US cautions over sex charges against Anwar

The United States said today it would oppose any politically motivated investigation or prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim facing fresh sex misconduct charges.

Anwar is being investigated over new allegations of sodomy, Malaysian police said on Saturday, the same charge that saw him jailed six years until 2004, when the charge was overturned.

The former deputy premier accused the government of concocting the new sex claims by a 23-year-old male aide and had briefly sought sanctuary at the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying he had received threats and feared for his life.

"The main point for us is that the rule of law needs to stand above politics," said Tom Casey, spokesman for the US State Department.

"And we would certainly oppose any use of law enforcement or judicial procedures for anything other than legitimate purposes of the law," he said.

Noting that Anwar had previously faced similar charges and that his conviction was ultimately overturned, Casey said, "So, we would hope that there's not a pattern here.

"But, certainly, we would be concerned that anything that is done be done in a way that is appropriate, that is a legitimate investigation of charges that might exist under Malaysian law, and would not be anything that was a politically-motivated investigation or prosecution," he said.

The new charges erupted after Anwar stormed back into Malaysian politics in March general elections that handed the opposition a third of parliamentary seats and five states.

Since then, Anwar has said he is poised to form a new government with the help of defectors from the ruling coalition, undermining Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has faced repeated demands to step down over the polls debacle.

The charismatic opposition leader said the new charges would be "a repeat of the 1998 fiasco" when he was hit with the sodomy and corruption counts that were widely seen as politically motivated.

Anwar said he was targeted again because he had evidence that the police chief and attorney-general had fabricated evidence in the original sex trial.

Premier Abdullah denied any involvement in the new charges.

"We had no plans to do anything to him just because he says he's made a political comeback," he said.

Malaysian Criminal Investigation Department chief Bakri Zinin said Anwar's aide had personally written the report against his boss detailing an incident at a condominium in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb of Damansara.


Anwar: Sodomy claims are 'a smear'

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's opposition leader, has said that allegations that he committed sodomy on a 23-year-old man are part of a political conspiracy to prevent him re-entering parliament.

"I [was] supposed to announce my candidacy in a by-election [for parliament]. Well, I can't announce now. This is derailed temporarily," Anwar said on Monday.

He said that he had planned to make the announcement on Tuesday, when he would have also presented four politicians from the governing National Front coalition to announce their defection.

"It is precisely because of this reason that they have created this mess. They will keep me very busy in the next few days on this case," he said.

Legal fight

The controversy emerged on Saturday, when a government aide filed a police complaint accusing Anwar of sodomising him.

Anwar, rejecting the sodomy accusation as "a complete fabrication", on Monday filed a defamation lawsuit against the aide.

The legal action is to clear Anwar's name amid a scandal that could tarnish his political aspirations of becoming prime minister, his lawyers said.

Anwar had taken refuge in the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur, claiming his safety was in danger and accusing the government of trying to thwart his rising political clout.

He left the embassy on Monday after insisting the government must guarantee his safety.

Earlier, Malaysia's foreign minister accused Turkey of meddling in Malaysia's internal affairs by giving refuge to an opposition leader.

Rais Yatim was quoted in local media as saying Turkey's actions were "very questionable", adding that said Anwar was being sought for a criminal investigation and therefore does not qualify for diplomatic protection.

'Political murder'

Wan Azizah Wan Ibrahim, Anwar's wife and president of the opposition Keadilan party, described the new sodomy accusation as an attempt at "political murder".

Sodomy is outlawed in Malaysia and carries a maximum 20 years jail sentence.

A similar accusation of sodomy, which Anwar claims was a trumped up charge, led to his sacking as deputy prime minister and subsequent arrest in 1998.

He was jailed for sodomy and corruption but the sodomy conviction was later overturned.

The corruption conviction however barred Anwar from holding political office until April 15 this year.

Police are awaiting results of medical tests on Anwar's accuser.

Abdullah Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister, denies that his government had any responsibility for the aide's accusation, saying there was no conspiracy "to cause [Anwar] trouble or harass him or raise such issues to undermine him".

Anwar has recently been stepping up a campaign to unseat Abdullah, saying he is in a position to engineer enough defections from the ruling coalition.

Al Jazeera

New focus on social contract in Malaysia

Can the enduring pact among Malaysia’s major political parties, which represent the main ethnic groups and run a coalition government, serve as a substitute for a genuine multi-racial social contract in perpetuity?

A simmering question this might have been during the years in power of the Barisan Nasional (National Front). But only now the protest rally organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) in Kuala Lumpur on November 25, and the current spell of uneasy calm have propelled this issue to the centre stage.

Surely, HINDRAF, an umbrella group of non-governmental organisations, has not packaged its protest agenda in this long-term perspective of Malaysia’s political destiny. Nonetheless, the protest has highlighted the need for action to update the present system.

Malaysia is not alone in having a diverse matrix of ethnicities and religions; and observers point out that the country has maintained, on the whole, a good record of peace, stability, and inter-communal coexistence.

In the wake of the latest protest rally, Malaysian leaders have emphasised the need to ensure there is no communal backlash. And, after the rally, the issue has largely remained centred on the possible “game plan” of HINDRAF. In focus now is the charge that the policies of successive governments have led to an “ethnic cleansing” of Indian-origin citizens. The governments have always been made up of nominees from parties representing the Malay majority and also the two main minorities of Chinese and Indian stock.

Asserting that the allegation has “racial undertones,” Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said ethnic Indians “are not our enemies.” Far from any “ethnic cleansing” occurring at all in the 50 years since independence, “there are no problems with Islam [the faith of the Malay-majority] and Hindu religion” of the Malaysian Indians. “There are no sectarian clashes” in Malaysia, he said.

In a sense, the term, “ethnic cleansing,” found in the unauthenticated online text of a letter to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown from a HINDRAF leader, has shifted the terms of debate on the basic issue. Malaysian authorities are still investigating the authenticity of this document that is doing the cyberspace rounds. However, Mr. Abdullah’s condemnation indicates that the document is being taken seriously.

The timing and the target of the November 25 rally revealed the strategy of HINDRAF, led by P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorty, and V. Ganapati Rao. And, the submission of a petition to the British monarch, through the British embassy in Kuala Lumpur, was the objective of the marchers.

The Malaysian Indians, now numbering about two million and forming eight per cent of the country’s population, are the descendants of a mass-displaced section of people from South India — mostly Tamils but also others who spoke Telugu, Malayalam or Kannada. They were transported by Imperial Britain to the Malaya peninsula to work on plantations. And, the relevant issue now, as articulated by HINDRAF, is that Britain remains morally responsible for the “marginalisation” of the Malaysian Indians after the country’s independence.

And, it cannot be missed that there is a political purpose behind the law suit in London and the move to seek the British monarch’s intervention for the appointment of counsel for the aggrieved Malaysian Indians in this case. The aim is to use these moves as the means to exert pressure on Mr. Abdullah to grant “equal rights” to the Malaysian Indians.

By seeking to “internationalise” the issues at stake in this manner, the HINDRAF is also trying to outflank Works Minister and president of the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), Samy Vellu, for political space. At one level, much will depend on how the courts view the HINDRAF in a sedition case. At another level, Mr. Abdullah has asked Mr. Samy Vellu to fashion “new proposals” to defuse the current crisis and chart a way forward.

As a sustainable way forward is charted, the issue of a long-term social contract among all Malaysian communities will require deeper thought. At least two major communities have had no ancient links to the Malaysian land and mores. So, the future-oriented answers to overcome this aspect may lie beyond the realm of political power-sharing among the communities. It is in this fundamental sense that external powers, like India or China, have no direct role to play in Malaysia, which has emphasised that the current issues are entirely its internal affair.

Social contract (Malaysia) Pt. 1

The social contract in Malaysia refers to the agreement made by the country's founding fathers in the Constitution. The social contract usually refers to a quid pro quo trade-off through Articles 14–18 of the Constitution, pertaining to the granting of citizenship to the non-Malay people of Malaysia, and Article 153, which grants the Malays special rights and privileges. The term has also been used occasionally to refer to other portions of the Constitution, such as the Article stating that Malaysia is a secular state.

In its typical context related to race relations, the social contract has been heavily criticised by many, including politicians from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, who contend that constant harping on the non-Malays' debt to the Malays for citizenship has alienated them from the country. Such criticisms have met with opposition from the Malay media and the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the largest political party in Barisan Nasional. Many Malays, typically from UMNO, have used the social contract to defend the principle of Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy).

The Constitution does not explicitly refer to a "social contract" (in terms of citizenship rights and privileges), and no act of law or document has ever fully set out the social contract's terms. Its defenders often refer to the Constitution as setting out the social contract, and the Malaysian founding fathers having agreed to it, although no reference to a "social contract" appears in the Constitution. Instead, the social contract is typically taken to mean a quid pro quo agreement that provides the non-Malay and other non-indigenous peoples of Malaysia (mostly the Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indian) with citizenship, in return for their granting special privileges to the Malays and indigenous people of Malaysia, collectively referred to as the Bumiputra (sons of the soil).

There is no such thing as a racial "right" to be given special treatment. And that is not me being argumentative, it's the Constitution. You won't find "Malay rights" in the supreme law of our land, instead, you will find terms such as "special position" of Malays. The difference is more than semantics. A right implies something inalienable. A privilege on the other hand is a benefit, presumably given to those who need it.

