Malaysia opens Anwar probe over unity slogan jibe
Tue, Jun 08, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's parliament launched an inquiry Tuesday into opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim that could see him suspended from the house after he criticised a government racial unity slogan.

Anwar was accused of "misleading" parliament for suggesting the "One Malaysia" slogan promoted by Prime Minister Najib Razak was copied from the "One Israel" alliance of ex-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak in 1999.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel and is a supporter of the Palestinians.

Anwar, who is currently on trial on sodomy charges that risk up to 20 years in jail, said the move to refer him to the parliamentary disciplinary panel was "political".

"It is meant to curb my activities, particularly my freedom to express my views in parliament," he told reporters after testifying at the inquiry, where he also complained of being denied legal representation.

Anwar was sacked in 1998 and convicted on sodomy and corruption charges but was released in 2004 after the sexual misconduct count was overturned, allowing him to make a comeback to politics as the leader of a reinvigorated opposition.

The opposition made huge strides in the 2008 election, prompting Najib to reach out to Chinese and Indian minorities - who deserted the ruling coalition in the poll - under the inclusive "One Malaysia" agenda.




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