Malaysia gov`t pushes censure motion against Anwar
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian government
lawmakers voted on Thursday to censure opposition leader Anwar
Ibrahim for alleging that the prime minister`s push for
multiracial unity in this Muslim-majority country was modeled
on an Israeli election campaign.
A parliamentary disciplinary board investigation is
set for the coming weeks and could lead to an official
warning, or to Anwar`s suspension if he is found guilty of
making misleading statements.
Legislators in the lower house of parliament held a
heated debate before passing the censure motion against Anwar,
which was submitted by the National Front ruling coalition
that controls almost two-thirds of the seats.
Scores of opposition members boycotted the vote and
it went unanimously in favor of a censure.
They denounced it as an attempt to sideline Anwar,
who is also facing a protracted court trial over what he
insists are accusations fabricated by the government that he
sodomised male former aide.
Government efforts to pass the motion reflected "the
tyranny of the majority," Anwar told reporters.
The bipartisan disciplinary board is dominated by
members of Prime Minister Najib Razak`s ruling coalition,
which was infuriated after Anwar made speeches in Parliament
linking Najib`s widely publicised "1Malaysia" racial unity
slogan to the "One Israel" political alliance set up by former
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak for the 1999 elections.
A suspension could cause Anwar, the opposition`s
most charismatic figure, to miss debates on key policy
reforms, including one to amend a much-criticised law that
allows detention without trial.
Malaysia is a strong supporter of the Palestinians,
and Anwar caused a stir in Parliament on March 17 when he
accused the government of hiring a US-based public relations
firm that allegedly advised both Najib and Barak on their
The firm, APCO Worldwide, has denied involvement in
either effort, saying it was appointed by Malaysia`s
government last year after Najib took office to publicise
various reforms. Najib`s "1Malaysia" campaign is meant to
improve strained relations between the ethnic Malay Muslim
majority and the Chinese and Indian minorities.
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