ISNIN Mei 3 1999
Anwar accuses government
of scheming for election win
April 29, 1999
Web posted at: 6:02 AM EDT (1002 GMT)
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Ousted politician Anwar Ibrahim, in
a statement from jail, accused the Malaysian government Thursday of trying
him on a new sodomy charge to further smear his reputation and ensure its
victory in upcoming elections.
Anwar, the former No. 2 leader, said the government was planning to call a
snap election during his sodomy trial after humiliating him with lurid sexual
allegations and discrediting his leadership ability. He cited unidentified
"This is done to ensure their victory at general elections" Anwar said in a
statement obtained from his family. He called it a "malicious prosecution."
A High Court judge ruled on Tuesday that Anwar, who has already been
convicted on corruption charges, will be tried with his adopted brother,
Sukma Dermawan, on charges of sodomizing a man in 1992. A trial date
will be set on May 4. Anwar denies all the allegations, calling them trumped
up to end the threat he posed to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir has lost considerable support since firing Anwar in September for
alleged homosexual acts. Sodomy is a crime in mostly Muslim Malaysia.
While general elections are not scheduled until April 2000, many predict a
snap poll will be called as early as June.
"The (ruling party's) supreme council leaders want Parliament to be
dissolved when I go to trial for sexual charges and before my lawyers
cross-examine the witnesses," Anwar said in the statement.
Anwar, who was sentenced to six years in jail, faces four additional sodomy
charges and one of corruption.
In his statement, Anwar said that recent charges brought against his
associates were part of the government's smear campaign and a form of
On Friday, the government brought two sodomy charges against Anwar's
adopted brother, Sukma, and charged a former personal secretary, Mohd.
Azmin Ali, and his wife's former tailor, Mior Abdul Razak, with committing
perjury in Anwar's corruption trial.
The government appeared to be hurrying the cases, possibly because the
testimonies of these three are directly related to the sex charges against
"By embarking on a malicious prosecution, the attorney general has allowed
his office to be used as a political tool," Anwar said. "I am not afraid to face
the false allegations hurled against me."
Meanwhile, one of Anwar's prime antagonists in the Cabinet filed a 10
million ringgit (dlrs 2.6 million) libel suit against an officer in the opposition
party run by Anwar's wife, Azizah Ismail, the New Straits Times newspaper
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub
claims that Ruslan Kassim, the information officer for Azizah's National
Justice Party, falsely accused him of keeping millions of dollars stashed in an
Israeli bank account. The comment was made during a recent party rally
attended by thousands.
The suit was filed Wednesday by a special legal panel of the ruling United
Malays National Organization that was set up in February solely to defend
ruling party leaders from alleged slander by opposition parties.
Ibrahim Ali, chairman of UMNO's legal team, said the libel suit was to show
opponents that UMNO "meant business." He warned that an opposition
party president and an academic were next.
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