KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 (AP) - Malaysia: Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad heaped scorn Wednesday on plans by his ex-deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, to re-enter politics, saying Anwar cannot make a major impact.
Mahathir, who fired Anwar in 1998 over accusations of homosexuality and corruption, said Anwar might still have enough public support to help his opposition People's Justice Party "win a few seats" in Malaysia's next general election.
"But making a comeback and taking over the government, that's a pipe dream," Mahathir, who retired as prime minister in 2003 after 22 years in power, told reporters.
After Mahathir fired him, Anwar was arrested, tried and convicted of corruption and sodomy, and sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison. He was released in 2004 after
Anwar has said the charges were trumped up because he had begun to challenge Mahathir's authority. Mahathir has denied any political conspiracy against Anwar.
Anwar, 59, declared earlier this month that he would run in May 26 elections for his party, even though his corruption sentence bars him from holding any political office and from running in general elections until April 2008.
Anwar's wife currently is the party's president and is expected to step aside for him to contest the post. If he succeeds, the party would have to apply to the Registrar of Societies to request that the ban on political office be waived.
General elections are not due until mid-2009, but speculation has risen that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi might call polls by early next year.
Anwar has spent most of the past few years lecturing at universities abroad, but he recently began spending more time in Malaysia to help the opposition push for wider democratic rights. AP