Malaysia's Anwar eyes parliamentary seats: party
Thursday, 31 July 2008

Reuters, Kuala Lampur- Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim plans to run for parliament, his party said on Tuesday, as he seeks to sustain an opposition drive to unseat the government that appears to lose momentum.

Anwar, who is facing a criminal investigation over sodomy allegations, would contest in either the Kulim Bandar Baharu seat in northern Kedah state or Bandar Tun Razak near the Malaysian capital, said People's Justice Party spokesman Tian Chua.

The Kulim seat was won by a member of Anwar's party in the March election but the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party wants the court to disqualify him on the grounds that he did not submit his account of expenditure after the last poll in 2004, Chua said.

"If the seat's empty we need someone to go and stand and he should be in parliament," Chua said, adding that the court would hear the case on Aug 19.

Anwar, a former deputy premier turned de facto opposition leader, is leading an effort by the opposition to win power for the first time in Malaysian history.

Public anger against rising prices and political scandals involving the government have eroded the ruling coalition's popularity but a recent sodomy allegation against Anwar could derail the opposition's rise, some analysts have said.

Anwar was barred from running for public office until this April because of a conviction for corruption. He 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 September 2004, soon after he finished serving the corruption sentence. Anwar has dismissed the latest sodomy allegation as a political conspiracy to thwart the opposition.

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