On 14th April 2008, around 8.50pm, deafening shouts of reformasi from the 20,000-strong (some say 40,000) crowd welcomed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim arrival at Kampung Baru, central Kuala Lumpur, the venue for the Black 14 gathering held to welcome the expiry on his five-year ban from contesting in elections.
Time really flies. I still remember the bold headlines on all newspapers on the 3rd of September 1998, declaring “ANWAR SACKED”. Not many national headlines could top that, ever or since!
Noting the historic proportions of what was unveiling, I was completely engrossed and noted the minutest details from any source that I could find, at least for the first few weeks since the news broke.
One result of my efforts then was this chronology of events leading to the date of sacking and onwards to a few months later – I am not sure if this is available anywhere else. It must be noted that I did not jot down the exact sources of information then, so the authenticity of the following cannot be 100% ascertained.
Chronology of events
Detained under ISA until 1976 (22 months).
Poison pen letter
The book “50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM” hastily released.
7th June 1998
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urges Umno members to stop the practice of cronyism, corruption and nepotism in the party. Umno Youth chief Datuk Zahid Hamidi echoed his call and said it was a serious problem in awarding of government contracts to bumiputra giant companies.
Zahid says Umno Youth will, at the the Umno General Assembly on June 18, reveal instances of nepotism in the awarding of mega projects.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad denies foreign media reports of a rift between him and Anwar.
Anwar obtains an injunction against Khalid Jafri, author of 50 Dalil Mengapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Menjadi PM (50 Reasons why Anwar cannot become PM).
Dr Mahathir says he will support Anwar if there is a contest for the number two post. He also says that Umno will investigate whether Khalid’s book had any basis.
Anwar reiterates his loyalty to Dr Mahathir.
Police receives four reports in connection with Khalid’s book, including a report from former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik.
Anwar refutes speculation that his position as Finance Minister will be undermined by the appointment of Tun Daim Zainuddin as Special Functions Minister.
Anwar says there is an attempt to topple him and claims that Khalid’s book is the tool used to achieve this. He also denies Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Ahmad Mohd Dom would resign.
Anwar obtains fresh injunction on Khalid Jafri’s book.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor says police are making detail investigations into the book.
Anwar denies reports of policy differences with Dr Mahathir following the resignation of group editors of Berita Harian and Utusan Melayu.
Anwar succeeds in getting an interim injuction to stop distribution of Khalid’s book.
A businessman implicated in the Khalid’s book is detained for questioning.
Anwar again denies rumours that he will resign because of differences with Dr Mahathir.
Anwar, as Penang Umno liaison chief, along with the state’s 11 divisions, again pledges his loyalty to Dr Mahathir, reiterating his promise that he will not challenge Dr Mahathir in the next party’s elections.
* Khalid Jafri is charged in court and in connection with the case, Magnum Corporation Berhad’s executive director Datuk Nallakaruppan Solaiman, is charged with possessing 125 rounds of ammunition without permit.
* Anwar again denies rumours of him resigning.
Anwar calls on people to rally behind Dr Mahathir for the country’s economic recovery.
A Sessions Court fixes Khalid’s hearing for Dec 7.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mokhtar Abdullah does not rule out the possibility of more arrests in connection with Khalid’s book.
Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Ahmad Dom and his deputy Datuk Fong Weng Phak resign. No reasons given. Later it was reported that they quit in protest of the economic measures put forward by Mahathir.
Tension can be seen between the wives of the PM and DPM. According to Dr Wan Azizah, Dr Siti Hasmah adopted a regal pose and brushed her hand aside when Dr Wan tried to shake hands with her during the National Day celebrations in Penang. “In politics, you’ve got to have a thick skin”: Dr Wan Azizah. (source: Borneo Post (Sabah))
Evening: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad meets Mentris Besar at Sri Perdana while Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim meets Penang Umno division leaders at his official residence. Apparently, the PM wanted to show the MBs the “evidence” of Anwar’s “problem”, and to ask their opinion.
