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 Malaysia: Police Probe Wife Of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim

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Registration date : 2008-01-28

PostSubject: Malaysia: Police Probe Wife Of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim   Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:52 pm

SHAH ALAM, MALAYSIA: The wife of former Malaysian deputy leader Anwar Ibrahim was questioned by police Wednesday (16 Apr) for taking part in an anti-government rally to celebrate her husband's expected political comeback.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also president of Anwar's People's Justice Party, went to a police station with two other accused to give statements about the Monday (14 Apr) night rally, which the police declared illegal.

The fourth person being investigated is Khalid Ibrahim, a top party member and the chief minister of opposition ruled Selangor state. Police went to his office in the state capital, Shah Alam, to record his statement there.

"We answered all their questions, and we will leave it to the police," Wan Azizah told reporters after coming out of the police station.

The People's Justice Party had organized the rally to celebrate the expiry of a ban on Anwar from holding political office. Anwar, who was the main speaker at the rally, flew to the Middle East early Tuesday (15 Apr) and could not be summoned.

Party deputy president Syed Husin Ali said the investigation against Khalid, an elected representative of the people, and the others was politically motivated.

Their aim is "one, to create fear among the opposition parties so that they stop rallies; number two, it's just being vindictive," he told The Associated Press.

The People's Justice Party, in coalition with two other opposition parties, won Selangor and four other states in the 8 Mar general elections. The alliance also won an unprecedented 82 seats in the 222-member Parliament, the worst performance by the ruling National Front coalition in the 51 years it has been in power.

The election results threw the main party in the Front, the United Malays National Organization, into turmoil. Its leader, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is fighting for political survival as he faces calls to step down.

Police said the People's Justice Rally held an illegal rally.

"They have done the wrong thing ... they were not supposed to have held the rally. They were only supposed to have a dinner," said Mohamad Sabtu, the chief of police of Kuala Lumpur, where the rally was held.

Police said the People's Justice Party did not have a permit, which is needed for gatherings of more than four people. The party says no permit was needed because it was held inside the compound of a club owned by the Selangor state government.

The opposition's electoral success has largely been attributed to the efforts of Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was sacked in 1998 by then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on charges of sodomy and corruption.

He was released from prison in 2004 after the sodomy conviction was overturned, but the corruption conviction barred him from holding political office until 15 Apr 2008
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