Malaysian students back threatened deputy leader

September 18, 1998

University students and academics in their thousands have surrounded the home of Malaysia's sacked deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim in a show of support that is preventing his arrest, writes Geoffrey Parkins.

Mr Anwar has challenged prime minister Mahathir Mohamad to have him charged to support allegations of lewd sex and selling secrets. Dr Mahathir, replied: "If he truly believes in the courts, which he earlier said he did not, then there is no need for people to be around him to create trouble. He should allow the process of law to proceed smoothly."

Malaysia's news agency this week quoted a senior police official as saying Mr Anwar would face charges for holding public assemblies without a permit. On Monday police approached him about noise during nightly meetings.

Dr Mahathir accused Mr Anwar of using students in the hope that if they get hurt it will "receive full publicity, especially in the international press".

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