(KeADILan) leader demands gov’t guarantee his safety
Posted June 30, 2008on:
|Jun 30, 08 11:53am|
|Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who took refuge at the Turkish embassy amid threats and sodomy accusations, said today he will not leave until the 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 Kuala Lumpur.
Anwar fled there on Sunday at the invitation of the ambassador, saying he had been threatened and feared a government assassination plot after facing “fabricated” accusations that he sodomised a male aide.
“There’s 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 PKR is expected to stand aside for him.
Still on track to seize power
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.
Photos: Anwar with PKR leaders on hearing about the police report lodged by his aide, Saiful. (Source: Anwar’s blog).