Malaysia police raid former PM's house as a would-be leader is released from jail

Jailed Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon and freed on Wednesday, capping dramatic changes in the Southeast Asian country since the government was ousted in an election upset last week.

Apparent raid of Najib Razak's property comes hours after jailed reformist Anwar Ibrahim freed

A Malaysian police car is seen parked on the road leading to former prime minister Najib Razak's residence in Kuala Lumpur late Wednesday. Najib, who suffered a stunning defeat least week, has been accused of blocking probes into a massive financial scandal that he appears to have personally profited from. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)

Malaysian police are searching five locations linked to ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak, police director Amar Singh told Reuters on Thursday.

Singh, the head of the commercial crime department, did not provide any other details.

At least a dozen armed policemen entered Najib's home late on Wednesday after he returned from prayers at a mosque, Reuters witnesses said. They seized handbags and few other personal items, a lawyer for Najib said.

Other than Najib's private residence, police are also searching the prime minister's office and the official 
residence, the Star newspaper reported. Two places at a condominium where Najib's family is believed to own property 
were also searched, it said. 

Najib's ruling coalition was dealt a stunning defeat in a general election last week and the former prime minister, who has been dogged since 2015 by a multibillion-dollar scandal, was banned along with his wife from leaving Malaysia at the weekend.

More than 100 people, including journalists and members of the public, gathered outside his family home after police vehicles arrived. Thousands of people watched as local media streamed the scene live on the internet.

Mahathir Mohamad, who took over as prime minister last week, has said he will investigate allegations of corruption at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund. Najib received hundreds of millions, which he claimed was a gift from Saudi Arabia.

Razak announces his resignation as president of the United Malays National Organisation during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur on May 12. He has been barred from leaving the country under the new administration. (Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images)

Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country. Najib denies wrongdoing.

Mahathir has replaced the attorney general and officials at the anti-graft agency, in what appears to be a purge of people seen as close to the former premier.

The event is just the latest in a series of dramatic changes in the Southeast Asian country since the government was ousted in an election upset last week.

Jailed Malaysian reformist Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon and freed on Wednesday.

Anwar, 70, was sentenced in 2015 to a five-year term for sodomy, a charge he says was trumped up by the government of Najib.

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim poses with his wife and daughter during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday. (Lai Seng Sin/Reuters)

Mahathir, with whom Anwar joined forces to win last week's election, greeted him at the palace where they both met the king.

Anwar was Mahathir's deputy in the 1990s but fell out with his mentor during the Asian financial crisis.

He was sacked from the ruling party and founded the Reformasi movement, challenging Mahathir's government. Within weeks, he was arrested and jailed on charges of sodomy and corruption.

Transition pact made

Images at the time of a goateed, bespectacled Anwar in court with a black eye and bruises brought condemnation of Mahathir from around the world.

Anwar's trial became a spectacle, with prosecutors at one stage bringing out what they said was a semen-stained mattress allegedly used when he had sex with two male aides.

Newly elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 92, has said he'll serve no more than two years. That potentially could pave the way for his former foe Anwar Ibrahim to lead the country. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images)

After being freed in 2004, Anwar was jailed a second time. Both times, he and his supporters have said the charges were politically motivated.

Anwar later told a news conference at his home he had forgiven the veteran leader, who was a pugnacious, uncompromising prime minister for 22 years from 1981.

"I and Mahathir have buried the hatchet already, it was a long time ago," Anwar said as he sat at a table under a marquee set up in the driveway of his home, his tie and jacket off and sleeves rolled up, after returning from the palace.

"I have forgiven him, he has proved his mettle. Why should I harbour any malice towards him?" Anwar said, speaking above supporters sounding their car horns and a tropical downpour.

The pardon, which enables Anwar to re-enter politics immediately, was granted on the grounds that there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Under a pre-election pact, Mahathir, 92, had vowed to enable Anwar's release and eventually step aside for him to become prime minister.

On Tuesday, Mahathir said he expected to be prime minister for one or two more years, setting off talk of fresh differences between the two.


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