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Anwar denies offering Anifah DPM job, threatens suit

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 16, 2009


KUALA LUMPUR, May 16 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has denied ever offering influential Sabah Umno leader Datuk Anifah Aman the deputy prime minister’s job if he crossed over to Pakatan Rakyat (PR), and is threatening to sue the foreign minister if there is no retraction.

Anifah, who is on an official visit to Washington, claimed the offer was made by Anwar soon after last year’s general election, at a joint press conference yesterday with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

A statement from Anwar’s lawyer S.N. Nair claimed that the allegations made by Anifah were “baseless, untrue, defamatory and made with malicious intent to tarnish Anwar’s reputation.”

Anifah had been the focus of attention soon after last year’s elections because he had declined to join Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration.

This led to speculation that he was considering crossing over to PR despite his repeated denials. As an ordinary backbencher, Anifah was also a critic of Abdullah’s administration.

The speculation was fuelled by Anwar’s stated intention then of forming the federal government with the support of defectors from the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Last year’s polls saw BN lose its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament, as well as control over five states.

BN’s strong showing in Sabah and Sarawak kept the ruling coalition in power.

Anifah is considered to have the support of all of BN’s federal lawmakers in Sabah, and can also count on significant backing from those in Sarawak.

It was only after much persuasion that he decided to accept an appointment as foreign minister in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.

In Washington yesterday, Anifah said he was personally offered a “lucrative position, like a deputy prime ministership.”

Anifah also alleged Anwar was “trying to buy other legislative members.”

Anwar’s lawyers said they had been instructed to file a defamation suit against Anifah if he did not retract his allegation and apologised within 24 hours.

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