The Reid Commission which prepared the framework for the Constitution stated in its report that Article 153, the backbone of the social contract, would be temporary only, and recommended that it be reviewed 15 years after independence. The Commission also said that the article and its provisions would only be necessary to avoid sudden unfair disadvantage to the Malays in competing with other members of Malaysian society, and that the privileges accorded the Malays by the article should be gradually reduced and eventually eliminated. Due to the May 13 Incident, after which a state of emergency was declared, however, 1972, the year that Article 153 was due to be reviewed, passed without incident.

According to the social contract's proponents, in return for the enactment of these originally temporary provisions, non-Malay Malaysians are accorded citizenship under Chapter 1 of Part III of the Constitution. Except for the Bumiputra privileges, non-Bumiputras are otherwise generally regarded as equal to their Bumiputra counterparts, and are accorded all the rights of citizenship as under Part II of the Constitution. In recent years, some have sought to provide Malay citizens with more political rights as per the ketuanan Melayu philosophy. However, most of these ketuanan Melayu proponents argue that their additional rights are already written as law and thus only seek to "defend" them from their opponents.

Malaysia's Anwar leaves Turkish embassy refuge

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Monday left the Turkish ambassador's residence, where he fled after being accused of sodomy, after the government guaranteed his safety.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked a decade ago and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges, accused the government of concocting new sex claims by a 23-year-old male aide and said he feared an assassination attempt.

"I pray enough will be done for my security," he told reporters after emerging from the ambassador's residence.

Anwar said the charges were an attempt to derail his political comeback at the helm of a resurgent opposition, and came as he was poised to re-enter parliament with the backing of four defectors from the ruling coalition.

"That is why they brought these allegations against me," he said. "It is an attempt to destroy my political career."

The charismatic opposition leader said the new charges would be "a repeat of the 1998 fiasco" when he was hit with the sodomy and corruption counts that were widely seen as politically motivated.

He spent six years in jail until 2004 when the sex charge was overturned.

Anwar said he was targeted again because he had evidence that the police and attorney-general had fabricated evidence in the original trial.

March elections that handed the opposition a third of parliamentary seats and five states have shaken the coalition government that has ruled for half a century, and triggered calls for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to quit.

Anwar has said he will soon seize power with the help of defectors from the Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled Malaysia for half a century.

Abdullah and his ministers have denied any connection with the accusations by Anwar's aide, who said he was sodomised at an upmarket condo in Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar's lawyers on Monday filed a writ at the High Court charging the young man with libel and filing a false police report, saying the complaint was malicious and designed to destroy his political career.

A friend of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anwar sought sanctuary at the embassy on Sunday, saying he had received threats and feared for his life.

Foreign Minister Rais Yatim summoned the Turkish ambassador Monday and warned he would "suffer the consequences of obstructing justice" if he allowed Anwar to evade a police investigation.

Turkey's foreign ministry said Anwar had come to the embassy to seek sanctuary due to concern over his "personal safety" and had left "of his own free will".

"We conveyed to the Malaysian side that Anwar's request was granted on purely humanitarian grounds and that the issue has no political aspect as far as we are concerned," it said in a statement.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar accused Anwar of staging a drama and said that he was perfectly safe.

"No one has endangered his life, a private person has made a police report against him. You should allow the police to investigate," he told reporters.

"It is play-acting on the part of Anwar to gain sympathy, to show that his life is in danger. I give guarantees that his life will be protected, his life is not under threat at all." - AFP/ir

Channel NewsAsia

RM2.3 Million Renovation For Ministers' Offices In Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Bernama) -- The renovation for cabinet ministers' offices at Parliament House after the March 8 national polls, cost RM2.3 million, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has disclosed.

He said the direct negotiation tender (design and build) was given to Isbul Holdings Sdn Bhd, based at Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam.

"The site acquisition date for the project was March 31, 2008 and the completion date, April 24, 2008," he said in his written reply to Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah) in the Dewan Rakyat here Monday.

He said the project also involved initial works (RM300,000), demolishing (RM25,000), build and renovate (RM670,609), furnishing (RM594,200), telephone wiring, SMATV and audio (RM258,501), electrical wiring (RM90,975), electrical wiring in souvenir room (newly built) (RM10,470), mechanical (RM38,945) and office equipment (RM311,300).


mi1: what a waste of public fund!!!

When you goad the Speaker like you goad a referee, you get red-carded!

DEWAN RAKYAT: Gobind Singh Deo shouldn’t fret too much about getting thrown out of the Dewan Rakyat this morning by the Speaker and inflicted with a two-day suspension for arguing relentlessly with Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. It’s just like being red-carded for two yellow cards during an intensely competitive football match. It’s a two-match ban for the DAP MP for Puchong who can soon get back into the game either on Wednesday or Thursday.

Gobind, like other MPs who may regard verbal jousting with rivals on the other side of the political divide or the House autocracy as a divine right, have to know the Speaker is correct even when he errs, just like a football referee who gets caught in a blowing his whistle, only to adjudge the foul wrongly.

Of course, it’s easier to complain about a bad refereeing decision after you get ejected but when you engage the match official like a zombie pugilist, the only ones you hurt is yourself and your team mates. But the House is not a football match though metaphorically, it resembles a free-for-all wrestling orgy.

That said, Gobind had been dealt with severely by a pedantic martinet who regards continuously shrill vocal retaliation – similar to that of a discomfiting pneumatic drill boring away into his cavities – as violation of House Standing Orders. Pandikar Amin is steadily constructing a steely superstructure persona whom MPs simply can’t take for granted anymore if they think about taking him on in future clashes. He won’t brook for any debating trickery or gimmickry nor would he give MPs slack when it comes to his absolutist interpretation of the House rules of engagement.

Gobind can still groan and gripe for the bien-pensants of his tribe until the cows are prep for slaughter but before you hear more grumblings, you can be sure that there is not a single Opposition MP in the house who wouldn’t give his or her right arm to be thrown out of the House for standing up to your scruples, even if it means betting against the House. Gobind’s de facto mentors, Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor), and dad, Karpal Singh (DAP), can recall many war stories on what it means to be thrown out of the House, personally and politically.

But is getting thrown out for refusing to heed the Speaker’s order to sit down worth the hassle? And stubbornly goading the Speaker to take action against him when tact and stealth would be far more effective?

The MP in Gobind knew much, much better but the political slugger in him just could not resist the irresistible opportunity: during the supplementary question on the move to scrap the build-and-sale concept in the housing industry, Gobind went along with the flow until he abruptly steered off course by interpolating the issue of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sensational sodomy charge and his current holing up inside the Turkish Embassy to ward off a “death threat.”

Gobind did gamely try to link the two discrete issues by drawing on a meeting he had with residents in his constituency and how the on-going problem with abandoned schemes had eroded the people's confidence in the Government. “For example, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had to seek refuge in a foreign embassy for his safety," he deadpanned. The reaction was like earning the wrath of the BN backbenchers.

BN MPs hyperventilated into a rupture at the mere mention of Anwar’s name but it was Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak), an Umno MP with a known beef against Anwar, who indignantly pointed out the question’s irrelevancy to the original question, which prompted the Speaker to rule in Tajuddin’s favour. (The Speaker made a similar ruling last week when DAP MPs tried to raise the issue of the barricades forbidding the Press from entering the Parliament lobby to catch Ministers or MPs for a story).

Pandikar Amin sensed a dogfight that he, as sole arbiter of good Housekeeping, could never retreat from and tried dissuading Gobind from pursuing the Anwar Ibrahim cause by reminding him and the other MPs to behave and confined supplementary questions only to matters raised in the original question. “I urge you not to test my patience by raising irrelevant matters,” he said. “During question and answer time, questions must be kept short and contain only facts. Do not bring up points which are not related to the issue being discussed.”

Pandikar Amin may be naïve to think that his succinct ruling was reasonable enough to deflate Gobind from hounding the Anwar issue but there’s too much of the Karpal DNA in him: Gobind zoomed into the meeting with the house buyers whose project had been abandoned but whatever cohesion the debate had soon disintegrated after the two ripped into a heated exchange:

Gobind: “Listen first, and then only you decide. Don’t interfere. Can you please listen to my question first? It is a very short question.”

Pandikar Amin: "You sit down...asked him to sit down, or else I will exercise my power against you."

Gobind: “Go ahead. Use your power. I was just trying to raise a point here.”

Pandikar Amin: “I want Puchong to leave this meeting for two days. Sergeants-at-Arms, carry out your duty and escort Puchong out of the House."

When the officer approached Gobind, he reacted as a petulant child would: he slammed his document on his table and walked out.

In the lobby, an irate Gobind expressed unhappiness with the Speaker’s decision to the Press but in a varied spin. “I do not understand why I was disallowed to pose my question which is simple. I just want to ask a question for my people in Puchong on abandoned houses. I wanted to find out about the development in a ministerial meeting two months ago on this issue. If a people's representative cannot ask question, who can?" he said. Gobind also complained he was very disappointed with the Speaker, claiming the treatment against him was “completely unfair, undemocratic, unjust and unheard of.” He vowed to continue coming to the parliament tomorrow. “If the Speaker wants to chase me away again, he can do so for 10 times.”

