Malaysia’s top opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim accused the ruling party on Sunday of using “dirty tactics” to disrupt his bid to return to parliament in a forthcoming by-election.

Ibrahim filed his papers on Saturday for contesting the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat to be held on 26th August, vacated by his wife Wan Aziza last month.

He alleged that he has information that the Barisan Nasional (BN) party was going to bribe voters to refrain from voting for him, “BN will give RM500 to each voter not to vote for Anwar Ibrahim, but my advice to you is to take the money, but vote for me,” he said, according to a news agency.

The 61 year-old leader said the government was exploiting friction between majority Malays and minority ethnic Chinese and Indians to deter his bid.

He claimed ruling coalition supporters were spreading SMS text messages alleging that he was a “Chinese agent”.

They will also try to highlight the new sodomy charges brought against him, he said, terming these “dirty tactics”.

“It is a malicious campaign on their part and is completely immoral,” he said. “We will work hard to maintain support and improve it.”

The by-election will be seen as a test of popularity of the embattled leader after fresh sodomy charges were pressed against him by his former aide, a case in which he is currently on bail.

“I am telling you there is no case, they cannot proceed…the medical report is clear. In the event the judiciary is fair, whichever judge hears the case will throw it out,” he said.

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