Mahathir told the Wall Street Journal he would be in power for one to two years - before an expected handover to former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is expected to be released on Wednesday after three years in jail on a sodomy conviction.
Ahead of the 70-year-old leader's release, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has had a topsy-turvy relationship with his protégé-turned-rival-turned-ally, said the development will not bring immediate changes to the power structure of his five-day-old government.
PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said earlier that Anwar is scheduled to hold a press conference at his home in Segambut at around 4pm. He had been in hospital recovering from shoulder surgery.
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.
Anwar is seeking a royal pardon on the grounds of "miscarriage of justice", which would reverse his conviction and make him eligible to actively participate in politics. He was set to meet the king after leaving the hospital, and planned to speak to media in the afternoon.
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Malaysia's new prime minister Mahathir Mohamad doesn't intend to immediately step aside once his foe-turned-colleague Anwar Ibrahim is pardoned.
Anwar served as Dr Mahathir's deputy and finance minister before being removed from his post and incarcerated on sodomy and corruption charges, which human rights groups and foreign governments criticised as being politically motivated.
Anwar was freed in 2004 and cleared of the sodomy charges after Mahathir retired.
Malaysia, under former Prime Minister Najib Razak, had classified the audit report in 2016 under the Officials Secrets Act when the fund's financial troubles were being investigated.
He rose quickly, eventually becoming deputy prime minister and Mahathir's presumed successor.
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Anwar is in the People's Justice Party, while Mahathir is in the Malaysian United Indigenous Party, but they are part of the same coalition, Pakatan Harapan (meaning "Pact of Hope"). "We will be able to charge him". Yet rather than give up, Anwar worked from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance by ending the two-decade feud with Mahathir - a gamble that paid off when the alliance won the 9 May polls.
Jailed for six years, Anwar says he was kept in solitary confinement, singing 1960s pop tunes to stay sane and reading anything he could get, including the Quran, the Bible and Shakespeare.
The agenda for the Mahathir government includes scrapping a goods-and-services tax, reviewing large infrastructure projects, reintroducing fuel subsidies and cutting spending.
It stung UMNO by winning 52 percent of the popular vote in 2013 but failed to take parliament due to government gerrymandering.
Mahathir was spurred out of retirement by a corruption scandal at 1MDB, a state fund that is being investigated by the US and several other countries after associates of defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak allegedly stole and laundered $4.5 billion from it.
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