Kit too played along with the tenuous hyperbole that a question about the housing industry can recoil into an issue about Anwar Ibrahim. “Gobind should not have been suspended,” Kit rapped, “because he was doing his job. This is unprecedented and it was completely uncalled for. Gobind was asking a supplementary question directly related to the original question but was not allowed to do so, unlike when BN MPs were allowed to beat about the bush.”

For being a rookie MP, this has been Gobind baptism of fire, an infliction of a long-held tradition in the name of drawing first blood or instigating a brawl your seniors or brethrens expect of you. In following dad’s indelible footsteps, the torch has been passed.

How very ‘British’ of the Opposition MPs to walk out on Najib
DEWAN RAKYAT, June 30, 2008: First Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) was ordered out of the House by the House Speaker for stridently quibbling over relevancy to tenuously tie Anwar Ibrahim with a supplementary question about housing, then his tribe of Oppositionists, led by his mentors Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) and his father Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor), stage crafted a wholesale walkout of DAP, PKR and Pas MPs to discompose the House over a procedural feud whether the Datuk Seri Najib Razak can speak or not.

While Gobind was fuming outside the House for his unceremonious ejection, the full complement of the Opposition MPs decided to join him in equal fulmination – perhaps to get back at House and Barisan Nasional for red-carding Gobind – by protesting the Speaker’s decision to permit the Deputy Prime Minister to make a ministerial statement on the Mid-Term Review of the 9th Malaysia Plan tabled by the Prime Minister on June 26.

So what’s the big beef about such a mundane procedure? It would seem that it had something to do with Malaysia’s former colonial master’s ways and means on House conduct and propriety. At best, the walkout was could be pictured as niggardly pedantic and at worst, it bordered on boorish formalism.

Although Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia invoked Standing Order 14 (1) (i) greenlighting Najib to table his ministerial statement, the Opposition MPs wasn’t buying into it, resolutely contending that any correction or addition should be brought forth by the PM. Najib counterargued that he was tabling the ministerial statement because he seconded the tabling of the Mid-Term Review.

It would seem the procedure approved by the Speaker had a contentious consequence – it defiled Westminster and Commonwealth conventions, making Najib’s ministerial statement improper. The whole walkout was for that reasoning?

Kit and Karpal were quick and attentive to alert the Speaker that Najib’s initiative was “hostile” to British propriety. In good form, Kit produced an overblown criticism of the Speaker’s approval – that it tantamount to “reckless disregard of parliamentary practices, procedures and rules.” Najib, he countered, was allowed to misuse the Standing Order.

"He should have made all the remarks he wanted to when he was seconding the Mid-Term Review. Not now. It should have been done immediately. He is trying to have a second bit at the cherry. This is a gross abuse of parliamentary standing orders," Kit charged. “It sets a most dangerous precedent that the government front-benchers can abuse the standing orders at their whim and fancy. It is being perverted to accommodate Najib.”

Kit went on to contend that the proper subject for ministerial statement would be the Government’s position on Anwar Ibrahim, who at the time of this writing, had left the Turkish Embassy after holing up overnight as a precaution against death threat.

The Speaker, unperturbedly, invoked Standing Orders 43 and 99 to make his decision final, challenging dissatisfied MPs to table motions to contest it. In his blog, Kit indicated that substantive motions will be submitted to review the Speaker’s alleged misuse of Standing Orders and also to steer attention to Gobind’s ejection.

Soon after, Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) launched a leading question to Pandikar Amin, asking the Speaker if he was admitting that the PM had erred when he tabled the MTR on Thursday. "Are you saying that the PM's speech was incomplete?" he said but Pandikar Amin refused to take the bait of Mahfuz’s fishing expedition.

But from there on, all of Pandikar Amin’s efforts to instruct Najib to start addressing the House fell into a vortex of Opposition whirlpool where at one stage, Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad (Pas-Kuala Selangor) told the Speaker he must offer a good reason for allowing Najib floor time. "You have not told us a reason for allowing this. Give us one good reason," beseeched Dr Dzulkifli.

Pandikar Amin ignored the Opposition’s escalating entreaty and still repeated his call that Najib proceed, only for Karpal to interfere as he quoted the British House of Commons convention and practice that if anyone should be allowed to make a ministerial statement, it should be the PM. "That is the House of Commons practise. Should not the Prime Minister be making the statement?" Karpal asked.

It was probably exasperating for Pandikar Amin to sound like a broken vinyl record but he duly repeated his earlier statement that he was using his discretion to allow Najib floor time. "I look at the conventions in Commonwealth countries when I make my decisions. Not just one country. I have to think of everyone's interest," he sighed.

Sensing finally that the Speaker, putting his authoritative weight on the issue, was not going to budge, the Opposition finally relented and waited for the Speaker to instruct Najib to speak. However, when Najib rose to begin his address, Kit, like the great tribal chief that he is, signalled his braves to walk out of the House, muttering that it was pointless to stay inside the House.

Predictably, the BN backbenchers reacted to the affront with loud jeers but the Pakatan Rakyat MPs refuse to be drawn into a reaction and walked out silently, smiling and grinning at the contrived procedural fuss they had triggered.

Azmi Anshar
NST Online

Opposition MPs walk out of Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition MPs staged a walk-out after a 30-minute argument over the Speaker's decision to allow Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak make a "ministerial speech" to elaborate on the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) mid-term review (MTR).

At the start of debate time in Parliament today, the House was told that the government was making a statement and Najib stood up and said he wanted to elaborate on the motion tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday (June 26), specifically on the government's strategy to restructure the society.

Before he could proceed, Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timur) asked whether Najib was taking part in the debate or making a statement as it is "unusual" for such a statement to be made.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia then explained Najib was only making "an additional explanation to the facts made in the speech of the Prime Minister" and it was not against parliament order.

Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) then asked does this mean Abdullah was not fully prepared when delivering his speech, saying: "This means the Prime Minister was not able to give a clear explanation. He should be prepared with his facts and everything. Why take from our time to debate now?"

Pandikar Amin said it was not for the MPs to debate whether Abdullah was prepared or not but for him to decide whether Najib's speech violates the Standing Order or not and he had decided it was not.

Lim stood up again saying: "This is unusual and unparliamentary. He (Najib) had missed the opportunity to argue his points when seconding the Prime Minister’s speech, so now he wants to compensate for it."

Pandikar Amin disagreed and quoted a point in the order which says Speaker’s decision is final but Lim quickly said the Speaker should not simply use the order to justify all his decisions because parliamentary practices must also be observed.

The Speaker said if Lim was not satisfied with his decision he can bring the matter up as a motion but Lim said it would be meaningless if the Speaker later decides not to accept the motion to be debated.

The exchange continued with Pandikar Amin insisting that his decision is final and saying Lim can bring a motion if he is not satisfied with the latter asking for a guarantee that his motion would be accepted by the House later.

Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian), Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) and Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (PAS-Kuala Selangor) also stood up a few times to support of Lim.

Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) then raised a point of order, saying according to the House of Common Practice, a ministerial statement can only be made to correct an error in a statement made in the House.

"So, where was the error in the Prime Minister’s speech. He should clarify it, not another minister," he added.

Pandikar Amin disagreed with him, saying it was a matter of interpretation and he also had studied all relevant parliament laws and according to his interpretation, the ministerial statement by Najib was proper and according to order.

When Karpal and Lim tried to argue further, the Speaker started on his lecture, saying: "I shall not jeopardise the authority given to this chair. I really wish to create a world-class parliament here. Please listen to the Speaker.

"In the House of Common, as soon as the Speaker raised from his seat, everyone kept quiet. But here, if I were to interject too much, I will be criticised. I do my job to my utmost. Please."

He then asked Najib to continue but Lim was still not satisfied and tried to interrupt the speech but when it was not entertained by the Speaker and Najib, he said he wanted to leave the House and all other opposition MPs followed suit.

Najib then continued with his speech, saying: "Thank you. It is much easier without the Opposition in the House."

In the lobby, Lim said all Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs had walked out because what happened did not adhere to the Standing Order.

"This is unacceptable, unparliamentary and we will table a substantive motion to re-study the decision of the Speaker and also the decision to suspend Gobind Singh (DAP-Puchong) for two days," he said.

The Sun

Opposition pact fraying as Anwar fights to clear name

The March general elections have brought political uncertainty to Malaysia with the latest victims being the Opposition parties, brought together by the charismatic Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim but now fraying as he fights to clear his name in another sexual misconduct charge.

The sodomy allegations comes just when Anwar claims to be a heartbeat away from taking over the govenment, an uncanny repeat of 1998 when he was sacked as deputy prime minister on similar charges.

While Anwar is battling the accusations with his own of an assassination conspiracy, the Opposition pact he has welded on the strength of his political acumen and charisma is slowly unraveling as his allies pursue their own agendas.

His Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was shaken earlier when Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim suspended aide Yahaya Shari for alleged financial misconduct. Yahaya , a reformasi veteran from the days of Anwar's sacking, threw a fit and quit saying he has lost confidence in Khalid.

Khalid, a corporate figure handpicked by Anwar, has also been villified by PKR veterans who claim party warriors were being sidelined for local council appointments, much to the chagrin of voters who expected the party to implement local council elections.

Just days ago before the latest bombshell, Anwar dismissed the differences between Khalid and PKR veterans saying PKR Selangor would continue to support Khalid while honouring Yahaya's contributions.

"I am amazed by the spirit and commitment of party colleagues in Selangor. Insha Allah, everything will work out better," he wrote in his on June 26.

