Malaysia's Anwar to contest poll

Opposition politician's wife vacates her parliamentary seat to force by-election.

    The decision of Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, left, enables Anwar to contest her seat [AFP]

    Anwar, who is an adviser to the Keadilan party, in which his wife is president, said: "I look forward to participating in the deliberations in parliament ... and be back on track in our efforts to see a new dawn for Malaysia."

    Getting elected to parliament is Anwar's next goal in his bid to re-establish his political career, which came to a halt in 1998 when a sodomy allegation cost him his position as deputy prime minister.

    He was accused of sodomy again last month by a former 23-year-old male aide.

    Inquiry completed

    According to Syed Hamid Albar, the home minister, police have completed the investigation into the allegation and submitted their findings to the attorney-general, who will soon decide if charges should be filed.

    However, there are fears he could face imminent arrest.

    "They may arrest him in the next 48 hours. It is aimed to prevent him from contesting a by-election," Tian Chua, Keadilan's information chief, said.

    The government responded by saying it did not fear Anwar's possible return to office.

    "We are not worried ... we will face it ... he is not a threat.  It is a democratic process, good luck to him," Syed Hamid said.

    Opposition support

    Anwar said that leaders of the other two parties in Pakatan Rakyat supported him.

    "I will defend anyone who has been victimised, including Anwar,"  Abdul Hadi Awang, the president of the Islamic PAS party, said.

    The Pakatan Rakyat made huge gains in the general elections in March, seizing control of five states and a third of parliamentary seats.

    Anwar has said he will form a new government with the help of defecting politicians from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

    A survey conducted by the Merdeka Centre, a research company, found that two-thirds of the 1,030 respondents polled viewed the charges against Anwar as politically motivated, while only 11 per cent believed the accusations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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