PETALING JAYA: The welcome mat has been rolled out for freed Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is expected to positively impact the political landscape. The social media was also flooded with messages congratulating him on his release.
Some viewed it as a return to the days of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd charting the nation's path with Anwar on his side.
“The Mahathir-Anwar combination is the best possible one to lead the country out of the authoritarian and corruption-ridden era that has marked BN's and (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak's rule,” political analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee said.
“All indications are that the two should be able to forge a better partnership than they had in the past. Together they can restore confidence in the economy among local and foreign investors and help lead the nation to a brighter future.”
Lim said Anwar has a large international following which is useful in bringing back the goodwill and respect that Najib squandered.
“But for now, he will need to spend more of his time addressing the religious and racial extremism in the country which has taken a back seat but is still present. Anwar will be needed also to deal with the threat that PAS poses with its hard-line Islamic politics,” Lim said.
There is a concern with political developments in Sabah and Sarawak. Anwar can attend to this to ensure that the election aftermath there does not destabilise the nation, he added.
Pakatan Harapan's Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said it is time for Mahathir and Anwar to rebuild the nation together.
“Two great leaders. We can build a better nation together since Anwar is released. Justice is served,” said the Muar MP.
Nottingham University's Professor Zaharom Nain, who is also Malaysian Academic Movement chairman, said Anwar's release is long overdue.
“Completely exonerated, I believe, which is the very least that he deserves after those many years taken away from his life and his family's lives,” he told theSun.
Responding on the role of mainstream media, which was seen as vilifying Anwar throughout his arrest and prosecution, Zaharom criticised them for being sold-outs during that period.
“What role? Seriously, I don't remember the mainstream media campaigning for his freedom. At best, the media was lukewarm.
“At worst, especially during the first trial, some of the mainstream media was hellbent on crucifying Anwar. So, no, I have nothing to thank the pathetic, timid mainstream media in this regard,” he said.
“We will welcome him just like how our Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's wanted Anwar to be released from day one. The spirit is similar. The rakyat, supporters and the PKR Youth wings are feeling positive about what had happened so far,” PKR's Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said.
Klang MP Charles Santiago shared a similar sentiment. “He is finally released. Welcome back Anwar!,” he said via a Facebook posting.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua tweeted: “His freedom brings a happy reunion @DrWanAzizah @n_izzah & their whole family. More significantly, the release of Anwar marks the beginning of the new era for Malaysia where democracy and civil rights will be celebrated.”
Lawyers for Liberty representative Eric Paulsen said: “Finally @anwaribrahim is freed! Unjustly jailed on trumped-up charges, he will now lead a new democratic Malaysia with PM as Dr Mahathir.”