Image: Malaysian opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Dubai
Mosab Omar  /  Reuters file
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Dubai on June 13, 2008.
updated 6/28/2008 2:16:31 PM ET 2008-06-28T18:16:31

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused Saturday of sodomizing a male aide, police and politicians said, sparking speculation that he might be arrested on the same charge that led to his imprisonment a decade ago.

Anwar denied the allegation that surfaced in a police complaint lodged against him, insisting it was "a complete fabrication" meant to block his political resurgence after the opposition made major inroads in March general elections.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," Anwar said in a statement.

Anwar — a former deputy prime minister — was ousted from government 10 years ago amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. He was convicted on both charges, but Malaysia's highest court overturned the sodomy conviction and freed him in 2004.

Complaint filed
Kuala Lumpur's police chief for criminal investigations, Ku Chin Wah, said a man filed a police complaint late Saturday claiming that Anwar sodomized him.

"We are investigating the complaint," Ku told The Associated Press.

Sodomy is punishable by 15 years' imprisonment in this Muslim-majority country.

Ku said police have no immediate plans to arrest Anwar, despite a cell phone text message sent by Anwar's People's Justice Party warning that he would be detained this weekend.

Ku declined to identify the man who lodged the complaint, but the People's Justice Party identified him as Anwar's special assistant.

The party said it believed the aide was coerced into making the accusation.

Charges of conspiracy
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar from the Cabinet in 1998 amid accusations that he sodomized his family driver and abused his power to cover up the deed. Anwar insisted he was victimized by a political conspiracy to prevent him from challenging Mahathir for power.

Anwar has returned as a major political force after he shepherded the opposition to its best-ever performance in March elections, in which Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's ruling National Front coalition retained power with only a simple majority.

The National Front lost its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority and ceded control of five of Malaysia's 13 states to Anwar's three-party opposition alliance.

Anwar has since claimed he has secured tacit agreements from at least 30 National Front lawmakers to defect to the opposition — enough to topple Abdullah's administration.

Anwar did not personally run in the March elections because his corruption conviction barred him from holding political office for five years. The ban ended in April, and Anwar has since indicated he wants to re-enter Parliament through a by-election.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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