World News

Malaysia opposition says opened talks with govt

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim gestures during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur September 18, 2008. REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s opposition said on Tuesday it had opened talks with the government via a third party on the current political impasse, a claim denied by the government.

The claim came on the day that Anwar Ibrahim’s opposition alliance had wanted parliament to be recalled from recess to hold a confidence vote in Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and a day before Anwar was due in court on sodomy charges.

“We managed to break through in some discussions through a third party and soon a direct negotiation will happen between Abdullah and Anwar,” said Tian Chua, information chief of Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

One of Prime Minister ‘s political secretaries said there were no such talks as far as he was aware.

“You can’t lie to all the people all the time,” said Alwi Che Ahmad referring to Anwar. He dismissed Tian Chua’s claim as “rubbish.”

Anwar’s three-party opposition alliance has been pressing the government, which has ruled Malaysia for over 50 years since independence, since it scored its best ever election result in March.

Anwar had said previously that he had convinced enough MPs from the Barisan Nasional government to switch to his side.

Anwar’s alliance holds 82 seats in the 222-strong parliament.