Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been arrested and taken to police headquarters in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Local media reports say Dr Anwar was detained outside his home and driven away in a convoy of police vehicles, flanked by two officers in balaclavas.
His Keadilan party, which leads a three-member opposition alliance, issued an immediate call for supporters to rally outside party headquarters in central Kuala Lumpur.
Dr Anwar’s lawyer, Sankara Nair, says the police did not specify what the opposition leader is being charged with.
He had been due to meet police later in the day on a sexual assault charge lodged by a former aide.
Dr Anwar says the charges against him are politically motivated, designed to prevent the resurgent opposition from toppling the government.
Dr Anwar has said he is poised to seize power from Premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi with the help of government defectors, after his opposition alliance claimed one third of parliamentary seats and five states in March elections.
In 1998, Dr Anwar was sacked as deputy premier and jailed on sodomy and corruption allegations, which he also maintains were politically motivated.
He was freed from prison in September, 2004, after six years in custody, when the country’s top court quashed his conviction and nine-year jail sentence for sodomy.
The same court later refused to hear a new appeal against his conviction and six-year sentence for corruption.
He was barred from holding political office until this year.
ANWAR IBRAHIM is a VICTIM of the corrupt systems in a country where the present leaders claimed it as a civilised and democratic nation. Shame on YOU – Dollah and Najib.