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Jakarta Post

Anwar Ibrahim: I’m not in a hurry to join Malaysia’s by-election

  • Agnes Anya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, May 20, 2018   /   07:23 pm
Anwar Ibrahim: I’m not in a hurry to join Malaysia’s by-election Malaysian ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim (right) speaks to press in Jakarta, accompanied by former Indonesian president BJ Habibie (left), at the latter's home on May 20. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, who visited Indonesia to “celebrate Indonesia’s Reform Era”, said he was not in a hurry to become a candidate in Malaysia’s by-election, set to take place in months.

Anwar, who was released from prison recently after a second sodomy conviction that was believed to be politically driven, visited former Indonesian president BJ Habibie on Sunday in Jakarta.

Read also: Anwar Ibrahim: Indonesia visit to celebrate 'Reformasi'

After the meeting, he told a press conference that Malaysia would soon hold an election meant to replace newly elected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The latter has publicly declared he will not take office until the end of the five-year tenure.

"There will be a by-election [...] in months," Anwar said briefly on Sunday. 

When asked whether he would participate, Anwar said he was "not in hurry."

"I want to spend time with my family, particularly my grandchildren. I want to fulfill my promises to visit Harvard and Stanford University," he said before leaving Habibie's house. "After that, I will decide whether I will compete [in the by-election]." 

Anwar and Habibie are known to be close friends. In 2014, in a national television show, Anwar said Habibie and his late wife Ainun were family.

The family took care of him and his family after his release from his first conviction in 2004, he said on occasion. 

Read also: Anwar Ibrahim's Jakarta visit packed with media interviews

He was granted a full pardon last week, giving him full access to politics. Anwar was made a leader in ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan recently.

Answering reporters’ question about his hope for the Malaysian version of reform, Anwar said there were several things Malaysia could learn from Indonesia. “We don’t think ever thing in Indonesia is correct or successful, but the formation of founding institutions was successful,” he said.

He reiterated the importance of fighting corruption, inequality and poverty both in Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Economic growth is important, but wealth has to be distributed fairly,” he said. (evi)