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Malaysia says police done with Anwar investigation PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 August 2008

REUTERS, KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police have finished investigating a sodomy complaint against opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, the government said on Thursday, and a security official told Reuters he will soon be formally charged.

The allegations against Anwar, who is gearing up to run for a parliamentary seat in a northern state, have added to months of political uncertainty in the country, rattling investors and denting confidence.

Home (Interior) Minister Syed Hamid Albar said Anwar had not been charged as yet, but that a police investigation was finished.

"The investigations have been completed and the papers sent to the attorney-general for further action, but I do not know what is the content of the investigation," Syed Hamid told reporters.

But a security source told Reuters that Anwar faced an imminent formal charge. "It should be at anytime now," the source said, declining to be identified.

Anwar says the sodomy allegations by a former aide are a political ploy to push back a rising wave of public support for the opposition, which scored its best ever result in elections earlier this year.

Even between consenting adults, sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison in mainly Muslim Malaysia.

Anwar on Thursday played down the charges hanging over him as his wife announced she was resigning as a lawmaker to allow her husband to run for her seat.

"Why should I be charged, for what?" Anwar told reporters. "They have gone there for one month of fishing expedition and have not caught any fish."

Anwar will contest a by-election in Permatang Pauh, a semi-rural enclave in northern Penang state. He held the seat from 1982 until he was jailed in 1999 for corruption and sodomy. His wife has occupied the seat since then.

Some political observers believe Anwar's legal woes could result in the opposition alliance coming unstuck and derail its efforts to win power for the first time in Malaysian history.

The opposition needs just 30 more seats to win a simple majority and form the government. It won a record 82 seats in the 222-seat lower house of parliament in the March general election.

On Thursday Anwar repeated an earlier pledge to form a new government by September.

"As far as i am concerned it's still on track," he said.

If Anwar is charged for sodomy, it could trigger a replay of events in 1998 when his jail sentence for sodomy and corruption sullied Malaysia's reputation for upholding rule of law.

Anwar was sacked by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998 and jailed on what he says were fabricated charges of corruption and sodomy.

A court quashed the sodomy charges and freed Anwar from jail in 2004, soon after he finished serving a corruption sentence.

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