Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pak Lah leads anti-Anwar charge -

At the opposition bashing fiesta, Abdullah picked on Anwar - the PKR de facto leader - even though he had declared at the onset of his speech that it is no longer important to talk about him.

"I don't need to talk about Anwar, he is not important to me, he is not important to Umno. He doesn�t have friends in Umno because he fights against the party.

"The party can�t accept him back, no way! We have enough leaders, no need to wait for him to come back," he thundered to a round of applause.

Abdullah said that, since Anwar is not being accepted, the latter has started to "look for friends" in the opposition parties. He reiterated Anwar has merely been making irresponsible "empty promises" to voters.

BN leaders had earlier dismissed the ex-deputy premier - who was sacked in 1998 after a fallout with then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad - as not having significant political influence.

Abdullah also took on Guan Eng, questioning the DAP secretary-general�s sincerity in contesting in Penang.

"I heard that Penangites not only want a chief minister who is from Penang, but also from the island. Where does Lim Guan Eng come from? He ran away from Malacca and came here, does he think that the Penangites are stupid or what?" he asked.

Timeline: Malaysian politics - Al Jazeera

Malaysians go to the polls on March 8th in the country's 12th general election since gaining independence 50 years ago.

The following is a brief look at some of the key events in Malaysia's political scene in the last 10 years.


Mahathir Mohamad, then Malaysian prime minister, sacks deputy Anwar Ibrahim for alleged sexual misconduct amid differences over economic policy in the wake of the Asian financial crisis.

Anwar acts as lightning rod for opposition to government, mobilising thousands of people on to the streets to demand reforms.


April – Anwar found guilty of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison.

November – Mahathir's Barisan Nasional coalition dealt severe blow at elections, dropping nine percentage points from the previous poll to 56 per cent of the popular vote and from 84 per cent of the seats in parliament to under 77 per cent.


Anwar found guilty of sodomy and jailed nine years.


Mahathir resigns after 22 years in power, handing reins to Abdullah Badawi.


March - Abdullah wins landslide general election victory, getting nearly 64 per cent of the popular vote and more than 90 per cent of the seats in parliament.

September - Anwar freed after court overturns sodomy conviction but corruption conviction continues to stand, meaning he is banned from politics for five years.


Government reaffirms affirmative action plan first implemented in 1971 to reduce income disparity, especially between poor Malays and rich Chinese.

The original goal was to bridge the gap in 20 years but government now says the plan – criticised as racial discrimination - will be in place until 2020


May - Top civil court rejects ethnic Malay woman's appeal to be recognised as a Christian, ruling that she must go to the Islamic court – where she could face prosecution – to formally recognise her conversion.

The case highlights a string of others - with accusations of bodies taken from families for religious burials and children taken from converts - sparking charges of religious persecution.

July - Najib Razak, the deputy prime minister, says Malaysia is an Islamic state, not a secular one, echoing Mahathir's declaration in 2001.

August - Malaysia marks 50 years of independence.

November - Police use tear gas and chemcial-laced water cannon to break up an opposition-backed protest by the group Bersih (meaning "clean" in Malay), calling for changes to the electoral system.

Two weeks later riot police use similar tactics to break up a protest by thousands of ethnic Indian Malaysians demonstrating against racial and religious discrimination.


February - Police break up protest by several hundred ethnic Indians. Protesters say they had been trying to deliver flowers to the prime minister in a peaceful demonstration.

March - Malaysia votes in its 12th general elections