Anwar Ibrahim sorry over assault on media during poll campaign

August 18th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 18 (IANS) Campaigning to win a parliamentary by-election while being probed for a sodomy charge levelled by an aide, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has apologised over the attack on several media personnel, allegedly by his political supporters. “I do not condone violence and I am sorry over the incident. We have to investigate the incident,” he told the media at Permatang Pauh, the constituency that goes to the polls Aug 26.

Last Saturday, Berita Harian’s Siren Nafiz, 26, and Halim Berber from France’s HBL Press News were allegedly attacked by Parti Keadalan Rakyat (PKR) supporters outside the nomination centre.

Siren said some 20 PKR supporters surrounded and dragged him for about 10m and took away his camera, lenses and flash worth about RM15,000 ($4,500).

Ibrahim urged the police to investigate the matter and also promised that he would conduct his own probe.

The incident has been widely criticised and media editorials have been written as the campaign hots up for the by-election that Ibrahim hopes to win and return to Parliament after ten years.

He said although some people wore PKR T-shirts and carried party banners, it did not mean they were party members.

He also spent half of the press conference lashing out at “biased” and “unfair” reporting by the local mainstream media.

A group of Utusan Malaysia reporters were barred from covering the press conference, The Star said Monday.

Meanwhile, the sodomy charge against Ibrahim is being pursued by the government even as Prime Ministger Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, while denying any government bias, said that Ibrahim’s accuser and alleged victim, Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan had taken “a very serious step” in swearing by the Holy Quran last week to press his charge.

Police Sunday delivered a copy of Azlan’s charge to Ibrahim, as required under the law. Ibrahim has said the document was full of contradictions.

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