Malaysian ruling party women declare 'jihad' against Anwar | world | Hindustan Times
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Malaysian ruling party women declare 'jihad' against Anwar

world Updated: Aug 12, 2008 10:45 IST
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The women's wing of Malaysia's ruling party has reportedly declared a "jihad" or holy war to prevent opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim returning to parliament in a by-election this month.

"It is a jihad because this individual should not be given the chance to destroy the country's political stability and prosperity," women's wing deputy chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said according to The Star newspaper.

Shahrizat, a former cabinet minister, lost her seat in parliament to Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah in landmark March elections that handed the opposition unprecedented gains against the ruling coalition.

"If we allow him to lead the country, he would lead us to destruction," she said as she launched the women's wing campaign for the August 26 by-election in Anwar's home state of Penang.

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) leads the coalition and represents the interests of Muslim Malays who are the majority in Malaysia, alongside ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

The three-member opposition alliance is led by Anwar's Keadilan party which for the first time in Malaysia's political history has established itself as a multi-racial party representing all the communities.

Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, stood aside to allow him to make a bid to return to parliament, a decade after he was sacked as deputy premier and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges.

He spent six years in jail until the sex conviction was overturned by the nation's highest court in 2004, but now faces new allegations that he sodomised a 23-year-old male aide.

Anwar has been charged in court but is still eligible to contest the by-election. He has said the charges have been engineered by the government to prevent him from seizing power.