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August 18, 2008

Malaysia by-elections:
Anwar says govt playing dirty tricks to win votes

Malaysia’s Prime minister Abdullah Badawi arrived Sunday in Permatang Pauh - the battleground constituency in the by-election in the state of Penang as de facto opposition leader and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Anwar Ibrahim slammed the government for playing dirty even before the campaigning officially began on Saturday after nomination, reported Cghannel News Asia.

At the nomination centre on Saturday, two sides locked horns for first time, with Anwar's supporters chanting "reformasi", while Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters chanting "liwat" which is the Malay term for sodomy.

Anwar refused to swear on the Quran despite calls from former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to do so to prove his innocence, despite his accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari's decision to swear on the Quran, that he had been sodomised against his will.

Said Anwar: "There's no case against me. I know what happened and that's the fact. He said he has been forced 1 time, 8 times or 11 times, and he sweared on the Quran... Don't make a mockery of the Quran."

Earlier on Sunday, Anwar and his wife Wan Azizah attended a series of weddings as guests-of-honour to shower their blessings on the newly-weds, while Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi visited a religious teacher - his longtime friend Ustaz Mat Saad Bakar. Together they prayed for BN's success in the by-election.

Touted as the battle royale, Anwar is predicted to win hands down in the three-cornered fight against UMNO's two-term assemblyman Arif Shah Omar Shah and opposition PAS splinter group leader Hanafi Mamat.

Expectations are high that Anwar will be able to surpass his wife's performance in the last election which she won by over 13,000 votes. If he fails to deliver a bigger win, analysts said the ruling Barisan Nasional will be able to claim a moral victory.

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