Anwar under police probe over list of backers, sodomy

The police recorded a statement from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Oct 16.
The police recorded a statement from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Oct 16.PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysian police are investigating opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for his role in six cases, including the circulation of a purported list of Members of Parliament who he claimed are backing his bid to become prime minister.

In a statement yesterday, Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Huzir Mohamed said that the police recorded a statement from Datuk Seri Anwar last Friday.

The former deputy prime minister is being investigated for disturbing public order in relation to the list, among other things.

The list purportedly identifies 121 MPs who are backing Mr Anwar's bid to form a new parliamentary majority and become Malaysia's third prime minister this year.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government hold a narrow two-seat majority after leading mass defections from the Pakatan Harapan coalition to form the PN government in March.

Several MPs, whose names were on the list, had lodged police reports while denying they backed Mr Anwar.

"So far, we have received 113 police reports pertaining to this matter," the police said.

Mr Anwar is also being investigated for comments he had made at a press conference after an audience with Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, last Tuesday.

Another separate probe is for sodomy, an offence that Mr Anwar has been convicted of twice previously. The police did not say what the sodomy investigation is about.

Mr Anwar's audience with Sultan Abdullah did not immediately result in him succeeding in his bid to become prime minister, with the King expected to verify his claims with several party leaders after partial coronavirus lockdowns end later this month.

Mr Anwar last Friday said that he refused to divulge the actual list of his backers to the police, as the matter was between him and the King.

The Royal Palace last Tuesday said that while Mr Anwar did furnish the number of MPs who purportedly backed him, he did not disclose the names of the MPs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2020, with the headline 'Anwar under police probe over list of backers, sodomy'. Print Edition | Subscribe