Anwar threatens Malaysia government

Police break up rally celebrating opposition figure's informal return to politics.

    Anwar will be able to run for office again when
    a five-year ban runs out on April 15 [AFP]

    Organisers estimated 40,000 people gathered to hear Anwar's first public speech in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, since last month's general elections.
     
    Police said the number was closer to 4,000.
     
    "We are just waiting for the right time. We want to create a new era for Malaysia," Anwar said to applause from the crowd.
     
    "We will hand over the parliamentary opposition post to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi."
     
    Police halted Anwar an hour into his speech and the crowd dispersed peacefully.
     
    Political opposition
     
    Police said the rally was illegal because it did not have a permit required by Malaysian law for all public assemblies of more than five people, and had urged people to stay away.
     
    Officially Malaysia's opposition coalition has 82 seats in the 222-member parliament but unofficially has enough parliamentary members to form a government, Anwar said before police surrounded the rostrum where he was speaking.
     
    Anwar himself will be able to run for political office again on April 15, after the five-year ban imposed following a conviction for corruption, expires.
     
    He was cast into the political wilderness after being dropped in 1998 by Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's former prime minister and, originally, a mentor of Anwar's.
     
    But, as the ban comes to an end, his political fortunes have also been revived by the opposition's gains in last month's general elections.
     
    For the first time in 40 years, the opposition prevented the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition from taking a two-thirds parliamentary majority and seized control of five states.
     
    Barisan's poor showing sparked some calls for Abdullah Badawi, the current prime minister, to resign, although he has refused to step down.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?