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Malaysian opposition slams "pornographic" videos of Anwar

Date: 25 Nov 1999
Time: 19:23:21


Malaysian opposition slams "pornographic" videos of Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 (AFP) - A Malaysian opposition party said Thursday that individuals "allegedly linked" to the ruling coalition were distributing videotapes containing sexual slanders about jailed former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.

Chandra Muzaffar, deputy president of the National Justice Party (Keadilan), accused Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of mounting the "dirtiest ever" election campaign.

"As part of the political filth that is being pumped into the election, groups and individuals allegedly linked to Mahathir's Barisan Nasional (National Front coalition) are now actively distributing videotapes" on Anwar, he told a press conference.

He said another videotape concerned a candidate from the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

PAS and Keadilan, founded by Anwar's wife Wan Azizah, are part of the opposition Alternative Front whose candidate for prime minister is Anwar. The other major member is the Democratic Action Party (DAP).

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, in a gloomy forecast before the November 29 polls, said his party would probably "lose big" after a multi-faith council decided to back the ruling coalition out of fear of PAS.

Lim told a separate press conference the Malaysian Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism had decided to back the National Front because the Alternative Front includes PAS, whose ultimate aim is an Islamic state.

"The pledge by the (council) to support the Barisan Nasional (National Front) in the general election is a major blow to DAP and Barisan Alternatif," Lim said.

"It would probably be the single biggest cause for the DAP to lose big instead of to win big..," he added, saying the council appeared to have fallen for ruling coalition "propaganda."

The National Front, which paints PAS as an extremist party, has been attacking the opposition alliance strongly over the Islamic party's inclusion.

Chandra said the tapes on Anwar and the PAS official -- which had been left at bus stations and markets -- tried to portray them as guilty of gross sexual misconduct. He said the Anwar tape "contains lewd language and is clearly pornographic in content."

Chandra said party officials had lodged complaints with police about the tapes, which he called another "vicious, malicious endeavour by Anwar's political and corporate foes" to discredit him.

He repudiated their content as a "tissue of lies," saying the alleged sexual misdemeanours were never referred to during Anwar's first trial.

"I wonder why they did not use it (the tape) as evidence in court," Wan Azizah told reporters later.

Anwar was sacked by Mahathir in September 1998. He is on trial for sodomy and is already serving a six-year jail term for abusing his official powers to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct.

Chandra said the National Front had no qualms about using the "foulest and filthiest tactics" to win the polls. He presented no proof that it was involved in distributing the tapes.

Earlier a Keadilan spokesman said an advertisement which claims that even Anwar's wife does not trust him had used fabricated quotes.

The advert on behalf of the National Front ran a headline over a picture of Wan Azizah reading: "Even she doesn't trust her husband...If she can't trust him, can we?"

Interspersed was what purported to be a question and answer from an Australian TV interview in December 1998.

"Do you trust Anwar and Syamsidar absolutely?" the interviewer was quoted as saying. Wan Azizah was quoted as replying: "Don't trust anybody absolutely."

One of the allegations which Anwar was convicted of trying to cover up was that he fathered one of the children of Syamsidar, the wife of his political secretary Azmin Ali.

Keadilan spokesman Raja Petra Kamarudin told AFP the ruling coalition spliced together answers to separate questions -- "Do you believe your husband or not?" and "Whether you believe in the courts or not?"

Earlier this week a series of adverts for the National Front featured photos of disturbances sparked by Anwar's treatment.

Analysts say the tactic aims to scare ethnic Chinese into voting for the status quo after the Anwar issue split the ethnic Malay vote.

Last changed: November 25, 1999