World

Malaysia shuts sex assault case against Anwar

Citing lack of evidence, Malaysia's AGC closes case against the prime minister-in-waiting

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) yesterday ruled out new charges against prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim over allegations that he sexually assaulted a former male aide, as there was not enough evidence to proceed.

The former aide, Mr Muhammed Yusoff Rawther, accused the former deputy premier last month of trying to force him to have sex in September 2018. Mr Anwar denied the accusation, describing it as "politics at its worst".

Solicitor general Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek said the investigation would be closed.

"Upon careful evaluation of all the evidence gathered in the investigation papers submitted by the (police), we found contradictions of material facts which could not support the prosecution of any person," she said in a statement.

Ms Engku Nor Faizah also said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

The solicitor general's statement did not name Mr Anwar or the accuser, but referred to allegations against a "political personality" early last month.

Mr Anwar spent nearly a decade in jail on two separate counts of sodomy and for corruption, charges that he and his supporters maintain were aimed at ending his political career.

He was first jailed in 1999.

Last week, the AGC declined to prosecute anyone linked to a series of leaked videos purportedly showing a senior cabinet minister having sex with a man.

The minister, Mr Azmin Ali, had denied links to the videos, saying they were a plot to end his political career.

Mr Azmin has been regarded as a possible challenger for the premiership promised to Mr Anwar.

ILLEGAL

Same-sex acts are illegal in Malaysia and carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail.

In a separate development, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday he is ready to give up his post as head of government the moment the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council demands it.

"I think this will be decided by all four parties together, whether they want me to go," Dr Mahathir told reporters. "As far as I'm concerned, if they want me to go, I'll go now."

Dr Mahathir said this in response to a proposal by several MPs from PH member Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) that he hand over the prime minister post to Mr Anwar, who is PKR president, in May.

Dr Mahathir previously said that he will pass the baton to Mr Anwar, but not before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which Malaysia will host in November. - THE STAR, REUTERS

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