Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, has hit back at charges that he is gay.

Anwar was imprisoned on charges of sodomy and corruption in 1998, but after six years behind bars the sodomy charge was overturned.

He claims that his former boss Mathahir Mohammad, prime minister from 1981 to 2003, is trying to wreck his reputation and that the allegation of homosexuality is false.

Now he has challenged Mathahir to appear in court and defend his persistent allegationa that former deputy PM Anwar is gay.

Lawyers for the former PM have attacked the lawsuit as frivolous.

Last year, Mathahir said that he would not allow his former deputy to become PM as he was a homosexual.

In 2005 he told the media he had sacked Anwar to stop the mainly Muslim country having a gay leader.

Human rights groups have said that the charges that Anwar had gay sex with his brother, his driver and his speechwriter are untrue, and were used to smear Anwar to stop him from succeeding to the prime ministerial role.

“If he believes that he is justified in saying that he must have the moral courage to face me in court,” Anwar told the Borneo Bulletin.

“This latest attempt on his [Mathahir’s] part after two years to dismiss my suit without resorting to a trial clearly indicates he has no moral ground whatsoever to stand on.”

“He knows I have evidence which, when exposed in open court, will confirm all the statements I have made about his gross abuse of power, autocratic ways and corrupt practices during his rule,” said Anwar.