Malaysia poll win offers hope: Anwar

Updated 16 May 2018
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Malaysia poll win offers hope: Anwar

  • Malaysia was on the verge of a new “golden era,” the jailed leader said.
  • I always believed in the wisdom of the people and that if we fought hard enough we would eventually prevail: Ibrahim

SYDNEY: Jailed Malaysian leader Anwar Ibrahim Wednesday said his country was on the verge of a new “golden era,” with the toppling of a corruption-riddled regime offering hope to people “clamouring for freedom” everywhere.
But Anwar, a leading member of the People’s Justice Party that teamed with former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to oust scandal-tainted premier Najib Razak, also cautioned that “one election does not a democracy make.”
“I always believed in the wisdom of the people and that if we fought hard enough we would eventually prevail,” he told Australia’s Fairfax Media in an interview, adding that a new “golden era” was afoot.
“At a time when democracy is in retreat around the world, I hope that the people of Malaysia have given some hope to people around the world clamouring for their own freedom.”
Anwar was heir-apparent to the premiership until Mahathir sacked him in 1998 and he was subsequently jailed for sodomy and abuse of power.
Now 70, he was imprisoned again in 2015 during Najib’s rule — after making historic gains as the head of the opposition at the 2013 elections.
But in a dramatic turnaround, his party joined forces with his former nemesis to inflict a shock defeat last week on the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, ending its six-decade stranglehold on power.
Mahathir told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday he would be in power for one to two years, before an expected handover to Anwar, who is due to be released on Wednesday.
Malaysia’s king has agreed to pardon him, paving the way for his return to politics.
Anwar said that after working with Mahathir for many years he understands “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,” he said, referring to the Najib government.
“Our litmus test has always been supporting the reform agenda.
“So long as there is sincere commitment to these principles, we have always welcomed new supporters. The animosity which preoccupies some observers is not an issue for me.”
Even while in jail, Anwar said he had detected growing outrage among Malaysians against Najib, who has been accused of involvement in plundering billions of dollars from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.
Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing.
Anwar said the hardest thing about being in jail was its impact on his family.
“My children were quite young during the earlier period of incarceration and that was a difficult period for them and (his wife, Wan) Azizah,” he said.
“It is pure agony to see your own children struggling because of decisions you made. This time (in jail) it is my children’s children who I missed deeply.
“But as a family, we were in concert that we cannot expect the people of Malaysia to take a risk for their freedom if we ourselves were not prepared to take those same risks.
“As the days and weeks wore on I never lost hope. In fact, even from within the prison cell I sensed that the outrage against a corrupt regime was increasing by the day.”


Africa’s youngest billionaire free 9 days after abduction

Updated 20 October 2018
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Africa’s youngest billionaire free 9 days after abduction

  • Dar es Salaam Regional Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the release and said authorities continue to investigate
  • Forbes magazine in 2016 put Dewji's wealth at $1.5 billion

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania: The man described as Africa's youngest billionaire said Saturday he is free more than a week after his abduction from a luxury hotel in Tanzania's commercial capital, while police suggested his captors came from South Africa.
"I thank Allah that I have returned home safely," said a statement released by the 43-year-old Mohammed Dewji's foundation. It did not give details about the Oct. 11 abduction or what led to his release but thanked police for working for his safe return.
Dar es Salaam Regional Police Chief Lazaro Mambosasa confirmed the release and said authorities continue to investigate. There was no mention of a ransom being paid.
"We got information that the abductors used the same car that was used to seize him at the Colosseum Hotel and dumped him at gymkhana (sports facility) grounds," Mambosasa said. "We found him there physically fit, and we suspect that the abductors are South Africans because he said they were communicating in one of the vernacular from that country."
Environment Minister January Makamba, in a statement posted on Twitter, said he had spoken with Dewji and "he's the usual Mo. So he is okay."
Dewji, while arriving at the hotel for a workout, had been seized by two masked gunmen who fired into the air before driving away. Regional authorities said two white men were seen on surveillance video and quickly tightened controls at border posts and airports.
Forbes magazine in 2016 put Dewji's wealth at $1.5 billion.