But it is not working out better. That was the day that his estranged personal aide claimed he was sodomised in a Damansara apartment, putting in motion the flow of events that is keeping Anwar from steering and keeping the Opposition pact together even as he tries to tempt others to join him.

Even with Anwar at the helm, the nascent Pakatan Rakyat coalition partners have sniped at each other with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) pushing for Islam-based governance in all Opposition-ruled states while the Democratic Action Party (DAP) sticks to its secular stance.

PAS veteran election strategist Mustafa Ali has started a blog with his first posting flaying both Khalid and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for their leadership styles in their respective states.

But the PAS Terengganu commisioner has also not spared his party's Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaludin's decision to hand over 999-year leases to new villages in Perak, saying its unusual and a colonial-era move that would ruffle those who only get 99-year leases, particularly landowners in Malay villages.

"If the land offer is to get political mileage among certain groups, my opinion is that the state government should study the negative implications from other groups in the state," Mustafa wrote in his blog when criticising the Perak menteri besar.

The coalition's internal squabbles, whether intra-party or inter-party, has been overshadowed by Anwar's overtures to get BN lawmakers to defect to show their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's leadership.

Only the tiny Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) have made an initial move against Abdullah with an aborted no-confidence vote but it has yet to leave BN or join Pakatan Rakyat, something which Anwar has promised will happen either in May, June or latest Malaysia Day on Sept 16.

His current battle – which he says is a ploy to distract public atttention from rising food and fuel prices and other scandals blighting Abdullah's administration - puts all his hard work at risk of not producing results and adds political uncertainty to the coalition partners who completed their first 100 days in office in five states two weeks ago.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said today that the Opposition pact is still uncertain and not definite especially with Anwar's latest imbroglio.

"Depends on how the political winds blow and public perception holds," the Penang chief minister told The Malaysian Insider when asked about the fast-moving events over the weekend.

Anwar is working hard to keep public perception on his side and has taken steps to sue the political aide for defamation and asking for Abdullah's personal guarantee for his safety, in an allusion to his beating when arrested in 1998.

But he is fighting against a BN government that is also fighting for its own survival despite having a simple majority in Parliament. Abdullah is working overtime to charm his party to continue to support him and implement reforms while his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is battling perceptions that he and family members are ruthless and capable of murder – be it of Anwar or the Mongolian model a few years ago.

All three are battling public perceptions and while Anwar seems to have the upper hand, time will tell if his battle will be at the expense of his and his allies' quick rise to power come Malaysia Day.

The Malaysian Insider

PKR: Anwar welcomes investigation

PETALING JAYA: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is willing to cooperate with the police in their investigation into the alleged sodomy complaint filed against him after having received assurances of safety from several government leaders.

"He is willing to cooperate now that he has the assurance. However, he will also want to see whether they live up to their promises," PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali told reporters on Monday night.

Anwar Ibrahim released from Turkish embassy.

Dr Syed was asked if Anwar was willing to cooperate with the police, including giving his DNA if needed, to clear his name of the sodomy accusation by an aide.

The aide, 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, had lodged a police report that Anwar had sodomised him at a condominium in Damansara last Thursday.

Anwar Ibrahim released from the Turkish embassy speaking to the press.

Dr Syed spoke to reporters gathered outside the PKR office in Merchant Square, Jalan Tropicana here, where some 200-odd supporters had turned up at 8pm hoping to see Anwar.

However, Anwar did not show up because he was caught up in meetings with lawyers and party leaders elsewhere.

He had left the Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur at about 6.45pm on Monday, about 36 hours after having sought shelter there.

He said he had received death threats after Mohd Saiful had lodged the police report on Saturday.

Anwar has denied the allegations, and on Monday morning his lawyers filed a suit against Mohd Saiful for allegedly lodging a false and malicious police report.

Anwar left the residence of the Turkish ambassador in a black sports utility vehicle together with his wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who had arrived about 10 minutes earlier.

His vehicle stopped just outside the gate where Anwar addressed members of the local and foreign media. He left after speaking for about 15 minutes, heading to Quality Hotel in Shah Alam.

This was a dramatic end to a slow start in the morning when only a small group of reporters had gathered in front of the Turkish Embassy and the ambassador's residence about 1km away.

The road in front of the embassy was quiet with the exception of a few Turkish nationals going in and out of the embassy, postmen passing by to send mail and children from school.

With no sign of Anwar or his supporters, press members waited patiently under the scorching sun.

The pace began to pick up at about 5pm when more reporters and police began turning up. Word had got around that Anwar was about to leave the premises.

Around 6pm, reporters started moving from the embassy in Jalan U-Thant to the ambassador's residence, a 15-minute walk away.

At 6.20pm, Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair arrived, followed by PKR vice-president Azmin Ali at 6.30pm and Wan Azizah at 6.35pm.

When asked to comment on her husband's situation, Wan Azizah just smiled and said she wanted to meet her husband first.

"Just came from Parliament," said Wan Azizah.

About ten minutes later, Anwar came out in a black MPV with his wife.

Star Online

Hamidah: I was trying to deflect heat from Speaker

IPOH: Sungai Rapat assemblyman Hamidah Osman, under fire for uttering a racist statement, said her racial slur had been an attempt to stave off "certain sentiments" about assembly speaker V. Sivakumar.

Hamidah said that the whole issue had actually started after Perak Barisan Nasional assemblymen staged a walkout during the state assembly last Thursday.

The assemblymen had walked out because Sivakumar had barred Kubu Gajah assemblyman Datuk Seri Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar from debating first as promised, she said.

“After we walked out, I received many responses from friends and observers who uttered that statement, saying it was true.

“That’s why I stood up the next day to bring it up. I didn’t agree with that statement and I wanted the speaker to agree with me,” she told reporters here on Monday.

“To err is human and we all make mistakes. If my words had hurt the feelings of any Indian, I ask for forgiveness,” she said in what she termed was her third apology to the community.

Hamidah pointed out that she had already apologised the first time during the assembly on Friday, when she retracted the racial remarks.

She said her statement was from an old Malay proverb that meant to “not twist one’s words around”.

Hamidah was also there to meet with Gopeng MIC division leaders and members, organisations and temple committees to offer her apology and explanation.

Accepting her apology, division chairman M. Krishnan and his deputy V. Kesavan called on their 28 MIC branches to stop the furore so that everyone could move on.

Meanwhile, Perak executive councillor A. Sivanesan said 24 police reports had been lodged throughout the country against Hamidah for her remarks.

Perak Barisan Nasional chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali said Hamidah and Perak Barisan had apologised but yet certain quarters were still using the issue for political mileage.

Star Online

Cops interview sodomy accuser, deploy forensics unit

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have interviewed Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan who accused de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomising him.

It is learnt a task force set up to investigate the allegation interviewed the 23-year-old former aide to Anwar on Monday, and immediately followed up on his information, including visiting and investigating the alleged crime scene, a condominium in Damansara.

A police forensic unit was seen at the condominium for almost five hours.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar confirmed police had interviewed Mohd Saiful, but declined to divulge details.

“We need to be fair to all parties concerned and we assure the public that we will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter,” he said.

Ismail also said police had yet to receive any report from Anwar, his family members or his agents with regards to the alleged threat on his life.

“How can we investigate who, when, where and what the threat is all about if there is no police report lodged?” he said.

Saiful had on Saturday lodged a police report alleging Anwar had sodomised him at a condominium in Damansara last Thursday.

He was admitted to the hospital here for a medical examination and is under police protection.

On Sunday morning, Anwar fled to the Turkish Embassy here, seeking shelter after he had received death threats.

Star Online

Letter from Hindraf, Waytha Moorthy to PM on RMK9 Mid Term Review for Indians

HINDRAF ( Hindu Rights Action Force)
No. 135-3-A, Jalan Toman 7,
Kemayan Square,
70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

Tel : +606-7672995/6
Fax: +6-06-7672997

Prime Minister of Malaysia
Block Utama,
Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62502 Putrajaya

Tel: 03 8888 8000
Fax: 03 8888 3444 29/06/2008


Re: 1) RM 230 Billion mid term review of ninth Malaysian Plan by Prime Minister in Parliament on 26/06/2008 but zero allocation for Indians.

2) No specific allocation for the marginalised Indians unlike marginalised orang Asli and natives in Sabah & Sarawak. (RM 20Billion for Sabah alone)

3) This mid term review is “50 year old wine in a new bottle” for the Malaysian Indians.

4) Urgent formation of Royal Commission into the critical Indian issues as per Hindraf’s 18 point demands to the Prime Minister dated 12/08/2007

5) Urgent implementation of Race Relations Commission (to eliminate all forms of racism in Malaysia) and Equal Opportunities Commission to give effect to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

6) RM 5 Billion annual allocation (and to be fully utilised) to address the critical Indian issues.

7) Indians should not be put/lumped with the far economically superior Chinese in all government projects and policies.

8) UMNO should stop all forms of shadow play “wayang kulit” in this mid term review and all government policies and should get real in dealing with especially the critical Indian issues as UMNO is no longer dealing with our grandfathers and great grandfathers but the current, third and fourth generation Malaysian Indians.

9) In interim urgently setup a special Indian Focus Group to address the critical Indian issues to be headed by Chief Secretary to the Government.

10) Indian house hold income at RM 3,799.00 per month, yet again another intellectual dishonesty as at least 90% of the Indians don’t earn that kind of money.

