He says he wants to take time off to give a series of talks in Harvard, Georgetown and a few Muslim countries

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, released from prison on full pardon today, said he would not be making an immediate return to politics.

Instead he said he would be involved in giving talks overseas.

“I’ll be taking time off to give a series of talks in Harvard, Georgetown and a few Muslim countries,” said Anwar in his first press conference since his release at his residence in Segambut.

He said he was only back as a citizen.

Anwar said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail should continue with their administration.

“I’ve given my assurance to Mahathir and Azizah that I’m here as a concerned citizen, with complete support for them to manage the affairs of the country,” he said in his press conference, which was shown live on Astro Awani.

He added that this was on the understanding they were “committed with the reform agenda, beginning with the judiciary, media and the entire apparatus”.

Anwar also said that as premier, Mahathir had the prerogative to form the Cabinet, but added that the prime minister had given him assurance that he would consult party leaders before deciding on its composition.

Anwar left the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital at 11.30am today after he was granted a royal pardon for a five-year sentence.

After his release, he immediately went to Istana Negara where he met the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.

In 2015, Anwar was sentenced to five years’ jail after the Federal Court upheld his guilty verdict for sodomy.

Anwar was initially scheduled to be released on June 8, 2018 after his five-year sentence that started on Feb 10, 2015 had been reduced for good behaviour.

His release came a week after Pakatan Harapan defeated Barisan Nasional at the polls on May 9.

Soon after Anwar’s press conference, Mahathir in a separate press conference said that Anwar was not part of the government now and only had a role to play on his party.

He said that he would be convening a Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting tomorrow where Anwar’s role would be discussed.

When asked to comment on Anwar’s release, Mahathir quipped: “They said I jailed him. Now I have released him.”