Sep 24, 2008

Anwar Cautious in Power Bid

Anwar Ibrahim signalled a further delay Wednesday in his bid to oust the government, saying his alliance would avoid any 'hasty action' that could ignite instability.

Datuk Seri Anwar has claimed for months that he has convinced enough lawmakers to defect to his side to unseat Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration. The ruling coalition has dismissed Mr Anwar's claim as a bluff, especially after he missed his self-declared target of Sept 16 for seizing power.

Mr Anwar said in a statement that the opposition remained 'confident that the people's desire for change shall soon be attained.' He did not set a specific new deadline.
'We will proceed cautiously towards our goals and we agreed neither to be provoked into hasty action nor to take an irresponsible approach that would lead to instability and greater uncertainty,' Mr Anwar said.

He dismissed recent reports suggesting that the opposition had started negotiations with Datuk Seri Abdullah about a voluntary power transfer.

His comments came ahead of a hearing in Kuala Lumpur's Sessions Court on Wednesday involving a charge that Anwar sodomized his 23-year-old former male aide. The court was expected to either transfer the case to a higher court or schedule trial dates.

Mr Anwar has rejected the sodomy accusation as a government conspiracy to block his political ascent after his People's Alliance coalition won an unprecedented 82 seats in the 222-member Parliament in March general elections. Government authorities deny any plot.

Prime Minister Abdullah has accused Mr Anwar of undermining the country's security and economy and has rebuffed Mr Anwar's demands over the past week to meet with opposition leaders to discuss a voluntary power hand-over or to call an emergency Parliament session.

Mr Abdullah's National Front coalition now has only a 28-seat majority. He is battling dissent within his ruling coalition from officials who want him to step down amid growing disenchantment with his leadership. -- AP

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