Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim set to return in parliament

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is due to be sworn in as a member of parliament after he won a crucial by-election. He returns to politics after almost a decade.


Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be sworn in as a member of parliament on Thursday, his party said, after a landslide by-election victory that ended his decade-long political exile.

Anwar, who was sacked as deputy premier in 1998 and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges, returns to parliament as the head of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance which controls a third of the lower house.

"The parliament speaker has said Anwar will be sworn in as an MP on Thursday," said Tian Chua, information chief of the Keadilan party which leads the three-member alliance.

"We will all be there to welcome Anwar as the leader of the opposition and the parliament will be very different with his voice," he told AFP Wednesday. "It is a real morale boost for the Pakatan Rakyat in parliament."

Anwar on Tuesday won the by-election in his old constituency of Permatang Pauh with a thumping majority, despite claims of a "dirty tricks" campaign mounted by the ruling coalition to sideline him.

The 61-year-old opposition leader spent six years in jail before the sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004. But he now faces new sodomy charges levelled by a former aide which he says have been concocted by the government.

Anwar has said that the Pakatan Rakyat will be able to form the next Malaysian government by mid-September. He needs to secure the support of 30 government defectors in order to topple the coalition.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning