Anwar Says Malaysia Government To Fall By Tuesday
The three-party opposition alliance can seize power if at least 30 members of Parliament defect from the National Front coalition, and Anwar said he would fly overseas if necessary to meet with lawmakers he hopes to lure to his side.
He has vowed for several months to take power by Sept. 16.
About 50 National Front lawmakers left for a farming study tour in Taiwan earlier this week amid opposition accusations that coalition leaders had sent them there to keep them away from Anwar and to dissuade some of them from defecting.
Anwar claims to have made tacit pacts with dozens of lawmakers in recent months, and insisted that he was still "very much" on track for his target date of next Tuesday.
"We're working on it," Anwar told reporters. "There are technical problems because (the lawmakers) have been shipped away. ... God-willing, it will (still) happen. If need be, I will fly to Taipei."
The government has denied the tour is politically motivated.
Anwar, who is battling a charge that he sodomized his 23-year-old former male aide, made the comments after a Sessions Court delayed a preliminary hearing for his sodomy trial.
Government prosecutors said Wednesday they wanted to transfer the case to a higher court because it had attracted widespread interest, including from international observers.
Anwar's lawyers objected, saying the current judge was sufficiently qualified. The court will hear formal arguments from both sides Sept. 24 before making a decision.
Anwar is charged with allegedly sodomizing Saiful Bukhari Azlan — the second such accusation in a decade for the former deputy premier, who was ousted in 1998 amid charges that he sodomized his family driver. A court overturned that sodomy conviction in 2004.
Anwar reiterated Wednesday the latest charge was "treacherous and malicious," and accused the prosecution of having "no intention to proceed except with the instructions from their political masters." The government has denied any conspiracy against Anwar.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has pledged to foil Anwar's attempt to unseat the National Front, which has governed Malaysia for 51 years but suffered its worst electoral result ever in March national polls.
The National Front won 140 seats in the 222-member Parliament, losing its two-thirds majority for the first time since 1969.
Anwar won a by-election last month that enabled him to re-enter Parliament and to become prime minister if his alliance takes power. (International Herald Tribune)