June 23, 2018 / 3:04 PM / 10 months ago

Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim hospitalized after pain in shoulder and back

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, was rushed to hospital late on Saturday night after he complained of a pain in his shoulder and back on his return from Turkey.

FILE PHOTO: Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim speaks with the media as former Indonesian President B.J. Habibie (L) looks on during a visit to Habibie's home in Jakarta, Indonesia May 20, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan/File Photo

Anwar was pardoned and released from his five-year jail term for sodomy last month after a coalition that includes his party secured a surprise victory in the May 9 general election, ending the six-decade rule of the Barisan Nasional alliance.

“He (Anwar) is being transported using an ambulance from his home in Bukit Segambut to the emergency ward,” said Fahmi Fadzil, spokesman for Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (PKR).

Fahmi said Anwar was taken to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur, as he had complained of pain in his shoulder and back on his return from Turkey earlier in the day.

“However, his health remains stable,” Fahmi said in the statement.

Anwar has previously undergone a shoulder surgery.

Mahathir Mohamad, 92, was elected in May as Malaysia’s new prime minister. After his election, Mohamad secured a royal pardon for Anwar and has promised to step aside for his friend-turned-foe-turned-ally to become prime minister.

Anwar has said it had been accepted that he would be the next prime minister after Mahathir steps down, but he wants to ensure a smooth transition.

Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy in the 1990s, but fell out with his mentor during the 1997-99 Asian financial crisis.

He was eventually sacked from the ruling party and founded the Reformasi (Reform) movement, challenging Mahathir’s government. Within weeks, he was arrested and jailed on disputed charges of sodomy and corruption.

After being freed in 2004, Anwar was jailed a second time for sodomy in 2015. Both times, he and his supporters said the charges were politically motivated.

Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; writing by Praveen Menon; Editing by Edmund Blair

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