ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Malaysia’s Anwar braces for govt vote-rigging
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Sunday he was bracing himself for the government’s attempt to block him from winning a key by-election,
which could propel him back to power, reported AFP.
Anwar launched his election campaign later Sunday in his hometown state, despite the looming threat of arrest on sodomy allegations which he has insisted
are a political smear.
The former deputy premier, who was jailed on sodomy charges a decade ago, got the chance to run for parliament in a special by-election when his wife
announced last week she was giving up her seat in northern Penang state.
“If UMNO-Barisan Nasional decide to (play) rough with massive funding and bribery, then we will have to be really prepared,” Anwar told reporters, referring to
the powerful ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
He said under “normal conditions” it would be easy to retain the seat, which was held by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail -- the official leader of his Keadilan
party -- for ten years.
“That has been our base for a long time,” Anwar said. “How rough they want to play and how is the Election Commission going to conduct the elections,
these issues we are going to study.”
“We are not taking it for granted,” he added.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said the government will not prevent Anwar from seeking the seat, but authorities will investigate the sodomy
allegations against him.
Keadilan officials have said Anwar could face imminent arrest on charges he sodomised a 23-year-old aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
“It is not a question of facts and law. The arrest (will be) a political decision,” Anwar said.
He has repeatedly rejected the sex claims and called his accuser an “outright liar” who was working with others in power to frame him and block his plans to
topple the government.
Anwar was jailed 10 years ago on the same sex charges before they were overturned. He was also imprisoned for corruption
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