Ibrahim’s threat to seize power a bluff: Malaysian PM

August 1st, 2008 - 4:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 1 (IANS) Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s claims to seize power by reducing the government to a minority is a bluff, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said. He has sought to minimise the fresh political challenge from Ibrahim that has been posed with the move to contest a parliamentary bye-election.

Nobody will prevent Ibrahim from contesting the bye-election caused by Thursday’s resignation of his wife and leader of the parliamentary opposition, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who vacated the Parmatang Pauh seat to facilitate a bye-election, Star Online said.

In the eye of a political storm since he was slapped with a sodomy charge by a former aide, Ibrahim has said it was a conspiracy to prevent him from returning to parliament via the bye-election.

While battling the charge that he has denied before the police and the court, Ibrahim has also been addressing political rallies to explain his side of the story.

The government has viewed his moves with concern and is keeping a strict watch on the rallies.

However, Badawi Friday ruled out imposing emergency measures if street violence breaks out, Star Online said.

Badawi also promised justice would be served in the sodomy case against Ibrahim, the second time he was facing such an accusation since 1998.

Ibrahim is raring to stage a political comeback after a bar on contesting elections, emanating from the 1998 episode, ended in April.

While denying any government conspiracy, Badawi indicated that the complaint to the police made by former aide Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, of being sodomised by Anwar would not be taken lightly.

“This man pleads for justice. We care about (Anwar) more than we care about this man? That is very odd. He needs justice; that is what he is crying for. We cannot ignore that,” Badawi said.

Readying to take on Ibrahim on the poll front, Deputy prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the ruling Barisan Nasional “will have to be realistic” in the by-election that Ibrahim is readying to contest.

Saying that there was no way Barisan could predict the outcome, Razak was quoted by The Star as saying that Ibrahim had obviously made his calculations by standing in his previous constituency.

“This is a place that would afford him the best chance to win, so we will leave it to the Permatang Pauh voters to decide. We will try our best.”

Ibrahim’s wife Wan Azizah vacated the seat through a resignation sent via an SMS message Thursday evening.

Malaysia’s long-time former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who had sacked Ibrahim on the earlier sodomy charge in 1998, described it as an act of a loving wife.”

Prior to resignation, Azizah headed an 82-member opposition alliance in parliament, that is only 30 short of Badawi-led coalition’s strength.

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