Anwar says minister plotted because of under-age sex charges

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29  -  Anwar Ibrahim said Friday he earned the wrath of a former state chief minister for failing to defend him against allegations of sex with an under-age girl and corruption.

Anwar told  that Rahim Thamby Chik, former Malacca state chief minister, become "very angry" after being asked to resign for allegedly having sex with an under-age girl.

The former deputy premier, who began his turn on the witness stand on October 22, had earlier identified Rahim as one of the four players involved in a political conspiracy to fabricate criminal charges against him.

Anwar said that in 1995 Premier Mahathir Mohamad told him that Rahim, then a rising star in the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), was involved in sex with an under-age girl.

"And he (Mahathir) asked me to talk Rahim into quitting," he said.

Anwar said he asked Rahim to write a resignation letter when the one-time UMNO youth leader visited him in accordance with Mahathir's order.

Asked by leading counsel Christopher Fernando what Rahim's reaction was, Anwar said: "He was really angry."

"Did he make any allegations?" asked Fernando.

Anwar said he had, adding that Rahim had lamented to him: "Many other ministers are involved in corruption and sex.Why did the prime minister not take any action?"

Anwar said Rahim blamed him for pushing for the resignation because he had conveyed the message and the resignation letter was handwritten in his presence.

He also said Rahim approached him in late 1995 to seek his influence to halt investigations into unpaid taxes.

"I told him I can't do that," Anwar said.

He said Rahim further pleaded with him in a letter dated December 5, 1996, which was produced in court.

In the letter, Anwar said, Rahim blamed him for his resignation and the search by the tax department of his office and home.

Anwar said Rahim argued that he need not pay taxes because the cash was "political funds," adding: "Rahim also revealed that a state liaison chief had received 80 million ringgit (21 million dollars) from a corporate leader."

Anwar said he declined to protect Rahim, adding that "I left it to the Anti-Corruption Agency and tax department to decide."

This earned him Rahim's enmity and attacks against him in speeches. "In general he tried to topple me. He worked hard to oust me."

Citing a book entitled "50 reasons why Anwar should not be PM," Anwar said it was printed at premises owned by Rahim.

On Thursday Anwar said Daim Zainuddin, who is now finance minister, plotted against him after losing control of a lucrative newspaper chain to Mahathir.

He is giving evidence aimed at showing he is the victim of a top-level political conspiracy.