‘No time frame for succession’

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KUALA LUMPUR — Freed from jail, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he will not seek a time frame to take over as prime minister from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Speaking at his home in Segambut here after his royal pardon on grounds that there had been miscarriage of justice, the de facto PKR leader stressed he has no issue working with his former nemesis and trusts Dr Mahathir’s leadership.

“I will give him all the support necessary to allow him to ensure that the agenda for reform is effectively carried out.

“I do not want to be seen to be hasty or demand an immediate time frame,” Anwar told a news conference.

On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir said he would remain prime minister for about two years to ensure all of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) reform plans are executed.

Anwar said he will take time off to travel and he had received offers to give lectures abroad.

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

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

He also declared a “new dawn for Malaysia” and pledged to support top-to-bottom reform of the country after the coalition that had governed for six decades was dramatically voted out last week.

“Now there is a new dawn for Malaysia. I must thank the people of Malaysia,” said Anwar, 70.

“The entire spectrum of Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, has stood by the principles of democracy and freedom. They demand change.”

Anwar, who had been in prison for the past three years, said it was almost as if he had never left active politics.

With his trademark smile and hair carefully combed to the side, he said he was thankful his journey has ended this way.

“It has allowed me to breathe fresh air,” he said, before pausing to look at his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who smiled right back at him.

“From prison to palace … our struggle, everything we have gone through for the last 20 years has not been in vain,” he said.

Anwar also said he is not seeking revenge but Datuk Seri Najib Razak must answer to the people for the “injustices” he committed.

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

“But Najib has committed injustices to the people and he has to answer the rakyat,” Anwar said.

He said he was fully pardoned by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V because there was clear conspiracy behind his prison sentence.

“I didn’t have to sign any documents at the palace and I was cleared of everything.

“We requested full release because it was a clear conspiracy and miscarriage of justice,” he said.

Anwar thanked the King for the full pardon, saying:

“I’m deeply touched by the concern showed by the King. I spent one hour discussing internal issues and expressed my gratitude at the palace,” he said.

What was the most significant lesson Anwar learned in prison?

“The most significant lesson one can learn from prison life is the value of freedom,” he said.

“When you are incarcerated then you will know the significance … anyone else must not be allowed to undergo the same travesty I went through.”

He also thanked prison officials for conducting themselves professionally during his incarceration.