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A night of stark contrasts in Malaysia’s rough-and-tumble politics

18 51 20

IT was a night to be remembered for many Malaysians who toppled a party that ruled for 61 years.

The events leading up to the Wednesday evening was dramatic enough for an analyst with the BBC to call the removal of the Barisan Nasional coalition, led by ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, as a plot worthy of Shakespeare.

A rousing homecoming

In one corner of the expansive Klang Valley, staunch supporters came out in numbers to greet Anwar Ibrahim, whose four-year prison sentence was shortened earlier in the day, to witness what was thought to have been a very unlikely scenario the week before.

At least 10,000 people showed up at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya, a middle-class township in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, to hear Anwar’s first public address in three years since he was granted an unconditional royal pardon for his second sodomy conviction earlier in the day.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, who was granted a royal pardon, speaks to supporters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia May 16, 2018. Source: Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of more spectators watched the televised half-hour speech from the comfort of their homes.

SEE ALSO: Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib could be charged soon – Dr Mahathir

“For three years, I took an unpaid vacation. I am thankful to all of you because I am a free man today,” Anwar said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

. @anwaribrahim Has arrived to a rousing welcome by party supporters.........

© Asian Correspondent