* morning: rumours of Anwar resigning circulate among the press
* 10am: Anwar meets PM. PM asks him to resign. Anwar refuses. PM gives him until 3pm to relent.
* 4pm: Four journalists arrive at Anwar’s residence at 47, Jalan Damansara. A policeman on duty inside Anwar’s house asks them to stay outside. A number of cars believed to be of his supporters are seen parked inside the compound.
* 4.30pm: The group of journalists grows bigger and a few policemen are now seen inside the compound watching the gate.
* 5pm: More of Anwar’s friends and supporters begin arriving.
* 5.30pm: Two police cars and Land Rovers arrive to control rush hour traffic outside the house and the number of pressmen swells to about 50. They seal off part of the road leading to the homes of Anwar and Dr Mahathir.
* 6pm: More supporters arrive, including some who claim they are university students. By this time the crowd inside the house is estimated at 100.
* 7pm: Anwar’s sacking letter reaches him. A white Volvo with several people inside is seen leaving the house.
* 7.45pm: Three FRU trucks carrying personnel and one police Land Rover are seen passing by Anwar’s place and park in the area around the Prime Minister’s house, 100m away.
* 7.50pm: Anwar’s wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail comes out of the house alone, and drives off in a Mitsubishi Pajero. She looks calm. According to Anwar’s supporters, she drove to the Prime Minister’s official residence, 100m away. And according to some sources, Wan Azizah drove to say goodbye to the PM and Dr Siti Hasmah. There is some information saying that Dr Siti Hasmah was so touched that she wept.
* 8.30pm: One of the reporters calls Anwar’s press secretary Adlin M. Sabri, who is inside the house. When asked, Adlin says Anwar will not issue a statement and neither will he (Adlin). Asked what they are doing inside, he says they are praying.
* 8.45pm: One of Anwar’s lawyers, Sulaiman Abdullah, arrives at his house.
* 9.40pm: IGP Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor is seen passing by Anwar’s house in a Mercedes.
* 10.10pm: Two women place two candles at the driveway of the house, after being refused entry by the police.
* 11.30pm: IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor tells reporters at Bukit Aman that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is under investigation for allegations made in book “50 reasons why Anwar cannot become Prime Minister.” He said police was monitoring the security situation in the country.
3rd September (Thursday)
* 1am: Anwar’s press secretary Adlin M. Zabri informs the media near his Jalan Damansara residence that the former Deputy Prime Minister has no statement to make.
* 1.15am: Anwar’s political secretary Anuar Shaari assures supporters that everything will be okay and tells them to go home.
* 5am: Journalists camp outside Sri Perdana and Anwar’s home while armed police patrol the area, keeping journalists and supporters about 100m away.
* 8.45am: Magnum public affairs director Datuk S. Nallakaruppan, who is detained under the ISA, is brought to the High Court at Jalan Raja for hearing of application to transfer him from the Bukit Aman lock-up to Sungai Buloh prison.
* 9.25am: Some 30 General Operations Force personnel armed with M-16s in two trucks stop outside Anwar’s residence. They get down and walk towards Sri Perdana.
* 9.40am: The hearing of Nalla’s case begins before Justice Abdul Wahab Patail and the contents of four affidavits are later made public.
* 10.35am: Nalla’s lawyers Manjeet Singh Dhillon and Balwant Singh Sidhu arrive at Anwar’s residence.
* 11.15am: The lawyers leave after declining to say if they briefed Anwar on Nalla’s case.
* 11.55am: A four-wheel drive vehicle carrying Anwar’s and his family’s belongings leaves the residence and heads for Anwar’s own house at Bukit Damansara.
* 12.15pm: Umno Youth chief Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi goes into Anwar’s residence.
* 2.35pm: Zahid with Umno Youth secretary Saifuddin Nasution Ismail drive out of Anwar’s house.
* 2.57pm: A Mercedes Benz believed to be driven by Anwar’s father leaves the house.
