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Wednesday, Sept 16
Malaysia's Anwar expects to be arrested after Commonwealth Games

HONG KONG, Sept 16 (AFP) - Sacked Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said Wednesday that a third of his close associates had been arrested, and he expected to be detained after the Commonwealth Games.

Anwar told the BBC's East Asia Today programme that his former private secretary at the finance ministry was the latest aide to be arrested.

He accused Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of waging a campaign to ''harass (me) by arresting my friends and my staff and my family members.''

Asked if he expected to be picked up, Anwar said: ''The idea is to wait until the Queen of England leaves Kuala Lumpur at the end of the games.''

Queen Elizabeth II is due to take part in the closing ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games in the Malaysian capital on Monday.

Anwar was sacked as deputy premier and finance minister by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on September 2, and subsequently expelled from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).

He faces allegations ranging from sexual impropriety, bribery and jeopardising national security to interferring with police investigations, abuse of power and sedition but he says they are part of a high-level conspiracy.

Anwar, who has been touring the country since his dismissal calling for reform, dismissed the allegations as ''asburd.''

''These are very serious allegations indeed and they could not have happened without the approval of the highest authorities in the land.

''That could only prove my earlier assertion that there is a high-level political conspiracy against me and that the allegations are a series of fabrications,'' he told the BBC, monitored in Hong Kong.

Anwar said his supporters had been contacted by prostitutes who said they had been threatened by the authorities with detention if they did not give evidence against him.