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Malaysia's Anwar gives statement to police after denying sexual assault

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Malaysian prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday he has given a statement to police after denying an accusation that he sexually assaulted a former aide a year ago.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysian prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday he has given a statement to police after denying an accusation that he sexually assaulted a former aide a year ago.

Muhammed Yusoff Rawther, who worked at a charity founded by Mr Anwar, had accused the former deputy premier of trying to force him to have sex in Sept 2018.

Mr Anwar has denied the charge, describing it as "politics at its worst".

Mr Anwar spent nearly a decade in jail on two separate counts of sodomy and for corruption, charges that he and his supporters maintain were aimed at ending his political career. He was first jailed in 1999.

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Mr Anwar spent an hour at police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday to provide his account of the allegations, he said in a statement.

"Throughout the process, I provided the facts and full cooperation to the police," he said.

Following the interview, police officials accompanied Mr Anwar and his lawyer to his home to complete their investigations, he said.

Malaysian police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Same-sex acts are illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia and carry penalties of up to 20 years in jail.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promised to hand over power to Mr Anwar in spite of the latest allegations against him.

Mr Anwar was first jailed during Mahathir's first 1981-2003 tenure as premier. The pair joined forces to lead the opposition to an unexpected election victory last year. 

REUTERS