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Wednesday, Sept 23
Anwar to face court soon, says Mahathir
By Brendan Pereira

KUALA LUMPUR: FORMER deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be charged in court for sodomy soon, despite being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for instigating and trying to recreate Indonesian-style riots in Kuala Lumpur, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday.

The only remaining question: When? And that answer can be provided only by the police and public prosecutors who are anxious to wrap up the case, he said, at an hour-long press conference. Dr Mahathir said that from day one, Datuk Seri Anwar has courted arrest under the ISA, which allows for detention without trial.

He criss-crossed the country speaking at illegal assemblies, delivered inflammatory speeches in mosques and vilified the police as a Gestapo force.

"Anwar's greatest fear is to be charged in court. Then all will be revealed. He wants to be arrested under the ISA so that he can accuse the government of being oppressive and dictatorial," he said, adding that the police were determined not to fall into his trap. On Sunday, they had to jettison their plan.

Replaying the events, Dr Mahathir said the former DPM took on the role of rebel rouser and delivered an inflammatory speech at the National Mosque, urging his supporters "to riot, to be violent and attack certain places".

"It is clear that he was working up emotions in order to develop the situation that was found in Indonesia, where the people rioted daily and tried to obstruct normal life in the city. They hoped that with that they can overthrow the government, in particular, overthrow me, which is not of great consequence anyway, since I am already 73 years old and I can't last forever."

He said there was evidence that Datuk Seri Anwar was trying to instigate an uprising in other parts of Malaysia and that others were in league with him, including several Umno leaders. Thirteen people have been arrested under the ISA. The latest to be detained included Lumut Umno Youth chief Dr Zamberi Abdul Kadir and Cheras Umno head Tamunif Mokhtar.

Dr Mahathir also revealed that allegations of his protege's involvement in homosexuality emerged several years ago when the former Inspector-General of Police Tun Haniff Omar mentioned it. Like many Malaysians today, the Prime Minister said that he thought it ridiculous. Even when the talk resurfaced last year, he dismissed it as an attempt by some people to end Datuk Seri Anwar's career.

But following investigations into the book, 50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Be PM, concrete evidence started surfacing. "I had incontrovertible proof that it was true before I believed."

Much of it was provided by interviews with the men whom the former number two was alleged to have sodomised and women he had sex with.

"I told them 'Look if you are being forced into making a confession, tell me. I will protect you.' Several of them said that he was not fit to be the prime minister," he recalled.

But he became a believer only because of the type of information he had access to. He was under no illusions on the job ahead for him and Umno members.

Shifting uncomfortably, he replied: "It is difficult for me to explain. It will be difficult for them to explain. I tell you what the police tell me. They had not only performed sodomy. During the process, he was, I don't know what you call it. He was masturbating the man.

"Do I go around the town or the world telling that this is what my deputy was doing. This is what the man told the police. This behaviour is despicable."

He said that Datuk Seri Anwar had hoped that the shame felt by his partners would prevent them from speaking up. But his gamble backfired.

Late last night, Deputy Home Minister Tajol Rosli Ghazali said that Datuk Seri Anwar will be charged in court by this week.