Anwar denies sexual harassment allegations by male ex-staff in viral video

Anwar, appearing calm and unperturbed in Parliament, quickly dismissed the accusation as unsurprising, telling reporters that a month ago he heard of an attempt “to influence and bribe”.
Reuters

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim has denied accusations of sexual harassment by a male former staff member that emerged at the start of his party’s annual convention.

On Thursday (Dec 5), Anwar released a statement refuting the allegation, calling it “baseless slander”.

This came after a Facebook page with a video and purported statutory declaration by one Muhammad Yusoff Rawther went viral on Wednesday.

I, Muhammed Yusoff, 26, am a former research officer in the office of DSAI. I was attached to DSAI from September 2018 to May 2019. On the 16th of May 2019, I was physically assaulted by DSAI’s political secretary, Farhash, causing me grievous bodily harm. I have since lodged a police report and attached my medical report for further confirmation of the extent of my injuries.Unfortunately and disappointingly, the authorities have failed to take action on the above mentioned matter. Due to the mentioned failure of the authorities to further take necessary actions, I have proceeded to file a civil lawsuit against my assailant and the press secretary of DSAI for releasing to the media slanderous and defamatory statements about my person. I would like to state on record here that the defendants in my lawsuit have on more than one occasion offered to settle this matter out of court. I would like to stress here that my pursuit is not motivated by any form monetary senses but I would like justice to be meted out. The assault in my working environment is not normal or acceptable and I have since discovered that it is likely related to other incidents that occurred to me during my employment with DSAI.In my statutory declaration, I have detailed out the incident that transpired in the residence of DSAI towards me, attached with all the necessary and relevant evidence. As it is not yet been made public, I can only describe the matter as UNISLAMIC, VILE, INSIDIOUS, MORALLY REPUGNANT AND CRIMINAL IN NATURE. I have reasons to believe that my unwillingness to cooperate with DSAI had eventually led to the assault in the office.I am a victim of serious crime, committed on me by so called public servants/politicians. I am without support or defence, having had no representation to push my matter through. All attempts for me to get justice have been thwarted and I have faced further intimidation to drop my pursuit to obtain justice. I have attempted to meet with several known individuals(so called leaders) such as Hilman, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Hisham Rais and Cikgu Bard within the public sphere to seek advice but have been turned away, sidelined or failing to help me pursue the matter. It has been close to seven months since my assault and till today I have had no details about the progress of my report. It is apparent to me that all talk about justice is merely a lip service, and political gimmicks. I am extremely disappointed with the way things have occurred. I must ask, is there no justice for the little guy in Malaysia?Muhammed Yusoff RawterDec 4, 2019SD click https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=111395840340908&id=111383317008827

Posted by Solidariti Buat Muhammed Yusoff Rawter on Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Anwar was accused of indecent exposure at his office in Petaling Jaya, at the start of his Port Dickson by-election campaign last year.

He was making a comeback to Parliament after his release from prison in May 2018 following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) electoral victory.

He won the by-election and is now the member of parliament for Port Dickson.

Anwar also marked his return by taking back the role of president at Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the largest party in Parliament with 50 MPs of the 222-seat Lower House.

Read also: Anwar Ibrahim denies telling FT that some in own party are trying to block him from premiership

A police report has been lodged against Yusoff, 26, in response to the accusation, with Anwar’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh, issuing a letter of demand to seek a retraction within seven days.

Anwar said in the statement: “This move is a trick to degrade my image on the cusp of Keadilan’s 14th National Congress and the country’s leadership power transition process.”

PKR is holding its annual convention from Thursday to Sunday.

Read also: ‘We have to be realistic’: Malaysia must abolish race-based policy to improve economy, Anwar says

Anwar is seen as Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting under an agreement formulated among PH leaders before the 2018 general election.

However, factionalism within his party and the rising influence of PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has deepened a feud between the two politicians.

Both came out to announce a reconciliation this week, but the newest allegation against Anwar is seen as being timed to cause embarrassment just as the party’s convention is held this week in Melaka.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Anwar said: “The level of gutter politics in this country… (has) become a culture and is disgusting.”

Read also: From prison to palace: a recap of Anwar’s first day as a free man after being granted a full royal pardon

This marks the third time the 72-year-old politician has been accused of indecent exposure by a former male employee.

Anwar has been imprisoned twice over the past two decades for sodomy, charges which he had vehemently denied and termed as politically motivated.

Azmin, meanwhile, was also tied to a sex video scandal involving a male PKR member five months ago.

He too, denied the allegation that he was the individual caught on tape.

Read also: ‘Please reflect on his own face’: Azmin hits back at Anwar for saying he should resign if he is identified in sex tapes

Yusoff, in the Facebook video of his “press conference”, labelled the incident with Anwar as “vile, insidious, morally repugnant and criminal in nature”, asserting that it “has left me traumatised and disturbed to an extent”.

Anwar said that on the alleged date of harassment, he was busy campaigning for the by-election and had a full-day schedule.

Members of his party have begun to rally behind their leader, with former lawmaker Tian Chua stating: “I urge everyone not to entertain any malicious smearing of character of our leaders”.

Anwar, appearing calm and unperturbed in Parliament, quickly dismissed the accusation as unsurprising, telling reporters that a month ago he heard of an attempt “to influence and bribe”.

“This is politics… It requires tenacity of purpose, courage of conviction to move on with a bigger agenda,” he said on the sidelines of PKR’s congress.

Read also: ‘One day you may see my picture also like that’: Mahathir says sex tapes of minister are fake and politically motivated