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Apr 15, 2008

Police interrupted Anwar speech

Anwar Ibrahim speech at a rally marking the
end of a ban that barred him from seeking public office, in Kuala Lumpur

Hard T - Police have halted a speech that Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was making to a crowd of more than 10,000 supporters.

Opposition members gathered at a sports field in Kuala Lumpur on Monday for a countdown until midnight when a legal ban that prevents Anwar from holding political office expires.

About a dozen policemen interrupted Anwar as he was addressing the rally and forced him to stop.

Anwarcelebrate the lifting of a ban from politics with a huge rally tonight despite police declaring the event illegal, his party said.

Political gatherings are strictly controlled in Malaysia, and police have reportedly threatened to cordon off the Sulaiman club in Kampung Baru and deploy riot squads to prevent it from going ahead.

10,000 people attend the celebrations
in central Kuala Lumpur

"We have not issued any permits for the gathering. I advise all the supporters not to attend it. The gathering is banned," city police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman.
Some 10,000 people attend the celebrations in central Kuala Lumpur which mark the expiry of his ban from public office, a decade after he was sacked as deputy prime minister.

Meanwhile, Anwar said he has the support of enough defectors from the ruling coalition to seize power, although he will not act until he has a bigger majority.
"Yes, we have enough MPs to topple the government," he told a press conference after a rally.

"We are saying here for the first time that we are ready (to rule the country)," he said.

"But we will only enter when the majority is comfortable."

Anwar has said that government lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak states on Borneo island have approached him about switching sides, but so far none have declared their intentions publicly.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is floundering amid mounting calls to resign and take responsibility for the election results, which were the worst in the coalition’s half-century history.

"The situation in Malaysia is uncertain at the moment, people don’t know when the prime minister is going and who will succeed him, so we will respond to this," Anwar said.

He said that rather than seizing government, the opposition’s priorities are to consolidate its gains and work with Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers "who agree with our new Malaysian agenda."

"The priority now is to administer the Pakatan Rakyat states as incorruptible and financially transparent, fulfil our promises to the people and give meaning and essence to participatory democracy."

Ribuan sambut Anwar bebas berpolitik


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