Anwar rallies support against sodomy claims
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) -- Malaysian opposition leader Anwar
Ibrahim reacted strongly to sodomy accusations Tuesday, filing a
complaint against the police chief and the attorney general and planning
a public rally.
Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who spent six years in prison
on sodomy and corruption charges before a historic return to politics in
elections in March, said the new allegations are designed to usurp his
political gains. The complaint he filed Tuesday is about the charges
leveled against him 10 years ago.
Anwar said the evidence used in that case was fabricated. At the
time, the current police chief was the investigating officer in the
case. The attorney general was the then prosecutor.
"Do you expect me to have full trust in the Inspector General of
Police ... who has been involved for 10 years in the personal vendetta
and battle against me? Who is fearing for his own position?" Anwar told
CNN. His supporters are also expected to hold a public rally Tuesday
night, because Anwar said he did not "trust the system."
"So what do we do now? We go to the people," he told CNN. "I believe
Malaysians are sick and fed up of these desperate maneuvers by the
Anwar was the heir apparent to former premier Mahatir Mohamad until
1998, when he was sacked and convicted of corruption and of sodomizing
He spent six years in jail until the nation's highest court
overturned the sex conviction. But the corruption verdict was never
lifted and it barred him from running for office.
Then came the national elections in March. Anwar helmed a loose
coalition of opposition parties that won control of five of the
country's 13 states. The coalition also won 82 of 222 parliamentary
seats -- making it only the second time in the southeast Asian country's
history that the ruling party failed to gain the two-thirds majority
needed to amend the constitution.
Anwar, 60, is now eligible to run for parliament. And he has claimed
that he has the numbers to form a new government with the help of
lawmakers who want to defect from the ruling United Malays National
Organization (UMNO) coalition of current Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad
Anwar said the latest allegations are meant to sideline him again.
Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by 20 years in prison in the
"We are almost there with the crossover of support, with the huge
uncertainties politically within the (ruling) party," he said. "So this
is the last attempt to frustrate and derail the process." Prime Minister
Abdullah told reporters he leaving it up to the police to determine the
authenticity of the accusations.
"It is the police who should take appropriate action," Abdullah was
quoted as saying by the national news agency, Bernama. "What Anwar has
said is not for us to decide. He will surely deny... The accused will
normally deny the allegation."
Anwar has filed a suit against the 23-year-old male aide who is
accusing him of sodomy. The aide said the incident occurred in a luxury
apartment on June 26. Anwar also took refuge briefly in the Turkish
embassy in Kuala Lumpur because he said he feared being assassinated.
The government denies the claims.
"Anwar's life has never been in danger," Home Minister Syed Hamid
Albar told reporters Monday. "We have never taken any action that can
endanger his life or his family. Why should we do that?"
Nevertheless, Anwar said he leaving little to chance.