KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Tuesday he had an alibi to prove he did not sodomize a young man whose accusation has temporarily derailed his bid to re-enter Parliament and bring down the government.
'This government and this leadership is under siege,' Mr Anwar told a news conference.
Mr Anwar claimed the sodomy allegation was part of a political conspiracy - a charge the prime minister later denied.
'I would advise them to drop the case,' Mr Anwar said. 'It is frivolous.'
Mr Anwar faced a similar crisis when he was fired as deputy prime minister and convicted of sodomy in 1998. Malaysia's highest court overturned that conviction in 2004.
The fresh allegation, made on Saturday by a 23-year-old worker in Mr Anwar's office, came as Mr Anwar was trying to engineer parliamentary defections from the ruling National Front coalition to topple the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Many see Mr Anwar as a future prime minister, a job to which he has openly aspired.
He recently led a three-party opposition coalition to spectacular gains in the March 8 general elections, which reduced the National Front's strength to 140 seats for a thin 30-seat majority in the 222-member Parliament.
Mr Anwar has said he will be able to pull 30 lawmakers to his side by mid-September.
But Mr Anwar could not run for Parliament in the March elections, a prerequisite for becoming prime minister, and was going to announce plans to contest a by-election when the sodomy accusation broke.
'This (by-election plan) has been derailed for a few days,' he said, vowing to 'fight every inch of the way' to clear his name.
[Some people say this whole thing was to distract people from the rumours that Najib and his wife are implicated in the Mongolian woman's murder. Anwar claims that this is a conspiracy to derail his plans to overthrow the govt. Analysts are beginning to say that Anwar is bluffing and he won't be able to pull off a coup by mid-Sept. This "conspiracy" might well save his face, and political credibility. Otherwise Sept might well come and go, and Abdullah and the BN could still be in power. Then where would Anwar's credibility be?
So maybe Najib called Anwar and said, "hey, I need the heat to be taken off me on this Mongolian murder thing, and you need an excuse for not overthrowing the govt by Sept. How about we accuse you of sodomy for old time's sake? It would be fun."]