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August 22, 2008

Malaysia Politics:
Security tightened at ‘mother of all by-elections’

Touted as the "mother of all" by-elections, the Permatang Pauh polls in Malaysia is living up to its reputation, reported Singapore’s Channel News Asia (CNA) Friday.

As the daily volley of accusations and mudslinging gathers momentum, police are looking at doubling their manpower towards polling day to keep things under control.

As the keenly watched 10-day by-election campaign in Permatang Pauh enters its half-way mark, both sides of the political divide have intensified their efforts - with house to house visits and public rallies held till the wee hours of the morning.

So far, opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim's "ceramahs" (political talks) have managed to pull in a larger crowd than the ruling Barisan Nasional candidate's.

Still, despite having a clear upper hand, Anwar continues to be dogged by scandals. He has been charged with having unnatural sex with his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari, who had sworn on the Quran that he was sodomised by his boss against his will.

In an earlier report, AFP said three members of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's party have been arrested for graft, triggering accusations of "dirty tricks" Thursday ahead of a tense by-election.

Anti-corruption officials on Wednesday detained two members of the state cabinet in northern Perak which is run by Anwar's opposition alliance, as well as another official in his Keadilan party.

They were among a group of six people accused of taking bribes of more than 120,000 ringgit ($36,000) from a businessman to expedite a local housing project, the New Straits Times reported.

Keadilan leaders questioned the graft arrests and sa

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