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Anwar stays in Malaysia: Mahathir

Malaysia Anwar
Anwar was last seen wearing a neck brace and was in a wheelchair  


PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has refused to allow his disgraced former deputy to leave the country for medical treatment.

Mahathir's refusal to budge on the issue of overseas treatment for Anwar's back problem was reiterated Thursday during his meeting with opposition politicians.

"He [Mahathir] said the treatment must be done within the country," opposition chief Fadzil Noor, head of Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS) was quoted by Reuters News Agency as saying.

Fadzil and other opposition leaders met Mahathir at the government's new administrative seat of Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur.

Fadzil said Mahathir had also promised to allow Anwar's treatment to take place at any hospital in Malaysia, and not necessarily a state-run one.

Anwar was taken to the hospital in November, but returned to the Sungai Buloh prison where he is serving a collective 15-year jail term for sexual misconduct and corruption earlier this month.

The former deputy prime minister wants to travel to Germany to have the operation there.

He has said the endoscopic microspinal surgery that he wants for his back is less risky than the conventional treatment available from local surgeons.

Anwar believes his injury could be related to the beating he suffered soon after his arrest. Ex-police chief Abdul Rahim Noor was jailed for two months in April for the assault.

Mahathir has accused Anwar of exploiting his health problem for political gain.

Reuters contributed to this report.







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