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Monday, November 23, 1998 Published at 09:03 GMT


World: Asia-Pacific

Anwar trial resumes

Remaining defiant: Anwar Ibrahim denies charges

The trial of the sacked Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has resumed in Kuala Lumpur

It was adjourned for a week while Malaysia hosted a summit of Asian-Pacific countries.

Malaysia Crisis Section
Mr Anwar has denied the charges against him of corruption and illegal sex, which he says are part of a political vendetta.

Riot police were once again in position outside the high court in Kuala Lumpur.


[ image: Previous hearings have seen riot police outside the court]
Previous hearings have seen riot police outside the court
In the past week there have been more demonstrations in Malaysia against Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and also a call for reform from the visiting US Vice-President Al Gore.

In a controversial speech at the summit, Mr Gore openly praised the "brave" anti-government campaigners.

The summit also saw US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright breaking short her visit to Malaysia, but not before visiting Mr Anwar's wife.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said her husband was still in good spirits as he prepared for the trial to resume.


Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail: "We're talking about justice"
"He has done very well," she told the BBC. "He is just thinner, but his spirits are very strong and still up."

She also said that the demonstrations of support for her husband and the reform movement were not planned.

"These demonstrations of protest against what is happening are spontaneous, from supporters of the Reformasi.

"My husband actually started this Reformasi movement because he says we have to change for the better."

Backlash fears


Correspondent Simon Ingram: "The trial shows no sign of losing its fascination"
BBC South East Asia Correspondent Simon Ingram says the resumption of proceedings comes amid growing opposition fears of a government crackdown on Mr Anwar's supporters and sympathisers.

He says that Mr Gore's speech, over which the US ambassador to Malaysia, John Malott, has also been summoned to the Foreign Minstry, is forcing the anti-government protest movement increasingly on the defensive.

Four protesters, including one leading activist, were arrested following an anti-government demonstration on Saturday. They too are expected to appear in court on Monday.


[ image: Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail met Madelaine Albright last week]
Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail met Madelaine Albright last week
But Mr Anwar's wife said there was still strong support for the Reformasi movement.

"The majority of the people have given their support," she said.

"We're talking about justice. We're talking about how the police have been giving an impression of a police state."

In contrast, Dr Mahathir has praised citizens who have used a government telephone hotline to criticise Mr Gore's remarks.

The campaign is designed to allow Malaysians to vent their frustrations over alleged foreign meddling in the country's internal affairs.



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Internet Links


Anwar Online

Reformasi.com

Malaysian Prime Minister's Office

Vice President Al Gore


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