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UMI HAFILDA 'ADORES' MAHATHIR

From: The Times of India
Date: 04 May 1999
Time: 14:11:39

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KUALA LUMPUR: A star witness in the trial of ousted deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim said she is patriotic and admires Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. ``I would say it's Mahathir but I know somebody will say, this is another conspiracy,'' Ummi Hafilda Ali, the sister of Mohamad Azmin Ali, Anwar's former private secretary, was quoted as saying by the Sunday Star newspaper.

``I adore our Prime Minister. He has been too kind, he's the best leader,'' the 31-year-old advertising company boss said, adding that ``I want to tell him that sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind.''

Ummi's views were contained in a one-page article in the tabloid newspaper with the bold headline: ``The battle is not over yet forUmmi''. In a letter sent to Mahathir in 1997, Ummi accused Anwar of having sex with his driver Azizan Abu Bakar as well as Azmin's wife Shamsidar Taharin.

Ummi was one of two key prosecution witnesses in Anwar's five-month trial which ended earlier this month with his conviction on four corruption charges. During Anwar's trial, Ummi repeatedly denied she was obsessed with him and angrily rejected assertions from the defence that she used to keep a picture of Anwar under her pillow. Ummi hit headlines again on Friday when she sued a Malaysian newspaper for libel, alleging that she was described as a ``small-time hooker'' in a satirical article last month. She reportedly challenged Harakah to prove the allegations even though she was not specifically named in the article.

``If they say I am a hooker, then I must have my clientele,'' she was quoted as saying in Friday's edition of The Sun, adding that Harakah ``will not be able to find any witnesses or any customers who subscribed to my sexual services. I also challenge it to submit any proof in any form -- be it mattress, pillow, clothes, video or pictures --to prove that I am a hooker,'' Ummi said.

Ummi, in the interview, also said she was single but ``there was someone close to her'' but declined to elaborate. ``No, I have never been married. And certaintly I am not a prostitute.''(AFP)

Last changed: May 06, 1999