FOCUS-Anwar's lawyers say tape points to plot
01:41 a.m. Dec 23, 1998 Eastern
By K. Baranee Krishnaan
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 23 (Reuters) - The defence in the sex and corruption
of sacked finance minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Wednesday it has an audio
supporting Anwar's argument he was the victim of a political conspiracy.
Defence counsel Gurbachan Singh read to the capital's High Court portions
transcript of the tape which he said recorded the voice of Ummi Hafilda
woman who in 1997 accused Anwar of sex crimes and who was on the witness
Gurbachan told the court the tape was a recording of a conversation between
and a male business associate named Sng Chee Hue in London last June.
On the tape, a woman's voice discusses Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad,
he had congratulated the author of a book, ``Fifty Reasons Why Anwar Ibrahim
Cannot Become Prime Minister,'' which accused Anwar of numerous crimes.
``I put it to you this was said by you to Dato Sng,'' Gurbachan said to
was on the witness stand for the third day. Ummi, looking pale, said she
remember the conversation.
Judge Augustine Paul said he would decide on Thursday whether to allow
the tape to
be admitted as evidence in the trial, which has exposed deep divisions
supporters of Mahathir and Anwar.
The book ``Fifty Reasons,'' written by a former journalist named Khalid
distributed to delegates attending the annual general assembly of Mahathir's
party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), last June.
The book thrust into the open allegations of sex crimes by Anwar and deepened
between Mahathir and his then deputy.
Anwar was sacked on September 2 and arrested 18 days later after leading
protesters through the capital calling on Mahathir to step down after 17
Mahathir has called Anwar morally unfit. The former minister has said some
prime minister's closest associates, fearful that Anwar would come to power
expose cronyism, plotted to topple him.
The exerpts which Gurbachan read to the court suggested the author of the
been paid a large amount of money and had promised Mahathir he would ``kill''
Anwar's political career.
The defence lawyer did not say how the tape had been obtained.
A written transcript of the tape distributed later to reporters covering
the High Court
trial said the conversation was between a woman and a man.
``The writer, I don't know who paid the writer...but I know one million.
I don't know
whether it is from Tun or they shared,'' the woman said, according to the
``'I don't want Anwar Ibrahim to be our next future leader,' he (Khalid)
way,' he said. 'I (Khalid) promised to myself, I promised to PM, this is
responsibility to kill his career,''' the woman continued.
``I got it 30 minutes ago from PM's department. From this man saying that,
congratulations Encik Khalid, you have done a great job, go ahead, waiting
moment the eyes will see him in court and drag everybody in court,'' the
``Then the whole thing explodes, the whole nation will know who is Anwar
That is their intention,'' the voice said.
In a separate development on Wednesday, a Kuala Lumpur court dismissed
a suit by
Anwar challenging his sacking by Mahathir, the official Bernama news agency
The capital's High Court rejected Anwar's claim that Mahathir had violated
constitution by allegedly failing to obtain the king's consent before sacking