Take me to court: Malaysia’s Ibrahim dares government

July 6th, 2008 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 6 (IANS) Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has challenged the authorities to take him to court if there is solid evidence against him on the latest sodomy charge. But he wants the government to “first ensure a fair trial and select only judges who are credible”, The Star said Sunday.

“I will throw the file at their faces if the judges are not fit to hear my case,” he told a crowd, estimated at 30,000, Friday night.

Ibrahim has been in the eye of a political storm after his aide, Mohammed Saiful Azlan, filed a police report alleging that the former deputy prime minister had sodomised him on more than one occasion.

He again questioned the credibility of two top officials, Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail who, he said, had been involved in pursuing the sodomy charge levelled a decade ago.

This was his second public rally in a week and the government has urged the people not to join any rally that would cause “fear and security among the population”, The Star said.

The government’s plans to have joint security by the armed forces and the police to counter the rallies that Ibrahim has promised to hold has upset several human rights bodies and NGOs.

Twenty-seven such bodies staged peaceful demonstration outside Bukit Aman, the police headquarters.

The government has said there was no cause for alarm. The joint operations were “to ensure that no inconvenience is caused to peace-loving Malaysians”, said police chief Musa Hasan.

Ibrahim has reiterated that the latest sodomy allegations against him was a conspiracy by his enemies to kill him politically and shut him up.

Like it had done in 1998, the US has cautioned Malaysia against a “politically motivated probe” against Ibrahim, triggering a diplomatic spat.

An angry government rejected the US state department’s statement as “interference in our internal affairs” and Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar called Ibrahim “a glitch” for “having complained to the US”.

Anwar said he never approached the US and said he was “not an American puppet”, The Star quoted him as saying Sunday.

If at all, he would send a letter to the US government to bring its troops out of Iraq, if he becomes the prime minister, to prove that he was not an American puppet.

His long-time political foe, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad alleged that Ibrahim was “plotting the current high-stakes political drama”, official news agency Bernama reported Sunday.

“Anwar has succeeded in blackening my name in the United States and Europe, of course, but also in Muslim countries. They all think I simply threw him in prison for political reasons,” Mahathir said about the earlier sodomy scandal that hit international headlines.

He had sacked Ibrahim and had jailed him during a prolonged trial.

“He never said anything about how he was tried, how he was defended by nine lawyers, how the judge wrote a 360-page judgment against him, how his appeals were thrown out twice,” Mahathir said in his blog www.chedet.com.

Meanwhile, Indian origin private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, who levelled serious charges against Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, and then retracted them within 24 hours, has gone missing along with his family.

His nephew R. Kumaresan said he was concerned about the safety and whereabouts of Balasubramaniam, his wife and three children, the New Straits Times reported.

Razak had denied the charges levelled by the private investigator, but alleged that they were made at the behest of Ibrahim.

L’affaire Ibrahim, now a week old, with charges flying between him and the government, has angered NGOs including Transparency International Malaysia and Malaysian Trade Union Congress, who have asked all concerned to “stop bickering” and concentrate on issues like price rise that affect the public.

“There is too much politicking and too little performance. People expect quality leadership from elected leaders but instead are being served with a great deal of polarisation and there is a poverty of ideas,” said Transparency’s Indian origin chief Ramon P. Navaratnam.

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