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Malaysia's Anwar says he can prove high-level conspiracy
9/3/98 5:47

    (RECASTS. Pictures)
 
    KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 (AFP) - Ousted Malaysian deputy premier
Anwar Ibrahim said Thursday he was the victim of a high-level
conspiracy after being fired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
    Four affidavits were filed at the High Court on Thursday
containing allegations against Anwar, including sexual misconduct
and posing a threat to national security, the Bernama national news
agency reported.
    "The personal allegations against me are a political conspiracy.
They realise that I cannot be defeated in the political arena
through the democratic process," he told a news conference at his
home.
    Anwar, 51, was dismissed as deputy prime minister and finance
minister on Wednesday night. He was later blockaded at his official
residence with supporters by police who said they were investigating
allegations against him.
    Mahathir and Anwar had become increasingly divided in recent
months over economic policy and the sacking also came only a day
after the prime minister imposed strict capital controls.
    "I realise this conspiracy existed a year ago. It began with
rumours and then with poison-pen letters and then a book with
allegations," Anwar told the news conference.
    "It is certainly a political conspiracy against me to prevent
any possibility that I will challenge the PM," he said, referring to
Mahathir.
    "I can't say if the PM is directing it. But they are rich
people, businessmen and supreme council members," he said, referring
to the highest body of the ruling United Malays National
Organisation (UMNO).
    "I have proof. I have tapes," Anwar said, adding he hoped to
attend an emergency meeting of the UMNO supreme council on Thursday.
"I'm committed to UMNO. I'm going to stake my position in the
party.
    Anwar remains deputy president of UMNO for the time being.
Mahathir is the party president.
    Anwar, who was accompanied by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail,
was cheerful throughout the news conference.
    Anwar's supporters repeatedly broke in with chants of "Allah
Akhbar" ("God is Great") as he spoke.
    "I have enough evidence to prove my innocence. It is ridiculous
that a democratic country with laws and a judiciary can be be
abused," he said.
    "It is part of a larger political conspiracy. There's no basis
in the allegations. It is only when allegations that I am preparing
myself to challenge the president of the party that I suddenly
become a threat to the country, a foreign agent and a most corrupt
person," he said.
    Anwar said the alleged conspiracy was partly motivated by
"jealousy", noting that he was given red carpet treatment on a visit
to the United States.
    He said the defamatory letters were "widely distributed to UMNO
divisions. The poison-pen letters were even found in mosques. I had
no other choice than to go to court and seek and injunction to
prevent distribution."
    Anwar also said that he had already started legal proceedings to
fight his removal as finance minister and deputy prime minister.
    "I will be around for a long time," he said. "The Malaysian
people are not so stupid. I've advised my friends to remain calm and
respect the law," he said.  "I am committed to reform and struggle
against corruption. I will not concede and compromise."
    Anwar also said he could not understand why Mahathir felt so
threatened. "I am more liberal, more democratic. I believe in a
civil society, free media and I do nort why he should feel so
threatened," he said.
    Despite the heavy police presence around his official residence
which the family vacated on Thursday, Anwar said his movements were
not restricted by police and that he had not been interviewed by
them.
    But he said his offices had been sealed after he was sacked by
Mahathir late Wednesday. He also confirmed that he was fired after
refusing to resign.
    Anwar was accompanied by his wife and their children as he drove
off from the residence.
    Asked how he felt after receiving hundreds of supporters
overnight night, Anwar was quoted as saying: "Thank God, I am
well."
    jsm-ps/tw
 
-0- (AFP) Sep/03/98   05:47