Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's ambitious plan to seize power seemed to have lost momentum when he pushed back the date for his supposed takeover indefinitely.
Despite repeatedly saying that he has the required number of defectors to form a new government, two deadlines set by Anwar have passed with no significant development.
16 Sept was supposed to be the day that he would form a new government. 23 Sept was the date by which he wanted an emergency Parliament session to be called to deliberate on a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.
"It is not an issue of deadlines any more. Who could have anticipated that the Prime Minister would refuse to hold an emergency Parliament session when we already have the numbers?" he said.
Appearing to backtrack on claims that he was poised to grab power, he appealed for patience from Malaysians clamouring for change, saying that the opposition did "not want to transgress constitutional rules and procedures".
'It will take a lot of patience, a lot of resolve to try and unravel this complex web controlled by a few cronies," he told reporters Thursday (25 Sept) after the latest hearing on his sodomy case.
He also denied that officials from his party had held talks with the government, contrary to a statement made by his Parti Keadilan Rakyat's information chief Tian Chua on Tuesday (23 Sept).
He joked that it was one of the few times he agreed with the Prime Minister, who had earlier rubbished reports on Mr Chua's claim.
Anwar added that he had written to the king, updating him on the opposition's request for an emergency Parliament session, but said that he did not seek an audience with the monarch.
An audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agung is seen as one of his last options to push the issue of the takeover, because the king has the power to ask for a confidence vote.
But Anwar said he wanted to "exhaust all available avenues, including the possibility of a meeting with the Prime Minister", before considering that option.
Looking forward, the next plausible date for any development to take place is 13 Oct, when Parliament resumes after Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. The opposition is planning to table another no-confidence vote then.
Anwar's new stance on the takeover looks set to fuel speculation on whether the opposition actually has the numbers to engineer one - a stand that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has stuck to all along after 16 Sept passed.
Asked about the government's accusations that he was a liar, he said: 'If they really believe I am a liar, then put it to a test. Have a vote taken in Parliament.'
Meanwhile, his sodomy case has been postponed yet again to 7 Oct, when he will know whether it will be heard in the High Court. Sessions Court judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah said she needed two weeks to consider submissions and case laws cited by both parties.
The case was adjourned two weeks ago after the defence opposed the prosecution's application to have it transferred to the High Court, saying it needed time to prepare the grounds for the objection.
Security was high at the Jalan Duta court complex, where the hearing took place yesterday.
The police stationed 80 officers there and those attending the hearing had to go through two rounds of checks and a metal detector scan.
The opposition leader was charged with sodomy last month after former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, lodged a police report alleging that he had been sexually assaulted. (By TEO CHENG WEE/ The Straits Times/ ANN)
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