Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (Photo: thestar)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) –
Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad revealed on May 15 that he may hold the position of premier for one or two years and will play a role in the background even after he steps down.

Mahathir, 92, whose four-party coalition has won a shock victory over former leader Najib Razak, told a Wall Street Journal conference in Tokyo via a video link from Malaysia that reformist politician and coalition partner Anwar Ibrahim would be released from jail on May 16.

Mahathir added that Anwar would need to seek a seat in the parliament after his release, and then might be given a cabinet post.

Mahathir sacked Anwar as his deputy prime minister in 1998. Nominally, Anwar is leader of the “Reformasi” (reform) party in the ruling coalition of Mahathir.

In another move, the Council of Eminent Persons on May 15 announced the formation of a five-member Committee on Institutional Reforms.

It said in a statement that the members of the committee are retired judge of the Court of Appeal, Datuk KC Vohrah; retired judge of the Court of Appeal and Suhakam commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai; president of the National Patriots Association Brig Gen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji; Tunku Abdul Rahman Professor of Law at University Malaya, Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi and National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk S. Ambiga.

The Council of Eminent Persons said the committee would present its findings and recommendations to the council which would then submit its report to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

It said economic reforms on their own could not bring the desired change unless accompanied by institutional reforms.

The Council of Eminent Persons was established on May 12 to advise the government on economic and financial matters.-VNA