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Thursday, Sept 17
Allegations all false, says devoted wife
By GREG TORODE (South China Morning Post)

KUALA LUMPUR: On the day her husband was portrayed in Malaysia's newspapers as a rampant sodomite and serial adulterer, Dr Wan Azizah was standing firmly behind her man.

Dressed in a long, loose Muslim dress and head cowl, Dr Azizah spoke quietly but firmly of her faith in the man who is the father of her six children.

"It is all false . . . there is no basis to any of these allegations," she said as hundreds of supporters flocked to the couple's house in central Kuala Lumpur.

"I married him for the man that he is and what he stands for . . . these are not just politically correct statements, they are true.

"My hope is that we just get out of this mess . . . If the second man within the country can be convicted like this then I am sad for my country."

Dr Azizah said she was worried how she and her children would cope if her husband was held at length under Malaysia's strong, British-inspired internal security laws that allow for detention without trial.

She also feared possible violence if the clamour for reform spiralled out of control.

"I wouldn't want blood to be shed," she said, adding her weight to calls for peaceful and legal demands for change.

"That would be too high a price."

Her husband has stressed he fears his arrest is imminent following his sacking and the expulsion on Thursday from the ruling party and yesterday warned that "hundreds would follow" if he was taken in.

His predicament follows allegations of illegal sexual misconduct and treason that Mr Anwar claims are an orchestrated litany of lies cooked up by supporters of his one-time mentor, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Of all the allegations raised in affidavits filed in the High Court on Thursday relating to a case concerning Mr Anwar's tennis partner, it was the claim that he betrayed the nation that hurt the most, Dr Azizah said.

Rejecting comparisons between herself and the plight of US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, she said simply: "She has a very different husband."