* 3pm: Anwar moves out of the house with his wife and children in a four-wheel drive vehicle after telling reporters that he will hold a press conference at his Bukit Damansara home. Halfway, his entourage passes the Prime Minister’s entourage of cars, which was heading for the city.
* 3.08pm: Anwar denies allegations in the affidavit and tells a press conference at his house that there is a political conspiracy against him at the highest level.
* 4.25pm: Minister in PM’s Department Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad, Umno Youth chief Zahid Hamidi, PAS president Fadzil Noor, are seen with Anwar in the house.
* 5.05pm: Manjeet Singh arrives at Anwar’s house in a Mercedes Benz. He leaves 40 minutes later.
* 6.05pm: Two Astro technicians arrive to install a satellite dish.
* 7.15pm: Anwar goes live on CNBC in a telephone interview, saying that he hopes for the best but is prepared for the worst. Some 50 Anwar supporters, including former Deputy Health Minister Datuk Farid Ariffin watch the broadcast in the living room.
* 7.25pm: Anwar concludes the CNBC interview, comes downstairs and hugs Farid. They then perform the maghrib prayers.
* 7.35pm: Anwar holds discussions with supporters.
* 8.07pm: Dr Mahathir arrives at PWTC to chair the Umno Supreme Council meeting. Present at PWTC are some 500 Umno supporters.
* 8.15pm: Anwar leaves his home in a Pajero heading for PWTC. His wife and two aides accompany him.
* 8.30pm: Anwar arrives to cheers.
* 8.45pm: Dr Mahathir chairs Umno supreme council meeting.
* 10.20pm: Anwar’s supporters who number 1,000 start chanting and singing.
* 10.30pm: Anwar’s supporters distribute two private and confidential letters from Anwar to the Prime Minister dated Aug 25 and Aug 28 defending himself against all allegations.
* Anwar expelled from UMNO during Supreme Exco meeting at PWTC. A few ministers were jeered when they made their way to PWTC, including Daim Zainuddin, Sabaruddin Chik and Najib Tun Razak. When Dr Mahathir emerged at 1.30 am (Friday morning), he was booed, jeered and pelted with plastic bottles and cans. Apparently, Zahid also raised his hand during the “consensus”. He was asked a few times whether he’s sure, and he said yes. “Sources close to Dato Zahid” explains that the so called consensus decision of the UMNO supreme council to expel Anwar never was a consensus. The meeting began with Mahathir simply saying that Anwar is a womanizer and must be expelled. He said that Sanusi Junid, Megat Junid and Daim showed him all the evidence. The “evidence” was the in form of prostitutes and transvetites brougth to see him. Anwar then swore in the name of Allah that he never commited any of the sexual misconducts and that he will not resign. The attack on Anwar was then lead by Ibrahim Ali and Sulaiman Mohd. Four members stood to defend Anwar. They were Dato Khalid Yunus, Dato’ Ibrahim Saad, Dato Afifuddin Omar and Dato’ Zahid Hamidi. Zahid objected because Mahathir was basically making the Supreme Council into a court where he himself is the police, judge, prosecutor and executioner. Mahathir continued rambling that Anwar is immoral and must be expelled. Mahathir insisted and the other Supreme Council members played along with him. He then announced to the media the so call “unanimous decision”. No show cause letter was ever issued to Anwar, no discplinary proceeding was initiated and he was just summarily dismissed.
* Electric supply to Anwar’s former official resident was cut off the very night he was expelled.
4th September (Friday)
* 12.35am: Anwar emerges from meeting and tells his supporters that he has been sacked. He vows to fight against all the charges levelled at him.
* 12.45am: Anwar leaves PWTC to shouts of Hidup Anwar.
* 12.50am: Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad tells a press conference that the supreme council has decided to expel Anwar from the party.
* 1am: Supreme Council members start leaving.
* 1.05am: Dr Mahathir walks out. Crowd gets unruly and starts hurling objects in his direction. He is escorted by his bodyguards and driven away. The crowd continues shouting.
