MALACCA, Malaysia (AFP) — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim toured Malaysia over the weekend in a bid to revive his ambitions of seizing power despite his arrest on sodomy allegations — the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago.
Dressed in his trademark blue batik shirt, Anwar travelled to the government-held states of Malacca, Pahang and Johor to build support and momentum after last week’s explosive events, when he spent a night in police custody over the accusations levelled by a 23-year-old male aide.
“The government knows that if not for these sodomy allegations, I would be on my way into parliament by now,” he told a crowd of more than 5,000 conservative Muslim supporters in Jasin, a village near the tourist town of Malacca.
“I tell you now that I will be contesting in a by-election,” he told the crowd, to yells of “Allahu akbar” or “God is greater.”
A return to parliament would be the next step in the political rehabilitation of Anwar, who was sacked as deputy premier in 1998 and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges. [more]