We refer to the above matter and regret to point out once again the UMNO controlled Malaysian government’s deliberate refusal to address the critical Indian issues faced by the Malaysian Indian Community especially as per our 18 point demands to the Prime Minister dated 12/08/2007 and hand delivered to your goodselves’ Senior Private Secretary on the same day. The Malaysian Indian Community is greatly disturbed by your goodselves announcement of the UMNO government’s Mid Term Review of the Ninth Malaysian Plan (9MP) on 26/06/2008 which we deem as being vindictive as 90% of the Indians did not vote for the BN in the March 8th 2008 general elections.

By your own admission you have admitted that the Indian equity has further dropped to 1.1% in this mid term review of the 9MP from 1.5% in 1999. (NST 27/06/2008 Pg 8). We no longer accept (the failure to address the critical Indian issues ) the yearly repeat at the beginning of every new Malaysian Plan and mid term review that the policies of the UMNO government was good but it was the implementation that went wrong.

To start off with there has been zero allocation in the RM 230 Billion 9MP Budget to specifically address the aforesaid critical Indian issues as opposed to the RM 20.5 Billion allocated for the poor in Sabah under the 9MP (NST 20/06/2008/ pg 4).

Over the last 50 years the UMNO controlled government has unfairly lumped the Indians together with the economically powerful Chinese community as being the non bumi putera category in almost all government policies, allocation, economy and affirmative action plans. The latest and most evident is the replies given in Parliament on the bumi putera and non bumiputera participation in the economic sector, education, small and medium sized industries etc.

We also wish to register the intellectual dishonesty of your government in stating as a fact knowing the same not to be true that an average Indian actually earns RM 3,799.00 per month. Our estimate is that 90% of Indians do not earn this kind of money with at least 70% of the Indian population in the poor (earning below RM 1,500.00 per house hold) (NST 11/06/2008 Pg 2) and hardcore poor (earning below RM 698.00 NST 18/5/2008 Pg 26). Therefore the UMNO government’s target in this mid term review of eradicating poverty by 2010 (in 2 years time) is a near impossibility in so far as the Indian community is concerned.

Further there has been specifically zero allocation for Tamil schools and the UMNO’s controlled government skirted away from the issue by merely mentioning as usual “Tamil schools will continue to be given aid and upgraded”. The usual general and non committal game!

We suggest that UMNO stops playing “wayang kulit” shadow play and get real with the critical Indian issues as UMNO is no longer dealing with our grandfathers and great grandfathers but the current generation, third and fourth generation Malaysian Indians. In short this Mid term review of the 9MP is actually “50 year old wine but in a new bottle called the 9MP”. In the circumstances we demand for the following as we believe we have exhausted all our appeals:-

1) This mid term review of the 9MP is re-reviewed to include a : RM five (5) Billion is allocated annually and specifically to address the critical Indian issues especially as per our 18 point demands dated 12/08/2007.

2) Stop lumping the Indians together with the economically powerful Chinese as being in the non bumiputera group in all government policies, this mid term review of the 9MP and all affirmative action plans.

3) A Special Focus Group specifically for the Indians and to be headed by the Chief Secretary to the Government and to also be included in this group the Director General of the Economic planning unit, Implementation and coordinating unit, Central coordinating Unit, Secretary General of the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Senior Private Secretary to ensure the following:-

a) The 70% poverty level among the Indians is reduced to the national average of 3.6% as per the 9MP within one year.

b) To this effect RM Ten (10) Billion special allocation is made and fully utilised within the one year time period to provide RM 50,000.00 loans to the Indian poor without surety and especially for those Indians earning less than RM 3,500.00 per month providing especially small, micro and medium sized industries and creating 100,000 entrepreneurs and Indian human capital development.

c) With this RM Ten (10) Billion to help Indians purchase commercial buildings as done along the lines of UDA, Mara and Yayasan Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera etc.

d) Grant 10,000 affordable homes to the Indians within the next one year.

4) Urgently set up/form a Race Relations Commission with the view to end all forms of racism and religious extremism (along the lines of the British Race Relations Act) for a genuine and not name sake harmonious and united Malaysian society.

5) Urgently set up/form an Equal Opportunities Commission to give effect to Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and to specifically undo all the lost equal opportunities for the Indians over the last 50 years.

6) Establish/form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the critical Indian issues especially as per Hindraf’s 18 point demands to the Prime Minister dated 12/8/2007.

Your kind indulgence in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

P.Waytha Moorthy

Malaysian DPM Najib denies role in sodomy charges against Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on Monday dismissed allegations he was involved in the case of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim being accused of sodomy or having threatened his safety.

A 23-year-old aide of Anwar lodged a police report on Saturday alleging that the de facto leader of opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had sodomised him on Thursday.

Following the allegations, Anwar had sought refuge at the Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. He claimed that he had information from government sources and military intelligence that BN agents planned to harm or probably kill him, and harm members of his family and his supporters.

Najib said: "The BN (Barisan Nasional) government has never threatened his (Anwar's) life and was not involved in anything to threaten or harm politicians in Malaysia. We don't intend to do so. That is not a practice of the BN government."

Meanwhile, in a statement to the Bernama news agency, Najib said the Anwar aide is a former student of Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) while his (Najib's) officer in the photograph was responsible for, among other things, higher education.

"It is normal for guests, particularly students, who come to the office of the deputy prime minister to pose for photographs with officers as a record of their visit," he said.

Therefore, Najib said, "the allegation by Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of Anwar, that the photograph was evidence of an intention to wipe out her husband's political career is baseless and intended to shift the focus of attention away from the actual accusation".

He said Wan Azizah's issuing of the statement and distribution of the photograph could cause confusion and misinterpretation among the people.

"The police have said they will investigate the case thoroughly. We believe they will take into account all the aspects, including the various allegations made by PKR,” said Najib. - CNA/ir

Channel NewsAsia

WAN AZIZAH: Anwar will only come out if PM guarantees his safety

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will come out of hiding only if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gives his word that he will be safe.

PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said Anwar is also willing to cooperate with the police in their investigations into a recent allegation of sodomy by Anwar on one of his aides.

"If the PM gives his word, I will take it. Anwar wants to have his safety guaranteed and he deserves to be protected. This is a fundamental right," she said at a press conference.

Also signing the joint-statement were DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa.

Joseph Sipalan
NST Online

Anwar to sue sodomy accuser

Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader, has filed a lawsuit against the government to counter allegations that he sexually assaulted one of his male aides.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, filed the defamation suit in Kuala Lumpur through his lawyers on Monday.

The legal action is to clear Anwar's name amid a scandal that could tarnish his political aspirations of becoming prime minister, his lawyers said.

On Saturday a 23-year-old male aide filed a police complaint accusing Anwar of sodomising him.

Anwar, rejecting the sodomy accusation as "a complete fabrication", has been holed up in the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur since early Sunday, claiming his safety was in danger and accusing the government of trying to thwart his rising political clout.

Malaysia's foreign minister has since accused Turkey of meddling in Malaysia's internal affairs by giving refuge to an opposition leader.

Rais Yatim was quoted in local media as saying Turkey's actions were "very questionable", adding that said Anwar was being sought for a criminal investigation and therefore does not qualify for diplomatic protection.

"We will ask the ambassador to reconsider," Rais was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper on Monday.

'Political murder'

Wan Azizah Wan Ibrahim, Anwar's wife and president of the opposition Keadilan party, described the new sodomy accusation as an attempt at "political murder".

Sodomy is outlawed in Malaysia and carries a maximum 20 years jail sentence.

A similar accusation of sodomy, which Anwar claims was a trumped up charge, led to his sacking as deputy prime minister and subsequent arrest in 1998.

He was jailed for sodomy and corruption but the sodomy conviction was later overturned.

The corruption conviction however barred Anwar from holding political office until April 15 this year.

The former deputy prime minister has told Al Jazeera he will remain in the embassy until he is assured of his safety.

Police are awaiting results of medical tests on Anwar's accuser.

Abdullah Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister, denies that his government had any responsibility for the aide's accusation, saying there was no conspiracy "to cause [Anwar] trouble or harass him or raise such issues to undermine him".

Anwar has recently been stepping up a campaign to unseat Abdullah, saying he is in a position to engineer enough defections from the ruling coalition.


Anwar wants world attention, say analysts

THE Turkish embassy in Jalan U Thant that is sheltering de facto Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim — accused of sodomy for the second time — has become the focal point following the triggering of a fresh political crisis by the former deputy prime minister.

Top Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) officials did not dismiss a possible standoff between Anwar and the authorities who want to interview him in connection with the alleged sodomy of his 23-year-old aide.

Anwar had sought refuge at the embassy on the advice of party officials and at the invitation of the ambassador following death threats against him.

Till Press time, there was no sign of Anwar leaving the embassy where he has been holed up since 6am on Sunday.

It is not clear if Anwar was seeking political asylum but, in a late posting on his blog, Anwar said he would remain there until the government guaranteed his safety as well as that of his family.

This has raised questions on how the police would handle investigations into the case as they need permission to enter the embassy to interview Anwar.

Some political analysts have also warned of a possible diplomatic row if the embassy resists Malaysian authorities’ bid to carry out investigations into the allegation.

Any attempt to arrest Anwar, said the analysts, could spark off unwarranted tension.

They speculated that by seeking refuge in a foreign mission, Anwar is planning to attract world attention.