* Afternoon: Anwar performed Friday prayers at the Bukit Damansara mosque. He gave a speech after the prayers and the congregation was shouting “Allahuakbar”. They then carried him around the compound. Even the non-Malays in the surrounding offices came out to cheer him and shouted their support for him.
* Evening: According to one eyewitness who went to Anwar’s personal residence this evening, the following persons were there giving support and speeches: Chandra Muzafar, Samad Ismail, YB Ruhani Ahmad (Chairman of MARA and leader of the govt backbenchers club), Marina Yusoff, Dato Idris Jusoh, Dato Khalid Ibrahim (chairman of Guthrie), Prof Syed Naqib Al Attas, Dato Zahid Hamidi (there most of the time).
* Officially launches reform movement to “stand firm for justice, fight corruption and cronyism”.
* Several state governments have directed religious leaders not to allow mosques to be used for political purposes.
* Anwar cancels planned nationwide tour at last minute, due to fear of a backlash from the police.
* The New Straits Times quoted the country’s deputy police chief Norian Mai as confirming the arrest of Anwar’s adopted brother Siukam Sukma Darmawam, a businessman based in Kuala Lumpur.
* Anwar announces 2nd plan to go on nationwide tour. Scheduled to begin on 9th, 2 days before start of Commonwealth Games. Zahid pressured by some of his members to resign.
* Mahathir appoints Mustapa Mohamad, Entrepreneur Development Minister as Second Finance Minister with immediate effect. Mahathir will be First Finance Minister. Mustapa will continue to handle his current ministerial position, Bernama added. Some people are not pleased with this choice because allegedly, he made a mess while in charge of MARA.
* Mahathir gives official reason for Anwar’s sacking as: “doubts on his moral and personal integrity”.
Anwar cancels plans for a nationwide tour for the second time and will instead receive supporters at his home in the capital.
* Anwar arrested under ISA at 8.30pm at his home
* Zahid arrested under ISA at Kota Kinabalu
* Kamaruddin Mohd Nor detained under ISA
* Tian Chua arrested (from the Voice of the Malaysian People rights group, who chairs the Coalition for People’s Democracy)
* Sukma and Dr Munawar file appeal
* After 10 days in detention, Anwar finally emerges with a black eye and injured hand at the sessions court. His case is referred to the High Court and bail request was denied.
* Umno Youth Chief Zahid released from ISA, as well as 4 leaders of ABIM.
* Dr Mahathir hints that Anwar’s injuries in detention may be self-inflicted
* Zahid announces his resignation as Umno Youth Chief. “The decision to resign is not due to any particular party or UMNO leader,” he told a news conference. “It is due to the realisation of the importance of party unity and the sacrifice I had to make as leader of the youth wing.”
“As a leader with responsibility, I thought resigning was something I had to do,” he said. “I will continue to work for the party as a member and I will remain in UMNO. I hope my descision is respected by all parties.” (source: AFP)
* Kamaruddin Mohd Nor released from ISA detention
* Seven Malaysian women’s groups protests against alleged police violence and in support of Anwar and his associates who have been detained without trial. The groups are All Women’s Action Society, the Partners of Community Organisation, Sabah Women’s Resource Group, Women’s Development Collective, Tenaganita, the Women’s Friendship Association and the women’s wing of the committee in support of city exploration.
* Anwar taken to University Hospital for medical checkup
* KL Police refuse permit for pro-government rally at Bukit Jalil on security grounds
* Anwar allowed to see his family after several requests
* Wan Azizah files High Court application for Anwar’s release
* Anwar’s eldest daughter, Nurul Izzah, an 18-year-old chemical engineering student meets Indonesian president, BJ Habibie
* Nurul Izzah meets Phillipines president, Joseph Estrada who expressed his continued support for her father – though he stressed this was his personal position and not that
of the Philippine government.
* Anwar’s scheduled High Court hearing date