Monday, June 30, 2008


Total fabrication: Anwar
Opposition leader says new sex charge an attempt to sideline his spectacular return to political stage


Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday denounced as a “complete fabrication” allegations that he sodomised a male aide, the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago. Anwar, who was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister in 1998 and jailed on sex and corruption charges, said the allegations were an attempt to sideline his spectacular return to the political stage after recent general elections. “The police report lodged against me earlier today is a complete fabrication. I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress,’ he said. The new charges, which allegedly surfaced in a police report lodged by a 23-year-old aide, triggered fears he faced imminent arrest, but police said they would first carry out an investigation. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose Government was badly shaken by March elections that handed the Opposition unprecedented gains including a third of parliamentary seats, denied any involvement in the affair. “We had no plans to do anything to him just because he says he’s made a political comeback,” Abdullah told a press conference. He said he was shocked by the charges but disparaged Anwar’s denials. “It’s always the case that those who are accused will deny it,” he said. The police will investigate and determine the truth.” Criminal Investigation Department Chief Datuk Bakri Zinin said the aide had personally written the reportdetaiing an incident at a condominium in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb, and lodged it Saturday at a hospital police post. “It’s mere allegation at this point. We will look into it and establish the allegations first to see whether it is true or not,” he told a press conference. Bakri warned Anwar’s supporters from launching another round of the massive protests that erupted after his sacking a decade ago, a momentous event in Malaysian politics. “If you want to create havoc, we will deal with you according to the law,” he said. “The public should not pressure us by holding demonstrations.” Anwar said the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was striking back after he gave evidence against the Government and police over fabrication of evidence in the original case against him. “This is clearly a desperate attempt by the Barisan Nasional regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice,” he said in a statement. “I urge the Malaysian people to stand against the repressive forces that will be unleashed by the Government in the coming days and weeks.” Anwar has always dismissed the original 1998 charges of sodomy and corruption as politically motivated. He famously appeared in court with a black eye after being beaten by the Police Chief. He was convicted on both charges and spent six years in jail but was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned by the Nation’s highest court. Since the March elections that propelled Anwar back onto the political scene, he has said he is poised to form a new Government with the help of defectors from the ruling coalition, undermining Abdullah who has faced repeated demands to step down over the polls debacle. A minor party in the coalition, SAPP, this month called for an unprecedented vote of no- confidence in the Premier, and left open the prospect of joining Anwar’s Opposition. Keadilan said that Anwar and other top party members held crisis talks overnight at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, where dozens of supporters gathered Sunday. “I am with my husband here to support Anwar against these allegations and to stop anybody from arresting him. Anwar is a good man and he will lead the country soon,” said 24-year- old housewife Siti Husaini. “Anwar is the best, he will survive these allegations,” said Abu Rahim Mahrin, a 45-year-old lorry driver. - AFP