15 April 2008

The rise, fall and rise of Malaysia's Anwar......

Malaysian police have threatened supporters of politician Anwar Ibrahim with stern action over a planned Monday night rally in Kuala Lumpur to mark the former deputy premier's return to politics, newspapers said. The rally, which police say does not have a permit, is to celebratethe end of a five-year ban on Anwar, 60, taking political office, which expires on Tuesday.

Anwar is widely held to be eyeing the premiership, but has been in the political wilderness since being dumped from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UNMO) party in 1998.

Here are some key dates in the career of one of Asia's best-known rebel politicians.

1971 - Joins Malaysia's ruling party, UMNO, in his
1982 - Appointed junior minister in government.
1991 - Appointed finance minister.
1993 - Promoted to deputy prime minister.

Sept 2, 1998 - Sacked from all posts in government after a fallout with then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Sept 3, 1998 - Anwar says he was the victim of a conspiracy at the highest level.

Sept 4, 1998 - UMNO expels Anwar. Mahathir, the party's president, says Anwar is "not suitable" to be leader.

Sept 20, 1998 - Anwar leads tens of thousands of supporters around Kuala Lumpur, calling on Mahathir to step down. Protesters converge on Mahathir's residence where riot police fire tear gas and water cannon. Police arrest Anwar at his home.

Sept 29, 1998 - Anwar arrives in court with a black eye, saying police beat him unconscious after his arrest. Pleads not guilty to five corruption and four sodomy charges.

Sept 30, 1998 - Anwar pleads not guilty to an additional sodomy charge.

Oct 2, 1998 - Leading world figures condemn the reported police assault on Anwar.

Nov 2, 1998 - Anwar goes on trial for abuse of power.

April 14, 1999 - Anwar convicted on four corruption counts and sentenced to six years in jail, triggering violent street protests that raged for four days. Conviction draws international criticism.

June 7, 1999 - Anwar and his adopted brother, Sukma Darmawan, go on trial for sodomising his family's former driver.

Aug 8, 2000 - Anwar sentenced to nine years in jail for sodomy.

July 10, 2002 - Federal Court, Malaysia's highest, rejects Anwar appeal on abuse of power case.

Oct 31, 2003 - Mahathir steps down as premier, hands power to his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Sept 2, 2004 - Released from jail as Federal Court acquits Anwar on sodomy charge. Five-year ban on holding party or political office,stemming from 2003 corruption charge, remains.

March 8, 2008 - Ban sees Anwar sit out election where opposition coalition of his Keadilan Party and allies capture five of the 13 states. UNMO thrown into disarray, dipping below two-thirds parliamentary majority for first time in four decades.

April 14 - Malaysian police threaten stern action against Monday night rally expected to draw thousands of Anwar supporters, one day before official end of his ban from political office on April 15. - Source: Reuters

Breaking News....

About 20,000 people thronged the Sultan Sulaiman Club tonight to welcome Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to electoral politics. Among the crowd was Parti Keadilan Rakyat president and Anwar's wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, daughter Nurul Izzah, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PKR vice president Azmin Ali and Batu MP Tian Chua. DAP and Pas leaders also turned up for the event.

When Anwar arrived at 8.50pm, there were shouts of reformasi but no untoward incidents. Police, including the Federal Reserve Unit and Light Strike Force patrolled the area but people were allowed to move about freely. There was also a large foreign media presence, including television crew.

Anwar, the PKR adviser, was banned from contesting any elections for five years after his release from jail following his conviction of corruption and abuse of power charges. Tonight, the ban expired and Anwar is legally allowed to be active in electoral politics.During the last general election he went around the country giving ceramah for his party's candidates as well as those from Pas and DAP.

However, when Anwar tried to deliver a speech, a dozen policemen went on stage to stop Anwar on grounds that he was addressing the rally.-AFP Read here,here and here.


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