Anwar wins by-election
Malaysia frees 11 ethnic Uighur Muslims
PORT DICKSON, Malaysia, Oct 13, (Agencies): Anwar Ibrahim won an overwhelming mandate in a parliamentary by-election on Saturday, setting the stage for his return to frontline Malaysian politics and sealing the once-jailed opposition figure’s remarkable resurrection.
Figures from the Election Commission showed he got more than 71 percent of the total votes cast in a sevenway contest that included a former aide who lodged the sodomy charges that landed Anwar in prison for a second time in 2014. Winning the seat is a key requirement for Anwar to succeed 93-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who jailed his former protege and heir apparent on sodomy and corruption charges in 1998 when their relationship soured.
Mahathir returned to the premiership this year after a shock election win, saying he would stay in power for only two years before handing the reins to Anwar.
Anwar was in prison when he forged an unlikely alliance with Mahathir in a bid to unseat then prime minister Najib Razak, who had called elections for May amid massive corruption allegations.
Underscoring the drama of Saturday’s vote, one of Anwar’s six challengers is a former aide who also accused the then-opposition leader of sodomy, landing the 71-year-old in jail for a second time in 2014.
But the charismatic politician is expected to eke out an easy win in the seat, which was vacated after a member of the ruling coalition stepped down to pave Anwar’s return.
Malaysia has freed 11 ethnic Uighur Muslims who escaped from immigration detention in Thailand, their lawyer said Friday, ignoring a request from Beijing to deport the group to China.
In the dramatic breakout last November, 25 members of the persecuted minority used blankets to climb out of their cells in a daring pre-dawn escape from immigration detention in southern Thailand.
Eleven of them, all men, escaped overland to neighbouring Malaysia, where they were caught and charged with illegal entry.
Southern Thailand and Malaysia share a common border, which is easily penetrable.