Last edited: November 06, 2004

Witness in Anwar Trial Testifies

Associated Press, February 14, 2000

By Sean Yoong

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A member of Malaysia’s ruling party testified Monday in the sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim that the prosecution’s two key witnesses were "paid off" to fabricate lies about the former deputy prime minister.

Raja Kamarudin Raja Abdul Wahid, who began his testimony on Friday, is the first defense witness to corroborate Anwar’s repeated claims that the sex charges against him are part of a political conspiracy.

According to Raja Kamarudin, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s then-political secretary admitted in 1998 to paying two witnesses to circulate sodomy allegations against Anwar.

Raja Kamarudin told the court that Aziz Shamsuddin told him, "I have paid them off. It is no problem. There is no use creating other types of stories. There would be no thrill, no impact."

One of the witnesses, Ummi Hafilda Ali, wrote a letter to Mahathir in 1998 alleging that Anwar committed adultery with her sister-in-law, whose husband was Anwar’s secretary at the time.

The testimony came on the same day that Anwar’s attorneys confirmed Mahathir was scheduled to appear on the witness stand Thursday.

"We still don’t know if he’ll show up," defense lawyer Pawancheek Merican told The Associated Press.

Much of the prosecution case hinges on Ummi’s credibility as a witness, because she also encouraged Azizan Abu Bakar, Anwar’s former driver, to write a declaration that Anwar repeatedly sodomized him.

Raja Kamarudin, then a local branch chief in Mahathir’s United Malays National Organization, said his job was to coordinate a propaganda team to spread the sodomy lies nationwide, especially in rural areas where Anwar is popular.

Raja Kamarudin testified earlier that Aziz had revealed a conspiracy to destroy Anwar and bolster then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as an eventual successor to Mahathir.

Abdullah became deputy prime minister after Mahathir sacked Anwar in September 1998, calling him immoral and unfit to govern. Aziz today is the deputy education minister.

During Raja Kamarudin’s testimony, High Court Judge Ariffin Jaka several times questioned the credibility of the witness.

"You better call the witnesses who are really involved in the conspiracy," he said. "These are the fellows who should explain. It is very easy to allege something."

Defense attorney Gurbachan Singh replied: "It is not very easy to get those people."

Defense attorneys said Raja Kamarudin had come forward to testify because he was "stricken by conscience."

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