Malaysia’s Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, shakes hands with former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following his release from custody at National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. (Department of Information via AFP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Malaysia’s Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly released Malaysian political heavyweight Anwar Ibrahim said Thursday he expects ex-premier Najib Razak to be jailed over multi-billion-dollar graft claims.
In an interview with AFP a day after he walked free from custody — where he had languished since 2015 on what supporters say were trumped-up charges levelled at Najib’s behest — Anwar also said he would be back in parliament very soon.
“Give me a few months, I should be back as an MP. It is the correct thing to do,” he said.
Anwar’s release on Wednesday capped an astonishing week in Malaysian politics that saw Najib’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition booted from power in a revolution at the ballot box.
The election dramatically reversed Anwar’s fortunes, from prisoner to presumptive successor to 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
It also imperiled Najib, who Anwar said now faces an “arduous” legal battle — without the protection of high office.
Accused of overseeing the plundering of state fund 1MDB, Najib’s position has looked increasingly precarious. Police carried out extensive searches of his home overnight.
Anwar predicted that Najib would likely take up the spot he had just vacated in prison.
“He will certainly be charged,” he said.
Anwar declined to say how he thought Najib’s case would play out, as it depended on “how he can defend himself in court.”
But Anwar added: “It will be very difficult for him to escape (going to) prison.”
Mahathir, who came out of retirement to lead the revolt against Najib, has vowed to hand power to Anwar within two years.
The younger man’s return to politics has been the subject of much speculation and he confirmed he would be seeking to contest a by-election to return as an MP soon — but would not seek a position on the front benches just yet.
“I am not intending to join the cabinet,” he said he had told Mahathir.


Pakistan heatwave kills 65 people in Karachi — welfare organization

Updated 25 min 8 sec ago
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Pakistan heatwave kills 65 people in Karachi — welfare organization

  • Temperatures hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) on Monday
  • Most of the dead were low wage factory workers who work around heaters and boilers in textile factories and there is eight to nine hours of scheduled power outages in these areas, says Faisal Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation

ISLAMABAD: A heatwave has killed 65 people in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi over the past three days, a social welfare organization said on Tuesday, amid fears the death toll could climb as the high temperatures persist.
The heatwave has coincided with power outages and the holy month of Ramadan, when most Muslims do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Temperatures hit 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) on Monday, local media reported.
Faisal Edhi, who runs the Edhi Foundation that operates morgues and an ambulance service in Pakistan’s biggest city, said the deaths occurred mostly in the poor areas of Karachi.
“Sixty-five people have died over the last three days,” Edhi told Reuters. “We have the bodies in our cold storage facilities and their neighborhood doctors have said they died of heat-stroke.”
A government spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
But Sindh province’s Health Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho told the English-language Dawn newspaper that no one has died from heat-stroke.
“Only doctors and hospitals can decide whether the cause of death was heat-stroke or not. I categorically reject that people have died due to heat-stroke in Karachi,” Pechuho was quoted as saying.
Nonetheless, reports of heat stroke deaths in Karachi will stir unease amid fears of a repeat of a heatwave in of 2015, when morgues and hospitals were overwhelmed and at least 1,300 mostly elderly and sick people died from the searing heat.
In 2015, the Edhi morgue ran out of freezer space after about 650 bodies were brought in the space of a few days. Ambulances left decaying corpses outside in sweltering heat.
The provincial government has assured residents that there would be no repeat of 2015 and was working on ensuring those in need of care receive rapid treatment.
Edhi said most of the dead brought to the morgue were working class factory workers who came from the low-income Landhi and Qur’angi areas of Karachi.
“They work around heaters and boilers in textile factories and there is eight to nine hours of (scheduled power outages) in these areas,” he said.
Temperatures are expected to stay above 40C until Thursday, local media reported.