Police probe Anwar over bid to become PM

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Police called him in for questioning following complaints from lawmakers whose names were included in a viral list of those supposedly backing him.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Police called him in for questioning following complaints from lawmakers whose names were included in a viral list of those supposedly backing him.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian police questioned Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday over his push to topple the government and become prime minister, with him slamming the probe as "political harassment".

He announced last month that he had garnered enough support from MPs to seize power from a shaky, seven-month-old coalition led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Datuk Seri Anwar met the Malaysian King, who appoints the prime minister, on Tuesday to make his case, although Tan Sri Muhyiddin has dismissed his challenge and others have raised doubts about whether he has the backing.

Mr Anwar was seen as the prime minister-in-waiting until a reformist government, of which he was a leading member, collapsed in February amid bitter infighting.

Police called Mr Anwar in for questioning following complaints from lawmakers whose names were included in a viral list of those supposedly backing him. Mr Anwar said police had asked him to hand over the list of MPs but he refused on the grounds that only Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah has a right to see it. "What is mind-boggling is that they want the list," Mr Anwar said. "This is an attempt by the political masters to oppress me - this is malicious, it is political harassment."

Officials are investigating Mr Anwar under two laws - one against remarks that are intended to cause public alarm, and another against sharing offensive content.

Mr Anwar has claimed that more than 120 MPs back him to become premier and that the King will meet political leaders to assess his claim. A prime minister must command the support of at least half the MPs in Malaysia's 222-seat Parliament.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2020, with the headline 'Police probe Anwar over bid to become PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe