Charges may derail Anwar Ibrahim’s campaign

ABC, Radio Australia

Malaysia’s opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim will be charged with sodomy later today.

A statement from Malaysian police said prosecutors had decided to charge Anwar with “carnal intercourse against the course of nature”. The move will potentially derail Datuk Seri Anwar’s plans to return to parliament and to oust the government through MP defections. The former deputy prime minister has consistently denied allegations he had sex with a male aide, saying the accusation was aimed at derailing his political comeback.

Presenter: Steve Holland
Speakers: Anwar Ibrahim, Keadilan leader, Wan Azizah Ismail, parliamentarian and wife of Anwar Ibrahim

HOLLAND: The constituency of Permatang Pauh, an industrial area in northern Penang state is the scene of a political battle. The community is divided. It’s difficult to find anyone who will share their political leanings in an area where conflicting views of such a topic can result in volence.

But 28-year old Jo Wahim, a street vendor provides an insight and the accusations against Anwar Ibrahim won’t affect his choice:

HOLLAND: And you don’t believe what thay say about him?

JO: Yeah. I don’t believe them.

HOLLAND: So you’ll vote for him?

JO: Yeah I’ll vote for him, I’ll vote for Anwar in this place we can talk about him … this politics makes people agree with me ok, I’m in business.

HOLLAND: So if I speak to you about politics people don’t like it?

JO: People don’t like.

HOLLAND: Anwar Ibrahim’s wife, Wan Azizah Ismail last week vacated the seat of Permatang Pauh opening the door for her husband’s return to parliament.

HOLLAND: How do you respond to criticism which suggests that you may have let down voters by resigning from your former post? [more]

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