Malaysia’s Anwar in multi-cornered race for Parliament seat

Malaysia’s reform icon, Anwar Ibrahim, center, show No.1 sign for by-election nomination in Port Dickson, Malaysia, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP/Vincent Thian)
Updated 29 September 2018

Malaysia’s Anwar in multi-cornered race for Parliament seat

  • Anwar submitted his nomination papers Saturday at a hall in the southern coastal town of Port Dickson
  • Anwar was freed and pardoned by the king shortly after his alliance won a stunning electoral victory

PORT DICKSON, Malaysia: Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim has kicked off his campaign for a by-election next month but faces a multi-cornered fight in his bid to return to active politics.
The by-election followed the resignation of a lawmaker to make way for Anwar’s comeback. Escorted by dozens of supporters including some cabinet ministers, Anwar submitted his nomination papers Saturday at a hall in the southern coastal town of Port Dickson.
He faces six other candidates including a former aide who had accused Anwar of sodomizing him a decade ago, leading to Anwar’s conviction in 2015.
Anwar, who has said his conviction was politically motivated, was freed and pardoned by the king shortly after his alliance won a stunning electoral victory in May that led to the first change of power since independence.


Banned Thai opposition party accuses junta of helping in 1MDB cover-up

Updated 25 min 10 sec ago

Banned Thai opposition party accuses junta of helping in 1MDB cover-up

  • Future Forward Party, the third-largest party in parliament, was dissolved on Friday by Thailand’s Constitutional Court
  • ‘If we were in government, we would investigate’

BANGKOK: A banned Thai opposition party on Sunday accused the former military junta of helping cover up Malaysia’s multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal, urging Thais to demand the truth ahead of a censure debate against Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
The Future Forward Party, the third-largest party in parliament, was dissolved on Friday by Thailand’s Constitutional Court over a loan it took from its billionaire founder.
The dissolution was decried by democracy advocates as a way to weaken opposition to the government of Prayuth, who first came to power in a 2014 military coup and led a military junta until after elections last year that his pro-army party won.
Future Forward’s spokeswoman, Pannika Wanich, told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that the junta had worked with Malaysia’s former government to arrest a whistleblower in the 1MDB case in 2015 and had allowed financial criminals to operate in Thailand, risking the country’s international ties.
“The junta government yearned for international acceptance after the coup ... and formed a dark alliance with Malaysia,” Pannika said.
“The only person who can issue these orders is Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha,” Pannika said.
Pannika cited irregularities surrounding Thailand’s arrest and the subsequent confession of Xavier Justo, the Swiss national who was arrested in Thailand in 2015 the first whistleblower in the 1MDB affair.
The government also harbored Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, allowing him to enter the country at least five times between October 2016 and May 2018, despite Low having an Interpol red notice from Singapore, she said.
Low has been charged in Malaysia and the United States over the alleged theft of $4.5 billion from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), set up by former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak with the help of Low, to promote economic development.
At least six countries, including the United States, have launched money laundering, financial mismanagement and criminal probes into 1MDB dealings.
Low has denied any wrongdoing. His whereabouts are unknown.
Future Forward Party said it would have opened an investigation on corruption and money laundering related to the 1MDB case if it were in power.
“If we were in government, we would investigate. We want a government that is a responsible neighbor and acts with dignity,” Pannika said.
“Since we have been dissolved, we can’t, but the Thai public can demand the truth.”
A spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.