Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Malaysia's Anwar says Sept. 16 date may not be met

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim may not meet his planned Sept. 16 date for winning power due to a trip overseas by almost 50 government MPs, a newspaper quoted him on Wednesday as saying.

'After discussion with (opposition coalition partners) PAS and DAP, the date can be postponed even though our target was September 16 previously,' Anwar was quoted as saying in the Star.

The comments were made after late night prayers on Tuesday, the paper said.

No-one from Anwar's coalitition, which comprises his own Keadilan party, the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP), was immediately available for comment on the report.

Anwar has to win the defection of 30 government MPs to have a majority in the 222-strong Malaysian parliament. At present his coalition has 82 seats.

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition this week sent around 50 of its MPs on a study trip to Taiwan, a move which Anwar said was aimed at preventing him from convincing them to switch sides.

Anwar is due in court at 9:30 a.m. (0130 GM) to face charges of sodomy, which he denies and says are politically motivated. He is likely to be bailed again and the case moved to the High Court.

(Reporting by David Chance; Editing by Alex Richardson)