Malaysia PM says Anwar plotted to topple him
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
sacked deputy Anwar Ibrahim had plotted to topple him while putting on a friendly face, local
newspapers reported on Saturday.
In the first detailed accusations against Anwar's alleged plan to oust
him, Mahathir said on Friday
that his former protege had planned to take control of parts of the United Malays National
Organisation (UMNO) party as part of the bid for power.
"He appeared to be very good to me but he was actually planning ways
of bringing me down. At first
I did not believe when people told me about this, but I now know this to be true," the national
Bernama news agency quoted him as telling reporters in his northern home state of Kedah.
Anwar also kept records of party leaders which were to be used to incriminate
and topple them at
UMNO's triennial party elections next year, Mahathir said.
"This is the real conspiracy," he said.
Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister on September
2, and as UMNO
member a day later.
Mahathir said Anwar was morally unfit to lead the country. The sacked
minister faces five charges of
sodomy and another five of abusing power.
Anwar had pleaded not guilty to the charges and had repeatedly said
there was a conspiracy among
top UMNO leaders to remove him.
Mahathir is the president of UMNO, the dominant party in the ruling
National Front coalition.
UMNO's president is traditionally appointed as the prime minister.
Mahathir said Anwar was not sincere when he said he would not challenge for the president's post.
Meanwhile, the drumbeat of criticism continued against the government
for the use of the draconian
Internal Security Act to arrest Anwar and his closest aides.
Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said on Saturday the cabinet should
address the adverse
international image of Malaysia and take measures to restore the country's standing by releasing
Anwar and the other detainees.
"The cabinet... should address the adverse international image of Malaysia
and take emergency
measures to restore the nation's international standing by the immediate release of Anwar and all
other detainees under the Internal Security Act," Lim said in a statement.
The government should also commission "a completely independent inquiry
into Anwar's allegations
of police brutality against him on the first night of his arrest on September 20," the statement said.
Anwar alleged he was punched and slapped while blindfolded while in
custody, which bruised his left
The government has set up a team of senior police officers to investigate the claims.
The Bar Council, which groups Malaysian lawyers, said those detained
under the ISA should be
immediately released and the act repealed.
"The Bar Council has always maintained that the ISA is an oppressive
piece of legislation and
condemns the continued use of this draconian legislation," it said in a statement on Saturday.
"In the meanwhile, the Bar Council also calls upon the government to
accord persons detained under
the ISA the right to know the reasons for their detention and to inform the families of the same; the
right to have unimpeded access to counsel, and the right to have reasonable and regular visits from
their families," the council said.
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