Sodomy-accused Ibrahim slams ‘corrupt’ Malaysian regime

Malaysia's Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has denied he ensured fresh sodomy claims were made against him in order to gain sympathy.

ABC News

He is due to face court in July after having a conviction overturned on earlier charges of sodomy for which he went to jail in 1998.

But Mr Ibrahim has told ABC Radio's Sunday Profile program the new charges are not a political ploy on his part.

"I have a wife and six children. I went through hell. I don't play this game of gutter politics," he said.

"I was even harassed, as you know, stripped naked again and then thrown into this police lock-up and had to suffer a complete night on the cement with my bad back. This was done by a corrupt and oppressive regime."

Mr Ibrahim accuses the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, of direct involvement in fabricating the case against him.

"The issue that we have established is number one; medical records state to the contrary, nothing happened, no penetration, but still they insisted on pursuing with the case," he said.

"Secondly that this officer, this particular volunteer, is linked to the Deputy Prime Minister's office, paid by his office's staff.

"He met Datuk Najib, who is now the Prime Minister, met this officer on Monday and then arranged for a report, a meeting with the police on Wednesday, he met me on Thursday, this volunteer and on Friday he made the report to the police, to the police about the sodomy.

"So the link to Najib is clear."

'Vocal opposition'

The former deputy prime minister of Malaysia has some optimism for the future of political opposition in the country though.

He says people are now more willing to stand up to the government.

"They are more vocal, they have more courage now," he said.

"I think not all members of the judiciary would like to repeat the process and be condemned by Malaysians and by the international community as being lackeys of the ruling corrupt clique."

Mr Ibrahim's opposition People's Justice Party party is one of three major opposition parties, along with the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party and the Islamic Party .

He says all the Opposition parties are committed to knocking the ruling UMNO party out of power and strengthening freedom of speech and the rule of law.

"You have to accept the fact that there is a widespread clamour for change," he said.

"Had the elections on 8 March [2008] been fair and free we would have won as seen from the results on 8 March. Now it did not happen because the electorate process is clearly fraudulent."

The Government is guilty of playing "gutter politics" and using xenophobic language to try and scare the electorate, Mr Ibrahim said.

"You see this during the last UMNO general assembly, giving threats at those people, those immigrants, making unreasonable demands, appealing to the Malay sentiments," he said.

"I think the whole strategy of the UMNO, lead by Najib, is to deflect attention on issues of governance, of corruption, of increasing crime and complicity in many of the allegations of crime that's committed by the ruling clique and saying that the Malays are now under threat."