PKR chief says sexual assault allegation made to hinder his PM bid.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed as “utterly false and fabricated” an allegation of sexual misconduct against him linked to Muhammad Yusoff Rawther.
In a statement of defence and counterclaim filed yesterday against Yusoff’s suit, the Port Dickson MP contended that the alleged sexual assault could not have happened because he was entertaining family and friends at his Bukit Segambut residence.
“As pleaded in paragraph 25.3 (in Anwar’s statement of claim and counterclaim), at approximately 2pm to between 5pm and 6pm, Anwar had entertained family and friends at the Bukit Segambut residence.
“In the circumstances, Anwar contends that Yusoff’s allegations in paragraphs 16 to 24 (of Yusoff’s statement of claim for the suit) are utterly false and fabricated,” the PKR president said in the court papers filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday (Sept 28).
In July, Yusoff filed a civil action claiming that he was the victim of sexual misconduct by Anwar in October 2018.
Through the court papers, Anwar denied the contents of Yusoff’s statutory declaration dated Nov 19, 2019, on the allegations of sexual assault by the former at the Bukit Segambut residence.
The PKR veteran contended that Yusoff was never employed as a research assistant at the former’s office at Bukit Gasing, but rather that the latter had joined as a junior volunteer/intern involved in administrative work.
Yusoff, who claimed he was Anwar’s research assistant, came into the limelight in 2019 when he alleged he was physically assaulted at Anwar’s office and claimed at a press conference on Dec 3 the same year that he was also sexually assaulted.
Yusoff relied on the statutory declaration during the media briefing.
‘Allegation aimed to prevent Anwar’s premiership’
In Anwar’s counterclaim against Yusoff, he claimed that the latter concocted the allegations to “tarnish Anwar’s political image and to ensure that Anwar did not become prime minister”.
The PKR president contended that the allegations were timed ahead of the then 14th PKR National Congress in Malacca in December 2019, during the transition of the premiership from then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to Anwar.
Anwar claimed that the political party was then beset with internal discord, which included certain quarters opposed to his advancement and leadership.
The lawmaker questioned why Yusoff took more than a year after the alleged sexual assault incident to affirm the statutory declaration on Nov 19, 2019, which was approximately two weeks before the PKR congress.
Anwar pointed out that Yusoff only conducted the press conference on Dec 4, 2019, which was a day before the party congress.
The veteran politician also contended that Yusoff took over a year to finally lodge the police report on Dec 7, 2019, when the PKR congress was in full swing.
“In this premise, this suit is an abuse of process. Yusoff did not institute this suit with the genuine intention of obtaining legal redress.
“Anwar contends that the dominant purpose for which Yusoff invoked this suit is for a collateral purpose, namely to tarnish his political reputation and image by reason of the falsity of the allegations.
“Anwar, therefore, contends that Yusoff deliberately timed his false allegations to surface just prior to and during the congress to cause maximum damage to Anwar’s reputation and political career,” the court papers said.
Through the counterclaim, he seeks for Yusoff to bear general, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs, and any further relief deemed fit by the court.
Anwar is represented by lawyers from law firm Messrs Jeffrey Lee.
Counsel from Messrs Abd Halim Ushah & Associates acted for Yusoff.
Malaysiakini is in the midst of reaching out to the parties for a response.
According to the online cause list, the legal action is fixed for case management before the Kuala Lumpur High Court Registry on Oct 29.
By : HIDIR REDUAN ABDUL RASHID – MALAYSIAKINI