World

Anwar denies ex-aide’s allegations of sexual assault

He calls it baseless slander, will lodge police report

PETALING JAYA : Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim has denied allegations that he attempted to sexually assault former aide Muhammed Yusoff Rawther.

"I strongly deny this baseless slander," he said in a statement yesterday.

He said that on the date mentioned by Mr Yusoff, he was campaigning for the Port Dickson by-election and had attended an event to commemorate the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi in Kuala Lumpur before returning to Port Dickson.

"I heard about this a month ago. It's not new, attempts to try and influence and bribe or whatever, but this is politics at its worst," Mr Anwar said.

"Our congress is in two days, so you should anticipate all these sorts of things."

Mr Anwar said Mr Yusoff's actions were aimed at tarnishing his image ahead of the 14th PKR national congress and the power transition process.

He said his private secretary would lodge a police report on the issue, while his lawyer would be sending a letter of demand to Mr Yusoff.

Mr Yusoff, in a statutory declaration, claimed Mr Anwar had tried to coerce him to have sex in his office, which he rejected.

Mr Yusoff also claimed he was making the statutory declaration because he was worried for his safety.

He held a press conference in Kuala Lumpur via Facebook Live on Wednesday but did not divulge details of his allegations, saying that it was part of a statutory declaration that had not been made public.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said that the timing of the statutory declaration was "peculiar".

"There are many questions because if the said allegation did happen, why didn't any of the family members (come to his defence).

"(The alleged victim) comes from a very respectable family of civil society activists," he told reporters yesterday.

"Even if the matter did take place, why wasn't there a word about it a year ago? Why wait two days before the congress to come out with this?"

ESTRANGED

Mr Fahmi also claimed the accuser was estranged from his family and there were signs the matter was being politicised.

The latest allegations come at a time when Mr Anwar looks to end a feud with Economics Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, his deputy in the PKR and a potential challenger for the premiership promised to Mr Anwar by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Mr Azmin also has been the subject of a gay sex scandal, linked to a series of videos circulated among politicians and journalists in June.

Mr Azmin has denied that he is one of the men in the videos. - THE STAR, REUTERS

WORLD