Said one analyst: “It is a very fragile situation that could get out of hand if it is not handled carefully as there is a real danger of political temperatures rising.” In his blog, Anwar added that he had not been allowed to meet the “media and friends” while seeking shelter at the embassy, adding that only “Azizah (his wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and my children” were allowed to visit him.

Attempts to get comments from Wan Azizah proved elusive. A visit to PKR headquarters in Merchant Square, Tropicana, around 9pm did not reveal the presence of any of the party’s top leaders.

However, Wan Azizah’s car was spotted leaving the premises about an hour later.

Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, also remained tight-lipped over the case.

Attempts to get her comments were rebuffed, with aides telling the Press that she was “not yet ready to speak to the media”.

Wan Azizah is expected to lodge a police report against Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail over alleged misconduct during Anwar’s trials in 1998-1999. PKR members are also expected to voice their discontent at Parliament this afternoon.

Anwar, meanwhile, said in his blog that while he was accorded a comfortable stay at the embassy, it “cannot match the comfort of home”.

He also stated that his decision to seek shelter at the embassy was related to plans to lodge police reports against two prominent government officials.

In an earlier posting from the embassy, he stated that he had evidence to prove that the two had allegedly fabricated evidence in cases launched against him in 1998.

Meanwhile, about 4pm yesterday, some 100 supporters and onlookers had, upon learning that Anwar had sought refuge in the embassy, gathered outside its grounds. Also on hand were over 40 policemen to keep the situation under control.

A roadblock, manned by four policemen, was also set up along Jalan U-Thant around 8pm. However, checks by Malay Mail until 6am showed minimal traffic entering the embassy row.

Observations also revealed no unusual activity at the embassy.

PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin told the Press that Anwar was at the embassy temporarily and that many embassies had offered him shelter.

“He has come here because he was offered this by the Turkish Embassy as he has good relations with the country.

He has not run away,” he said.

The latest accusation comes 10 years after Anwar was ousted from the government in a power struggle amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. He was convicted on both charges.

Anwar was first convicted for corruption on April 14, 1999 and jailed for six years. He should have been released on April 14, 2003 after a one-third remission but had to start serving his sentence for the sodomy offence, which the court ordered to be served consecutively.

He was freed in 2004 after the Federal Court acquitted him of the charge of sodomising his former family driver after he had served six years in jail.

Bloggers were also working overtime last night, with postings on Anwar’s decision to seek shelter at the Turkish Embassy drawing a torrent of comments and responses.

Some of the blogs also posted pictures of the aide, who had allegedly only joined Anwar three months ago as a volunteer and been promoted as personal aide recently.

Some blogs had also claimed that the man, said to be a student leader when he was at a local university, got engaged just a month ago. A picture, allegedly of him and his fiance, was also posted in some of the blogs.

The online Malaysian Insider reported that Anwar’s choice of the Turkish Embassy for protection is not surprising.

“Since his release from jail after the Federal Court overturned his conviction for sodomy in 2004, Anwar has struck a close relationship with Turkish Premier Reccep Erdogan.

“The opposition politician leaned heavily on strategists from Erdogan’s AKP in planning Pakatan Rakyat’s successful election campaign.

“This assistance was frowned upon by the government and, since then, government officials have been suspicious of Erdogan’s motives and of Anwar’s link with the AKP,” Malaysian Insider reported.

Anwar had led an alliance of opposition parties, Pakatan Rakyat, to unprecedented gains in the general election last March, wresting a third of parliamentary seats and five States from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Since then he has claimed he has the support of enough members of parliament to form a new government.

Yushaimi Yahaya and Frankie D'Cruz
Malay Mail

Malaysia pressures Turkish envoy over refuge to Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will press the Turkish ambassador to reconsider his decision to give refuge to opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim, who has said he fears for his life, a report said on Monday.

Anwar fled to the embassy on Sunday after denying allegations he sodomised a male aide, the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago.

"I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as a means to subvert the people's will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia," he said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Rais Yatim said ambassador Barlas Ozener will have to explain why he gave refuge to Anwar in a meeting at the ministry scheduled for Monday, the Star daily reported.

"We will ask the ambassador to reconsider (giving Anwar refuge) as it is meddling in Malaysia's internal affairs," Rais told the paper.

"If (Anwar) is evading any sort of preventive law like the (Internal Security Act), then it is a different matter," he added.

"But he is being sought for an investigation involving sodomy, which is a crime under the penal code," Rais said.

"When you run away from the law, it is not the same as facing some political persecution. As such, the embassy cannot grant him any sort of protection."

Anwar, a friend of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took refuge on the invitation of the ambassador.

Anwar has denounced as a "complete fabrication" a police report allegedly lodged by the 23-year-old aide, saying it was an attempt to sideline his spectacular return to the political stage.

His opposition alliance seized a third of parliamentary seats and five states in March elections that threaten to unseat Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who faces calls to quit over the polls debacle.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and convicted on sodomy and corruption charges which he said were politically motivated. He spent six years in jail but was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," Anwar said on the weekend.

The new sex charges triggered fears that Anwar faced imminent arrest, but police said they would first carry out an investigation.

- AFP/so
Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia's Anwar demands govt guarantees his safety

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who took refuge at the Turkish embassy amid threats and sodomy accusations, said on Monday he will not leave until the Malaysian government guarantees his safety.

"I need categorical assurance on my safety. You know I have previously been assaulted to near death," Anwar said, referring to a beating he received after being sacked as deputy premier and hit with sex and corruption charges in 1998.

"Sure, if they give me an assurance for my safety today I will leave the embassy today," he told AFP in a phone interview from the mission in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar fled there on Sunday at the invitation of the ambassador, saying he feared for his life after facing "fabricated" accusations that he sodomised a male aide, the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago.

"There (are) two reasons why I decided to come to the embassy, it's not just for my personal safety, it's also for the stability of the nation," he said, referring to expectations of major protests if he is arrested.

"I urge my supporters to be calm but firm. Enough is enough, we will fight it out."

Anwar said the allegations were aimed at derailing his spectacular political comeback as the figurehead of the opposition which made unprecedented gains in March elections, and came just as he was about to re-enter parliament.

"This is their intention. You know we will announce a by-election this week. I will contest in the by-election, the police knew that," he said.

After his sacking, a watershed event in Malaysian politics, Anwar was convicted on sodomy and corruption charges which landed him in jail for six years.

He was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned but the corruption conviction still stands, and prevented him from holding public office until mid-April.

He is now eligible to run for parliament and one of the lawmakers in his Keadilan party is expected to stand aside for him.

Anwar, who has said since the March elections that he has the numbers to form a new government with the help of defecting lawmakers from the ruling coalition, said he was still on track to seize power.

"The momentum is still on; I will continue to monitor the progress. It has never been so good, they know that," he said of the government which is led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's UMNO party.

"UMNO members and MPs have promised to come out and campaign for me so they come out with these sexual allegations to stop me from securing power," he said.

Anwar said that after his experiences a decade ago, he had no faith in the "due process" of the law in Malaysia, and reiterated allegations that elements in the government had orchestrated the new charges.

"Certain people in the hierarchy are involved in these allegations. Evidence from photos shows this," he said, referring to images of his accuser posing with ministers and government aides which his party has aired.

"They have made fabrications in the court. Do they want me to believe in due process?" he asked.

Anwar said that elements in the police who were involved in the original investigation against him were now acting to sideline him because they feared revenge if he becomes prime minister.

"If you want to fight a political battle, do it cleanly," he said.

- AFP/so
Channel NewsAsia

Opposition stage walk-out to protest against Najib's ministerial statement

Opposition members staged a walk-out in protest over the House's decision allowing Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make a ministerial statement in relation to the Mid-Term Review of the 9th Malaysia Plan that was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on June 26.

Their contention was that any correction or addition should be done by the Prime Minister himself.

Najib said he was doing it as he was the seconder to the tabling of the Mid-Term Review.

NST online

Parliament: DAP's Gobind banned for two days

KUALA LUMPUR: Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) was slapped with a two-day ban from the Dewan Rakyat after he refused to heed numerous reminders to sit down from the Speaker.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia had earlier told Gobind Singh not to divert his queries from the original question, which was about the lack of action on abandoned housing projects.

Pandikar Amin told him to sit down when Gobind Singh deviated his questioning to Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Ong Ka Chuan by commenting that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had to seek refuge in a foreign embassy for his safety.

After several minutes of argument, Gobind Singh was told to leave the House for two days.

Despite shouts of “Keluar” by the Barisan Nasional backbenchers and the thumping of tables, Gobind Singh continued to argue with the Chair until Pandikar Amin ordered the sergeant-at-arms to escort him out.

Gobind Singh then walked out after slamming his documents on the table.

STAR Online

Anwar files suit against former aide

KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has filed a suit against his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan for allegedly lodging a false, malicious and libellous police report against him.

The suit was filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court civil registry by Anwar’s lawyers R. Sivarasa, Ranjit Singh and William Leong at about 10.30am on Monday.

Saiful had on Saturday lodged a police report alleging that he had been sodomised by Anwar, a former deputy prime minister.

Sivarasa Rasiah, lawyer for Anwar Ibrahim talks to reporters at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Anwar has filed a lawsuit against his male aide who accused him of sodomy.

Anwar is residing at the Turkish Embassy here, saying that he fears for his life after receiving death threats.

