World: Asia-Pacific

Malaysian ex-minister demands
Mahathir's resignation

The former Malaysian deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, has challenged the long-serving Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, to resign.

Mr Anwar, who was dismissed at the beginning of the month, was speaking in eastern Malaysia Kuala Trengganu where he attracted an audience of several thousand.

Disobeying an order not to hold any public rallies without permission, Mr Anwar asked the crowd whether they backed his call for Dr Mahathir to stand down after seventeen years.

The majority expressed their support for Mr Anwar.

Correspondents say calls for Dr Mahathir to resign are extremely rare and it is the first time Mr Anwar has made such a demand. Mr Anwar was sacked after being accused of being morally unfit for office -- an accusation he denies.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service