Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim faces sodomy charge again

June 29th, 2008 - 4:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 29 (IANS) Former Malaysian Deputy prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has vehemently denied a sodomy charge levelled by an aide — a decade after he was sacked from the government on a similar charge, besides corruption, to be jailed. Ibrahim, 63, “was left fighting for his political credibility, calling a press conference at 1.20 a.m. to deny allegations that he sodomised his aide,” The Star newspaper said on Sunday.

He has moved into a “safe but undisclosed location” after he received death threats, his wife and leader of opposition in Malaysian Parliament Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told mediapersons Sunday afternoon, The Star Online said.

She said the police report on sodomy lodged against her husband was an attempt to ‘assassinate’ his political career. “They could not bring him down through other ways and so made this political attempt, which is just a repeat of what had happened about 10 years ago,” NST Online said.

Political analysts said this seemed to be the beginning of a major political scandal.

Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998 when he faced the same charge.

Ibrahim was debarred by a court order from contesting. The ban ended in April.

The new allegation comes when he has indicated readiness to contest a by-election.

Federal CID Director Mohammed Bakri Zinin said the police would conduct a thorough and fair investigation in the sodomy allegations.

Ibrahim is the de facto leader of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which also heads Malaysia’s opposition front that emerged strong with 82 seats in parliament and control of four states in the elections in March this year.

His statement was read out on Saturday by PKR’s Indian-origin vice president Sivarasa Rasiah at the press conference.

The statement, which was also faxed to media offices, said: “The police report lodged against me today is a complete fabrication. I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress.”

Asked why Ibrahim was not at the press conference, Sivarasa said Anwar was very busy attending to “too many telephone calls.”

His wife said the 23-year-old man who lodged the report against Anwar at Jalan Travers police station here on Thursday was a volunteer who joined to help the party during the last general election period, NST Online said Sunday.

“He came out of nowhere and offered to help us during the busy time of the campaigning. We knew little of him and no background check was done on him as he was just a volunteer,” said Wan Azizah.

The man alleged that he was sexually assaulted last Thursday inside a luxury apartment in the city.

He also alleged that it was not the first time that Ibrahim had sexually assaulted him.

Government sources said police were waiting for the medical report from the hospital before proceeding with investigations.

They also said Ibrahim was expected to be summoned by the police to have his statement recorded.

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