Associated Press

Malaysia's Social Contract: An artificial tool, or the real deal

Social Contract Panellists
KUALA LUMPUR, Sat: A contract is defined as a legally binding document exchanging promises and agreement between the parties. With this in mind, the writer attended the forum on ‘Social Contract’ organised by the Bar Council.

It was reported earlier that when the forum was announced, the Kelantan People’s Action Council (“MTRK”) issued a press statement expressing their concern over the discussion on such topic. In the spirit of encouraging a discourse to foster tolerance, the Bar Council went ahead with its plan to hold the forum on 28 June 2008

The distinguished panel consisted of Dr Mavis Puthucheary (political scientist), Dr Kua Kia Soong (Director of SUARAM), lawyer Tommy Thomas, and Dr Farish Noor (political scientist). The Bar Council Secretary, Lim Chee Wee, presided over the forum, which drew massive audience of all races. The Bar Council Auditorium was packed and among those in attendance was Tn Haji Sulaiman Abdullah.

The forum was broken into 2 sessions, with a Q&A session in the end. The first session was given to Dr Mavis Puthucheary and Dr Kua Kia Soong, and the second session was allotted to Tommy Thomas and Dr Farish Noor.

In her session, Dr Mavis Puthucheary touched on the issue of Malay dominance. According to her, ethnicity dominates all aspect of life. Unwritten understandings were introduced to ensure fair representation of all races. She further stated that the Social Contract acts as a smokescreen for Malay supremacy. She mentioned that a new term has crept into mainstream society, that is “Kedaulatan Melayu”, which she asked whether this is just another form of the notion “Ketuanan Melayu”. Dr Mavis Puthucheary concluded her session by stating that she hopes the new coalition party could offer a genuine alternative to the racially divisive policies of the Barisan National.

In contrast, during his session, Dr Kua Kia Soong examined the historical background of the term Social Contract leading to independence. He said that the Social Contract has undergone 3 transformations since independence. Firstly, in 1957, where affirmative action policy was sparingly used pursuant to Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. Secondly, in 1971, when the ‘quota system’ was introduced through the amendment to Article 153. And finally, in 1986, the Social Contract was transformed when the Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi made a speech on “Ketuanan Melayu”.

Tommy Thomas also analysed the historical background of the Social Contract and suggested that the Social Contract was an exchange: for the non-Malays to get full citizenship, the non-Malays had to concede special privileges to the Malays to assist the latter to ascend the economic ladder. Tommy also suggested that the Social Contract recognised Malaysia as a plural state where neither race has to forgo its origin, belief and tradition but they must have an undivided loyalty to this country. Because of this, he explained, Malaysia is against dual-citizenship as one cannot be loyal to two countries at the same time. He concluded that, today, the Social Contract is still relevant and is substantially intact.

Dr Farish Noor shared part of Tommy’s belief that the Social Contract is redeemable. In order to move forward, we need to rely on the Social Contract as it was intended for. However, he denied being part of the Social Contract, and argued that this applies to a large number of the audience and Malaysians at large. He asked why the younger generation have to be held accountable or bound permanently by the Social Contract. He believed that the Social Contract, as it is applied now, is an artificial tool that keeps the artificial state together. It rejects the original vision of Malaysia.

After all the speakers delivered their speech, Lim Chee Wee invited the audience to pose questions to the speakers. A man who identified himself from Kelantan asked Tommy Thomas whether it is wrong for the Malays to protect their privileges. Tommy Thomas then asked him back whether there are any objective facts that show the majority Malays are threatened. Dr Farish Noor added that the population is over-represented by the Malay Muslim. He asked where the fear came from since the urban Malays no longer accept the idea that they are under threat as they live with non-Malays all the time. He suggested that the fear is unreal and is instigated by the ruling Malays, the UMNO, and it is done all for their own self protection.

The writer finds that all the speakers are consistent in their views when they said that the Social Contract now is not in its original form when it was first introduced in 1957. As we move forward as a developing nation, the Social Contract cannot avoid from being evolved and transformed with the passage of time.

In her closing speech, the President of Bar Council, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, promised the audience that there will be more forums such as this in future. The forum ended at around 1pm.

Seira Sacha Binti Abu Bakar

MCA top two bow out

Kuala Lumpur: MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and his deputy Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy will not be defending their party posts at MCA's forthcoming party elections on Oct 18.

"I have decided not to seek re-election to defend the party president's post.

It is a decision that I have thought about thoroughly after seeking the views of fellow party member for the past three months.

"It is not a hurried decision but one that I have deliberated at great length after much consultations," he said in a statement issued here Saturday.

Ong said it had been his political approach that a leader should not hold on to one's position for to long and this decision Saturday was a natural progression to what he had always advocated.

"When I took over the party's leadership in May 2003 one of my immediate actions was to amend MCA's constitution to limit a party president's term to only nine years. For Ministers, state executive councillors and local municipal councillors, their tenure limited to two general election terms," he said.

Ong further said that he had always emphasised the need for a healthy political culture in the MCA and this included the need to groom leaders as part of the party's renewal and rejuvenation process.

"The MCA also believes in the need to ensure a smooth succession plan.

Over the past six years, many young and talented MCA leaders have emerged and certainly, these party leaders must be given the opportunity to serve the country, community and party in a more effective way," he said.

Ong, who is also the former Housing and Local Government minister and currently Member of Parliament for Kulai, said the results of the March 8 General Election saw Malaysians, including the Chinese community, sending a strong message to the party.

"Certainly, the results showed the need for all of us to reflect and rethink what has taken place. The elections saw only 15 MCA Members of Parliament being elected.

"As party president, I must take responsibility for the results. As a matter of principle, I took the decision not to re-nominate myself for a Cabinet position," said Ong.

Ong also said over the last few months, he had listened and talked to party members across the nation and prepared them by indicating that no leader was indispensable and the importance of team work instead of over-relying on a personality.

"Together with my deputy, Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy, we were joined by our line-up of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other party leaders. We have spoken with one voice as a team during the road show," he said.

Ong said he would continue to serve the people and the party and will support his party colleagues in the renewal process and stressed that it was important that MCA leaders should not cling on to power.

"The party belongs to the party members. Certainly, it does not belong to any individual.

"Finally, I wish to extend my appreciation to all MCA leaders and members who have gone through thick and thin with me, especially during the general election and post-March 8 period," he said.

Meanwhile, Chan, who is currently overseas, when contacted, said he also had the same intention not to seek re-election and would make an official announcement on the matter soon.

"I have been going around the country and telling party members that I would most likely not seek re-election. However, I am waiting for the right time to make the proper announcement," he said.

With this latest development, several party leaders such as Vice-President and Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat, party Secretary-General and Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Ong Ka Chuan as well as Youth Chief and Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai are likely to be the frontrunners to contest the top two posts in October.

There is also the possibility of two former vice-presidents, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Chua Jui Meng, joining the fray.


MIC Youth chief Vigneswaran quits

SHAH ALAM: Former MIC Youth chief S. A. Vigneswaran has quit the party with immediate effect citing problems with party president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and for being forced out of his youth post before his term was up.

Vigneswaran said he had no immediate intention to join another party and also had not decided if he rejoin it if the party number one was to leave.

“I have never been a quitter and it is against my every instinct to leave the party that I loved and served for the past 25 years but I have been forced into this action,” he told a press conference here on Sunday.

He said it had become increasingly difficult for him and youth members to work of late due to the strong sentiment among the people against Samy Vellu.

“It has also become difficult for me to stay in the party now that I have realised that all that we have done has been to serve one man and not the organisation,” he claimed.

He said he would continue to work with youths through the Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation (MIYDF), which he formed over a year ago and is the chairman of, and would start meeting with related government agencies to see what role he could play.

He said he would also meet with Barisan Nasional youth chief Datuk Seri Hishamhuddin Tun Hussein to look into how they could continue to conduct programmes to benefit youths.

Angry Youth chief leaves MIC
MIC Youth chief S.A. Vigneswaran quit the party and challenged his party boss Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu to do likewise today.

Vigneswaran is angered by being forced to step down from office, announcing that he’s never a quitter but is unable to accept his removal from MIC’s top Youth post.

As a parting shot, he advised Samy Vellu to prove that he can survive without MIC or he will destroy the party.

Vigneswaran was the former parliamentary secretary for the Youth and Sports Ministry. He was elected to head the MIC Youth movement in 2002.

Once considered a Samy Vellu blue-eyed boy, his party fortunes suffered a drastic reversal after earning the unwanted tag as MIC’s biggest loser in Election 2008. He was defeated by more than 20,000 votes for the Kota Raja parliamentary seat.

Opposition Leader Anwar Again Accused Of Sodomy Amid Political Tensions

KUALA LUMPUR: Police began an investigation Sunday (29 June) into an allegation that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim sodomized his male aide, sparking speculation he could be sent back to prison on the same charge that led to his ouster from Malaysia's government a decade ago.

Anwar immediately took refuge in Turkey's embassy in Kuala Lumpur because of concerns about his safety, opposition officials said. He denounced the allegation _ made in a police complaint filed by the 23-year-old aide _ as "a complete fabrication."

The dramatic developments that began to unfold a little before midnight Saturday will have a strong impact on Malaysian politics, which have been in turmoil since March 8 elections handed the governing National Front coalition its worst-ever result.

