Sunday, October 17, 2021

Anwar denies sexual assault claims, says individuals out to stop his march to PM-ship

He also questions the timing of the suit, saying it had been a period of political crisis during which there was a 'likelihood' of him becoming the prime minister.

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Anwar Ibrahim has denied an allegation of sexual assault brought against him by a former staff, saying he had never met Muhammed Yusoff Rawther at his Bukit Segambut home on Oct 2, 2019 as claimed in a suit filed in July.

In a statement of defence filed by the PKR president today, Anwar said the allegations by Yusoff in the suit were fabricated in cahoots with “person or persons currently unknown” as part of a plan to smear his political image ahead of the PKR congress in December 2019 as well as the promised transition of power from Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also cited his fallout with former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, saying there had been attempts to stop his “political advancement”.

“Specifically, the rift between Anwar’s camp and Azmin Ali’s camp and/or persons opposed to Anwar’s political advancement and/or leadership progressively intensified and escalated in the lead-up to the congress, during the congress and thereafter,” he said.

Anwar also questioned the timing of Yusoff’s allegations and the filing of the suit in July, saying it had been a time of political crisis during which there was a “likelihood” of him becoming the prime minister.

He was referring to the resignation of Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister which triggered a political vacuum in August, with MPs from Pakatan Harapan naming Anwar as their candidate for the top post.

Anwar however failed to muster enough support from MPs and Bera MP Ismail Sabri Yaakob was sworn on Aug 21.

“In this respect, the timing of this suit in mid-July 2021 was calculated by Yusoff, and in connivance with person or persons currently unknown, to tarnish Anwar’s political image and to damage the likelihood of Anwar becoming prime minister of Malaysia,” the statement of defence read.

Yusoff, 28, first made the allegation against Anwar in a statutory declaration in November 2019. A police report was subsequently lodged, followed by weeks of investigation by Bukit Aman under Section 354 of the Penal Code which deals with criminal force to outrage modesty.

During investigations, the police subjected Yusoff to a four-hour polygraph test at Bukit Aman. Anwar meanwhile refused to take the test.

On Jan 14, 2020, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, then under Tommy Thomas, said it would not press charges against Anwar due to “insufficient evidence” and “contradictions” of facts.

On July 15 this year, Yusoff filed a suit containing shocking and explicit details of an incident at Anwar’s home in Bukit Segambut.

He said the incident took place about 10 days before Anwar won the Port Dickson by-election on Oct 13, 2018.

In his suit, Yusoff is seeking a court declaration that the PKR leader had committed the sexual assault, as well as general, exemplary and aggravated damages for suffering trauma as well as physical, psychological and sociological disturbances as a result of the alleged incident.

Anwar meanwhile said he had offered Yusoff a job at his bungalow office in Petaling Jaya to oblige Yusoff’s grandfather, the late SM Idris, who was the founder of the Consumers Association of Penang.

Anwar denied that Yusoff was a research assistant, saying he was a “junior volunteer” put under the supervision of senior staff and given tasks such as answering phone calls and greeting visitors.

He also denied Yusoff’s claim that he was given accommodation at the bungalow office.

“Rather, the office contained facilities that allowed staff and volunteers who inter alia worked later to freshen up or stay over (if required).”

Adding that Yusoff was accused of making unauthorised purchases using credit cards belonging to an officer, Anwar said he was then transferred to Yayasan Aman, a foundation helmed by Anwar and his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Anwar further said that Yusoff was “pro-Israel” at that time, and that he had been showing disciplinary problems.

He said Yusoff resigned about a month after a warning letter was issued by Yayasan Aman in May 2019.

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