Anwar Will Run for Malaysia Parliament Once Eligible

By Haslinda Amin and Angus Whitley

May 29 (Bloomberg) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, freed from prison in 2004, said he’ll “immediately” contest a parliamentary seat once he confirms his eligibility, part of a plan to topple the government by mid-September.

If we’re absolutely certain of my eligibility, we would opt to do it immediately,” he told Bloomberg Television in an interview today. Anwar said he doesn’t have confirmation from Malaysia’s Attorney General that he can hold public office, after serving time in jail on corruption charges he denies.

Anwar, 60, a former Malaysian deputy premier, is seeking to overthrow a coalition that’s ruled since independence from Britain in 1957. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, weakened in March 8 elections, is introducing measures to slow inflation and reduce corruption to win back public support.

Anwar, who has calculated he was legally able to be a lawmaker in mid-April, said he may instruct his lawyers to seek an official response from the Attorney General unless he has a ruling by the end of this month.

Malaysian Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail declined to comment when reached on his mobile phone today.

Anwar today repeated claims that his alliance has lined up the necessary 30 defections from Abdullah’s coalition to take power. He also said the opposition coalition will discuss who might have the role of deputy prime minister in any potential government that he would lead.

“The issue now is to ensure a smooth transition of power, according to constitutional provisions,” Anwar said.

Anwar’s People’s Justice Party, the Democratic Action Party, and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party won control of five of Malaysia’s 13 states in the March elections, and denied the coalition its usual two-thirds majority in Parliament.


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