Opposition leader Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, who is fighting a sodomy charge that he claims was concocted by the government to tarnish his reputation, faces further potential embarrassment as two members of Anwar's political party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) were arrested on charges of alleged bribery, by Malaysia's anti-corruption watchdog on Wednesday (20 Aug 08).
The two Perak state executive councillors (excos), Mr Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu and Mr Jamaluddin Mohd Radz were among the six people in total who were detained in the operation by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).
The ACA said it detained the two state legislators and four other suspects in Perak state for alleged crimes in connection to a RM180 million ($76 million) housing project and a sex case.
Opposition leaders fear that the arrests were meant to undermine public support for Mr Anwar ahead of next week's parliamentary by-election in Permatang Pauh. PKR deputy leader Syed Husin Ali has said that the manner in which the arrests were made "indicates the possibility that the individuals involved may have been victims of entrapment", according to Malaysiakini news portal.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was quoted by Bernama news agency as saying the detention of the two Perak lawmakers shows that the steps taken to improve the ACA's capacity is bearing fruit.
The government has denied the allegations.
Today, 21 Aug 2008, Two Opposition Lawmakers Arrested? Arrests could mar Anwar's bid to re-enter parliament