A leading opposition politician in Malaysia temporarily took refuge in the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur yesterday after his assistant accused him of sodomy.

Former Malaysian Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he wanted the government to guarantee his safety after his 23-year-old aide made the allegations.

The 60-year-old politician said the claims were false.

“Certain people in the hierarchy are involved in these allegations,” he said, according to the BBC.

The former Finance Minister was first accused of being gay in 1998 by the then-Prime Minister and fired from the cabinet for challenging his authority.

He had acted as his deputy for five years.

Ibrahim was then tried, convicted and handed a lengthy sentence of 15 years for sodomy and corruption.

He believed the trial was intended to restrict his political rise.

He was later released in September 2004 after the conviction was overturned.

This March he led the People’s Justice party in the general elections, where they gained support from the National Front coalition.

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

In July 2007 Ibrahim missed his chance to bring corrupt former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad to court for calling him a homosexual.

After 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad retired in 2003.

In 2006 he said that he would not allow his former deputy to become PM as he was a homosexual.

Ibrahim’s case was thrown out of the High Court after a judge ruled that the lawsuit was “unsustainable,” due to a similar lawsuit against bin Mohamad in 1999.