Anwar’s release marks the end of his 20-year dark episode

KUALA LUMPUR: The full pardon for an immediate release of jailed Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim today marks the end of 20 years of going in and out of prison, and the resumption of the political career of a leader touted to be the country's next prime minister.

Anwar's journey over the past two decades added colour to the country's political landscape with the emergence of the reformation movement that eventually contributed to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) taking control of the federal administration in the 14th general election on May 9.

After his release, Anwar told reporters his appeal for the pardon was on the basis of a 'miscarriage of justice' or 'travesty of justice' and this meant that his convictions and sentences had been erased from the records.

The 71-year-old PKR de facto leader was born on Aug 10, 1947, in Cherok Tok Kun, Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

He received his early education at Sekolah Kebangsaan Cherok Tok Kun, Sekolah Kebangsaan Stowell and the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, and acquired his Bachelor's Degree in Malay Studies at Universiti Malaya.

Anwar married Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on Feb 28, 1980. The couple has six children, namely Nurul Izzah, Nurul Nuha, Mohd Ihsan, Nurul Ilham, Nurul Iman and Nurul Hana.

Anwar has been actively involved in politics since his university days. He was also involved in the setting up of the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM). He was a committee member of the Asia Youth Council; a member of the World Youth Council and a committee member of the Asia Pacific region for the World Assembly of Youth.

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The political leadership of Anwar, who was elected as a member of parliament in 1982 after winning the Permatang Pauh seat, was also recognised by world bodies, especially during his tenure as the finance minister.

In 1996, Euromoney recognised him as one of the world's four best finance ministers and Asiamoney named him Asia's Best Finance Minister.

Besides serving as the finance minister, Anwar also held various other posts, such as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department; Culture, Youth and Sports Minister; and Agriculture Minister. He was appointed the Deputy Prime Minister on Dec 1, 1993.

On May 19, 1997, Anwar was appointed the acting Prime Minister and Home Minister during the absence of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was then on leave for two months.

Anwar was sacked as the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on Sept 2, 1998, and it was followed by his expulsion from Umno the next day.

Then began Anwar's dark episode. He was sentenced to six years in prison on April 14, 1999, by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

He was found guilty of four corruption offences in relation to abuse of power by interfering in police investigations into alleged sexual misconduct.

Anwar was released on Sept 2, 2004, after nearly six years in prison.

On Aug 28, 2008, Anwar returned to the Dewan Rakyat after winning the Permatang Pauh by-election on a PKR ticket following Dr Wan Azizah's resignation as the MP of the constituency to give way to Anwar to contest the seat.

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He retained the seat in the 13th General Election, in 2013.

However, Anwar was sentenced to five years jail on March 7, 2014, by the Court of Appeal, after the court found him guilty of having sodomised Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan six years earlier. — AFP

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