Anwar Ibrahim is back in Bangkok

Anwar Ibrahim at a news conference at his party's headquarters in Petaling Jaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. photo courtesy of BAZUKI MUHAMMAD

The champion of reformasi (reform), a prisoner of more than 10 years and finally the prime minister-in-waiting of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim has charted the most remarkable political career the region has ever seen.

His roller-coaster experience over the past two decades is recorded in the book Anwar Returns: The Final Twist, to be released here on Friday.

The former deputy prime minister of Malaysia and leader of the Opposition party that won the country's last election will appear as guest of honour at the book launch hosted by the Isra Institute. He will be interviewed by celebrity anchor ML Nattakorn Devakula.

The event will also feature an introduction by former Thailand Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya, together with a speech by the book's author, Mark Trowell.

Anwar was capturing the international attention as a most promising Asian leader when he was accused of sodomy in 1998, a charge he refuted and which he claimed was a political conspiracy designed to discredit him.

Anwar was removed from his post by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, formerly his mentor. He was imprisoned for six years after high-profile trials that many believed would cap off his otherwise brilliant career.

After he was released on appeal from what became known as the Sodomy I case in 2004, Anwar began to lead an opposition movement and formed the Parti Keadilan Rakvat, or People's Justice Party. Then came the similar Sodomy II accusation, which led to another five-year imprisonment, in 2015.

According to the book, Anwar declared to his supporters after the second conviction, which he also said was also politically motivated: "But rest assured my head will be held high. The light shines on me."

In May 2018, Anwar received a royal pardon. He was freed from prison after the opposition coalition, of which he is a de facto leader, won a majority of seats in the latest election, ending more than 60 years of rule by the government parties. His former enemy, now collaborator, Mahathir was sworn in as the world's oldest head of government, with the promise to stand aside for Anwar "after one or two years".

The book is an update of Trowell's two previous titles: Sodomy II: The Trials Of Anwar Ibrahim and The Prosecution Of Anwar Ibrahim: The Final Play, published in 2012 and 2015, respectively. The event will be held at the Royal Orchid Sheraton from 5.30-7:30pm.