Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim says police probe into list of backers for PM bid 'malicious'

Malaysia's politician Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an interview with Reuters in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Feb 6, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

Malaysia ’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said a police investigation into a list that purports to show lawmakers backing his bid for the premiership was a “malicious” attempt to pressure him into revealing the identities of his supporters.

Police summoned Anwar to assist with a probe into the distribution of the list of 121 lawmakers who allegedly back his bid to take over as prime minister from Muhyiddin Yassin . The list has been circulated on social media.

Anwar, who spent about two hours giving a statement to investigators on Friday, said only the king had the right to know the full details of lawmakers who he says are backing him to give majority support in parliament.

“I’m not here to cooperate with the political masters to give names, because it is not their business. It’s between me and His Highness, the Agong,” Anwar told reporters outside Bukit Aman police headquarters, using the Malay term for the king.

“It’s clearly malicious. It’s clearly a political harassment and clearly from my understanding there is a political instruction to the police.”

He also told reporters that he was under investigation by the police for six cases, including an allegation of sodomy.

The police in a statement on Saturday denied there had been any political pressure.

“The investigation was conducted in a professional manner without any political pressure or instructions from any parties,” it said.

Anwar on Tuesday met King Al-Sultan Abdullah to present documentation in a bid to prove he has a “convincing” parliamentary majority to form a new government.

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But the palace later said Anwar had only provided the number of lawmakers who he said backed his bid to become prime minister and not their identities, and urged him to respect the constitutional process.

The police statement confirmed Anwar is being investigated for six cases, including a sodomy allegation and for making a claim that Muhyiddin’s administration has fallen due to lack of parliamentary support.

Anwar, who spent nearly 10 years in jail on sodomy charges he denied, said on Friday that he regarded the sodomy allegation as a political plot to pressure him at a crucial time.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.