Monday, August 25, 2008

Anwar planning to induce defections by legislators

PERMATANG PAUH, Malaysia: The Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he has no qualms about toppling the government with legislative defections, saying the country cannot afford to wait four years for the next elections to bring about change.

"Four years will be disastrous for the economy, the political system, the judiciary," Anwar said late Saturday.

Anwar will contest a local election Tuesday in the northern district of Permatang Pauh for a seat in Parliament. He is expected to win easily despite facing an imminent trial on the charge of sodomizing a male aide, a crime punishable by as much as 20 years in jail.

Anwar's aides say at least 30 lawmakers in the governing coalition intend to defect if he enters Parliament. A former deputy prime minister with ambitions for the top job, Anwar has said he will bring down the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by Sept. 16.

A government minister dismissed the claim.

continue here: International Herald Tribune, France