Malaysia opposition party backs Anwar as leader

A key Malaysian opposition party said on Monday it continued to support Anwar Ibrahim as the leader of a three-party alliance following calls for him to step down.

Malaysia opposition party backs Anwar as leader
Anwar, 61, the country's former deputy premier, was asked to step down on Sunday by the chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP) after the opposition lost control of one of the five states it rules to the national government.

"In this regard the DAP supports ... Anwar Ibrahim as the parliamentary opposition leader and will remain so as no single leader has ever questioned this during internal meetings whether at the highest levels or otherwise," DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.

The Chinese-dominated DAP is the second largest of the three unwieldy parties in Anwar's People's Alliance that also comprises an Islamist party and the multi-ethnic People's Justice Party.

The apparent rift in the DAP leadership

But while the National Front now has a majority in the state assembly after the defections, the chief minister of tin-rich Perak from the People's Alliance has defied Sultan Raja Azlan Shah's order to vacate the statehouse, throwing Malaysian politics into further turmoil.

The Sultan was due to swear-in a new chief minister from the National Front on Friday.

Malaysia has nine sultans who are titular rulers of their states and take turns being the country's constitutional king under a rotating monarchy.

The apparent rift in the DAP leadership comes amid talk that the National Front is looking next to toppling opposition-ruled Kedah state. And with Anwar threatening a series of rallies to stir his legions into action, the political uncertainties that have beset Malaysia since elections nearly a year ago seem set to continue.

Infighting in the opposition, which deprived the government of its two-thirds parliamentary majority during elections last year, comes at a time when the National Front is set to get a new leader.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak will become premier after polls in the main government party, the United Malays National Organisation, in March.

Najib engineered the crossovers in Perak after the opposition scored two big by-election wins, including one that returned Anwar to parliament for the first time in 10 years following imprisonment on what he says were politically motivated charges of sodomy and corruption.


Reuters
Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2009, 11:51
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