Malaysian police probing opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim over six cases

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

KUALA LUMPUR - 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 on Saturday (Oct 17), Federal Criminal Investigation Department Director Datuk Huzir Mohamed said that the police recorded a statement from Datuk Seri Anwar on 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 in 2020.

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 this year. PN has 113 MPs in the 222-strong House.

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.

"We urge the people to give us space so that we can carry out this investigation in a transparent and fair manner," they said.

Mr Anwar is also being investigated for comments he had made at a press conference after an audience with Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah on Tuesday, during which he provided documentation to back his majority claim.

Another separate probe is for sodomy, an offence that Mr Anwar has been convicted of twice previously. Police didn't 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 on 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 on 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.

Meeting with reporters after giving his statement to the police on Friday, Mr Anwar criticised the men in blue to asking him questions about the list of MPs said to be backing his bid to form a new government.

“I gave the fullest cooperation to the police. But what is mind-boggling is that why focus on the 121 names of the Members of Parliament?" Mr Anwar said.

“I am not here to cooperate with their political masters to give names. It is not their business. It is between me and His Highness, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King), ” he said.