Republic of Malaysia | Local Campaigns Resources

August 25, 2008

PenJenayah Ketuai PKR | Blogged

Filed under: Republic of Malaysia — Nun Ha Alliance @ 3:21 pm

Malaysia’s Anwar Transform Penang to Malays self-styled-Yahoo! News UK

Malaysia’s foremost opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who faces sodomy charges as he tries to manoeuvre back into power, has long been a force in the
uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20080629/tpl-uk-malaysia-anwar-43a8d4f.html – 21k – CachedSimilar pagesFilter

By Jalil Hamid and Niluksi Koswanage Reuters – Thursday, August 7 11:31 am

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s leading opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy and granted bail by a court on Thursday, letting him campaign in a by-election on which he is staking his political future after a 10-year absence.

Anwar, 60, denied the charge that he had sex with a 23-year-old male aide and was bailed until his next court appearance on September 10.

This will allow Anwar to contest a by-election on August 26 in which he is the favourite. Investors have been unsettled by the high-stakes political battle to control an economy where government dispenses billions of dollars of patronage projects.

This is the second time in a decade that Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who had been groomed for the top job by the governing United Malays National Organisation, has faced sodomy charges in the majority Muslim country.

“I am pleased with this decision (bail). I will proceed with my campaign,” Anwar told reporters after the court appearance, where he was accompanied by his wife and daughters.

If he is found guilty, Anwar could be imprisoned for up to 20 years, effectively ending the career of a man who has long coveted the top job in Malaysia and who was only allowed back into politics in April following his release from jail in 2004.

The political uncertainty surrounding the trial and speculation on the future of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has hurt the stock market and the ringgit currency, which on Thursday hit a 6-month low against the dollar at 3.2840.

“There is a risk that the political situation (in Malaysia) deteriorates significantly in the coming weeks,” Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Hagger said in a research report on Thursday.

CHEERING SUPPORTERS

About 100 cheering supporters shouted “long live Anwar” and “Reformasi” at the courthouse, which was surrounded by police. Reformasi is the battle cry of his reform movement.

The opposition People’s Alliance coalition said on Thursday it would formally appoint Anwar as leader if he won the August 26 poll. But political analysts said the trial could be very damaging to Anwar’s chances of holding his coalition together.

“There would be a great impact on the by-election,” said Tricia Yeoh, director of the Center for Public Policy Studies.

One Western diplomat said the court’s bail decision was surprising. The government has been under close U.S. scrutiny over its handling of the Anwar case and other political cases.

Anwar and his supporters say the charges are politically motivated and aimed at damaging his chances of a return to parliament and also the alliance’s chance of winning over MPs from the ruling coalition in a confidence vote.

The alliance hopes to lure 30 MPs from the ruling coalition to win a September 16 confidence vote in parliament.

It rode a wave of popular discontent over rising prices in March’s election. The landmark poll deprived the coalition, which has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain half a century ago, of its two-thirds majority and took five of its 13 states.

Zamri Idrus, the lawyer for Anwar’s accuser, said he was relieved the case, in which Anwar was accused of committing consensual anal sex, was finally proceeding and said that his client would give his “full cooperation”.

Anwar faced sodomy charges 10 years ago and was convicted. That was overturned on appeal but a corruption charge stood.

“The (current) trial is flawed. It is not rape or assault as originally charged,” Anwar said.

Some ordinary Malaysians said the authorities should not use the law to intimidate opposition leaders.

Shopkeeper Mohammad Idrus said the charges were political. “This whole issue is just a waste of time,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Soo Ai Peng; Writing by David Chance; Editing by Paul Tait)

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