shafwan Zaidon

“I continue to have direct contact with Tun Dr Mahathir. I believe we will ensure a smooth transition.”

He hinted that he may spend time rejoining the lecturer circuit in foreign universities.

“I got invitations from renown universities to give a series of lecturers, fellowships – from Harvard University, George Washington University, Stamford and also parts of the Muslim world,” he said.

Publiée par Thana Raj sur mardi 15 mai 2018

Anwar also said he is not after revenge after being incarcerated for sodomy, a crime he denies committing during the Najib administration.

However, he said Najib must answer to the people for the “injustice” committed.

“I have nothing against him, I have forgiven him and want to move on.

“But Najib has committed injustice to the people and he has to answer the rakyat,” Anwar said, adding he is not sure what criminal charges Najib will be facing soon.

“I don’t want this to be in reference, it is because of ‘Anwar’s‘ reincarnation,” he said.

Anwar will be at a gathering at Padang Timur opposite Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, at 10pm today.

Related report: May 16, Anwar Ibrahim Is Free!