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Anwar backs off date to win power

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim appeared to step back from ambitious claims that he was on the verge of taking power as he was bailed again on sodomy charges today.

world Updated: Sep 24, 2008 10:38 IST

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim appeared to step back from ambitious claims that he was on the verge of taking power as he was bailed again on sodomy charges on Wednesday.

Anwar has said repeatedly that he has won over sufficient defectors from the government to win power, but a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 16 passed without result and his calls for a recall of parliament this week for a confidence vote were denied.

"We will proceed cautiously towards our goals and we agreed neither to be provoked into hasty action nor to take an irresponsible approach that would lead to instability and greater uncertainty in country," Anwar said in a statement issued after talks with one of his coalition partners.

Anwar also denied that officials from his party had held talks with the government, contradicting a statement made by his spokesman on Tuesday.

After five decades of rule by the same governing coalition, Malaysia's political outlook has been made more risky by the success of the opposition in elections in March, when it won more than a third of parliamentary seats.

Anwar has said repeatedly that he has 30 government defectors willing to side with his 82 MPs in the 222-member parliament. He has not named the MPs and his call for the recall of parliament was refused by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who has dismissed his claims as a "mirage".

At the same time as the 61-year-old former deputy prime minister is seeking to win power, he is fighting what he says are politically motivated charges of sodomy, a repeat of allegations which saw him convicted in the late 1990s and then imprisoned.

"You never know justice in this country," Anwar said as he entered the court.

The current case was adjourned until Oct. 7 amid a legal wrangle over whether it should be transferred to a higher court.

Normally such serious charges are dealt with by a High Court judge, but Anwar's lawyers, fearing the appointment of a judge who they believe might be biased against him, have opposed the move.