Anwar, 60, resurrected his political career after leading the opposition to spectacular gains in those elections.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi insisted the government was not responsible for the accusation, saying there was no conspiracy "to cause (Anwar) trouble or harass him or raise such issues to undermine him."

Asked about Anwar's denial, Abdullah said it "was common for an accused person" to claim he was innocent.

Anwar said the accusation was engineered by "interested parties" to prevent him from exposing the national police chief, Musa Hassan, and the attorney general, Abdul Gani Patail, for their alleged roles in having him accused of sodomizing his driver in 1998 and abusing his power to cover up the deed.

Then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar as deputy prime minister amid those accusations. He was convicted on both charges, but Malaysia's highest court overturned the sodomy conviction and freed him in 2004.

Anwar has always insisted he was framed to prevent him from challenging Mahathir for power. Anwar said he "recently obtained" evidence to show Musa and Abdul Gani fabricated evidence against him in 1998.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," Anwar said in a statement early Sunday.

Bakri Zinin, the federal police chief for criminal investigations, said the aide filed a complaint Saturday (28 June) claiming that Anwar had sodomized him in a condominium in an upscale Kuala Lumpur suburb.

Bakri indicated Anwar faced no immediate threat of arrest, stressing police had just begun their investigation.

"We want to establish the allegation first to see whether there is truth or not," Bakri told a news conference. "We will conduct a thorough investigation and be fair to both sides."

Prominent political blogger Ahirudin Attan posted a transcript of the police complaint, in which the man claimed Anwar sodomized him "without my consent" Thursday. He indicated it was not the first time, adding the complaint was meant to "obtain defense and justice for myself."

Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by 20 years' imprisonment in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Anwar moved to the Turkish Embassy early Sunday amid concerns about being arrested and claims of anonymous death threats, said party official Azmin Ali.

"The (Turkish) ambassador agreed to ensure his safety," Azmin said. Embassy officials could not immediately be contacted.

The People's Justice Party identified the accuser as Anwar's assistant, who started working for him in March.

Anwar claimed the allegation was "clearly a desperate attempt by the ... regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people toward freedom, democracy and justice."

The National Front coalition lost its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority in March, returning to power with only a simple majority, and ceded control of five of Malaysia's 13 states to Anwar's three-party opposition alliance.

Anwar did not run in the March elections because his corruption conviction barred him from holding political office for five years. The ban ended in April, and Anwar has indicated he wants to re-enter Parliament through a by-election, which would make him eligible to become prime minister.

Associated Press

Malaysia's Anwar seeks refuge at embassy after sex allegations

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim took refuge at the Turkish embassy Sunday after denying allegations he sodomised a male aide, the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago.

The former deputy prime minister denounced as a "complete fabrication" a police report allegedly lodged by the 23-year-old aide, and said it was an attempt to sideline his spectacular return to the political stage in March elections.

He said threats had been made against him and that since Sunday he has taken refuge at the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur on the invitation of the ambassador.

"The police report lodged against me earlier 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," he said.

"I have been told that my assassination has not been ruled out as a means to subvert the people's will and bring an end to the transformational changes taking place in Malaysia," he said in a statement.

The new sex charges triggered fears Anwar faced imminent arrest, but police said they would first carry out an investigation.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and convicted on sodomy and corruption charges which he said were politically motivated.

He spent six years in jail but was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned.

"These actions are being repeated today to undermine the forces of reform and renewal which were unleashed in the March 2008 elections," Anwar said, dismissing the affair as a "charade".

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose government was shaken by the elections that handed the opposition unprecedented gains including a third of parliamentary seats, denied any involvement in the affair.

"We had no plans to do anything to him just because he says he's made a political comeback," Abdullah told a press conference.

Criminal Investigation Department chief Bakri Zinin said the aide had personally written the report detailing an incident at a condominium in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb.

"It's mere allegation at this point. We will look into it and establish the allegations first to see whether it is true or not," he told reporters.

Anwar said the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was striking back after he gave evidence against the government and police over the fabrication of evidence in the original case against him.

"I urge the Malaysian people to stand against the repressive forces that will be unleashed by the government in the coming days and weeks," he said.

Since the March polls, Anwar has said he is poised to form a new government with the help of defectors from the ruling coalition, undermining Abdullah who has faced repeated demands to step down over the election debacle.

Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail accused the government of orchestrating the allegations which she condemned as "a political murder against my husband".

She produced a photograph of the aide with a staff member of a senior politician and said it proved a link with the government, which was trying to divert attention away from problems such as fuel price hikes.

About 100 supporters gathered at a hotel where Anwar's Keadilan party leaders were meeting, shouting "Reformasi" or "Reform," the opposition movement's battlecry."We will take to the streets if they arrest him," said social activist Marvin Madahvan.

James Chin, a political analyst from Malaysia's Monash campus, said more mud-slinging would emerge as the date approaches by which Anwar said he would seize power.

"As we head towards September 16, Anwar's own deadline on when he will topple the government, more and more political things will be coming out of the closet from both sides," he told AFP.

"In all probability, these sorts of events are designed to distract the population from real issues such as the slowdown in the economy and the rising fuel prices." - AFP/vm

Channel NewsAsia

Abolish the Internal Security Act in Malaysia!!!

1. The Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) and all other laws which provide for detention without trial are obnoxious and oppressive instruments of state maintained by the ruling government as instruments of control over our public life and civil society.

2. Similar laws like the ISA giving power to detain without trial were first enacted by our British colonisers to oppress, intimidated and control our people in their struggles during the earlier part of this century against British exploitation of our resources and in our fight for our independence. The British then detained thousands of nationalists fighters without trial and also executed some of them.

3. Laws such as the ISA which allow the government to use the police to detain a person indefinitely without trail would not have been tolerated by British citizens at home. But of course, a foreign and colonised population was another matter.

4. Internationally accepted human rights standards all recognise that one of the most important protections for individuals' liberty and personal protection is the right not to be detained or punished in any way without a fair and public trial. All the major religions which are practised in Malaysia recognise this very basic and fundamental right and condemn its violation. Any person with any sense of moral right will agree that detention without trial is an immoral and cruel practice. It means the severe punishment of detention is handed out without having to prove any offence. Since detention without trial means that there is no access to court or lawyers, frequently the detainee is subjected to mental and physical torture. For authoritarian leaders, detention without trial is very convenient for instilling fear and controlling a people.

5. Unfortunately, after our country's independence in 1957, our own leaders imitated their British predecessors, then recreated laws like the ISA in 1960 allowing them to detain a person indefinitely without trial. The ISA was then used to detain and abuse thousands of our people of all races, religions and walks of life in the last few decades. In the sixties, the labour movement and political opposition were attacked systematically using the ISA. In the seventies, besides trade unionists and political activists, leaders of the then active student movements were also attacked using this law.

6. The use of the ISA has continued through the eighties and nineties. We stand here today on the 10th anniversary of an infamous round of arrests of over a hundred Malaysians in "Operasi Lalang" crackdown which started on 27 October 1987. Those arrests included persons such as the Leader of the Opposition and a wide range of political, religious, social and environmental activists. No credible evidence of any wrong doing has ever been produced against those detained as with all other ISA detainees in the past. The detainees were simply the victims of the iron claws of politicians abusing power entrusted to them.

7. Malaysians stand here today to remember all physical, mental and other abuses inflicted on all the detainees in the past. Detainees have been kept in the past for long periods in solitary confinement without access to lawyers, family members or friends and subjected to physical and mental torture.

8. In Malaysia, our government has detained people without trial for continuous periods of up to sixteen years. Such detentions are a shame in our history akin to the injustices perpetrated by the apartheid regime in South Africa using an identical ISA against its own people.

9. Malaysians stand here to honour and remember every person who has been detained without trial as a victim of human rights violation. Not only is he or she made a victim, his or her family and loved ones are all made victims. And through fear - the main purpose of the ISA and other similar laws - our society is also made a victim.

10. Although it is the most infamous law, the ISA is unfortunately not the only law in Malaysia that allows the government to detain people without trail. In 1969, the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 was enacted followed by the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act in 1985. These laws have also been used to detain thousands of Malaysians without trial for alleged criminal offences. They violate the most basic of moral and human rights precepts - that no one should be punished without clear public proof in a court. Our criminal justice system is completely contradictory and discriminatory; we give alleged murderers and rapists a trial - but detain without compunction thousands of other without trial. Detention periods under these laws are also lengthy and punitive. The detentions are under the complete control of the police and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Since there is no public scrutiny of the detentions by the courts, one can expect much abuse to happen to the detainees and their families.

11.Malaysians stand collectively here today to demand that the Malaysian government rid our beloved country of the shame and injustice perpetrated by the existence and use of such laws. Not only must we remove these laws, we must also remove Article 149 of our Constitution which gives legitimacy to such obnoxious laws. Our moral exhortations to and condemnations of other countries in the world must be backed by consistent actions in our own country.

12. Malaysians ask our government to emulate what the South African nation has proudly accomplished very recently. The people of South Africa have repealed their previous apartheid constitution and have promulgated a new constitution based on equality with guarantees of freedom. Consistent with that, they have repealed completely in 1994 their identical ISA which was used regularly to detain their citizens.

Malaysians call upon the government to:
a) repeal the ISA and all other laws allowing for detention without trial;
b) release all detainees held under such laws or charge them in open court for any alleged offences.