opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Tuesday he had an alibi
to prove he did not sodomize a young man whose accusation
has temporarily derailed his bid to reenter parliament
and bring down the government.
and this leadership is under siege,'' Anwar told a news
Anwar claimed the
sodomy allegation was part of a political conspiracy --
a charge the prime minister later denied. ''I would advise
them to drop the case,'' Anwar said. ''It is
Anwar faced a
similar crisis when he was fired as deputy prime minister
and convicted of sodomy in 1998. Malaysia's highest court
overturned that conviction in 2004.
allegation, made Saturday by a 23-year-old worker in Anwar's
office, came as Anwar was trying to engineer parliamentary
defections from the ruling National Front coalition to
topple the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad
Many see Anwar as
a future prime minister, a job to which he has openly
aspired. He recently led a three-party opposition
coalition to spectacular gains in the March 8 general
elections, which reduced the National Front's strength
to 140 seats for a thin 30-seat majority in the
222-member parliament. Anwar has said he will be able to
pull 30 lawmakers to his side by mid September.
But Anwar could
not run for parliament in the March election, a
prerequisite for becoming prime minister, and was going to
announce plans to contest a by-election when the
sodomy accusation broke.
[by-election plan] has been derailed for a few days,'' he
said, vowing to ''fight every inch of the way'' to
clear his name. ''No way I am going to give them an
easy route this time. This is a second round of a
dirty conspiracy,'' he said.
He said the
government was trying to ''cause anxiety and disgust among
Muslims'' against him.
There are no laws
against homosexuality in Muslim-majority Malaysia, but
sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by up to 20 years
Denying that he
had any relations with his accuser, the 60-year-old Anwar
said, ''I can tell you this is a conspiracy. I have all the
evidence and alibis to support me.'' He said his
lawyers had advised him against elaborating because
investigations were under way.
his government was using dirty tactics against Anwar.
will not do anything to wrong somebody,'' Abdullah told
reporters after meeting with Anwar's wife, Azizah Ismail.
Azizah and Anwar have six children, including a
daughter who also is a lawmaker, and she is the
president of their opposition People's Justice Party.
Abdullah said he
assured Azizah of Anwar's safety and of a fair
Anwar filed police complaints against the national police
chief, Musa Hassan, and Atty. Gen. Abdul Gani Patail,
accusing them of fabricating evidence during his 1998
Musa was the
investigating officer and Abdul Gani the senior prosecutor
when Anwar was tried for allegedly sodomizing his driver and
an aide while he was deputy prime minister and finance
minister. Anwar insists he was innocent and that he
was framed because he challenged then-prime minister
Mahathir Mohamad for power.
Anwar was beaten
up by then-police chief Rahim Noor while he was in
police custody in 1998. Rahim pleaded guilty to assault in
the case and later apologized to Anwar.
In his police
complaint Tuesday, Anwar said Musa and Abdul Gani had
fabricated a medical report to try to discredit his
complaint against Rahim. The two officials were not
immediately available for comment.
1998 sodomy conviction was overturned, he could not free
himself from a related abuse of power conviction, which
resulted in him being barred from holding political
That ban expired
in April, a month after the general elections were held.
He can reenter parliament through a by-election if a
colleague vacates his or her seat. (Vijay Joshi,