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Anwar's journey: 20 years of trials and triumphs
Published:  Sep 20, 2018 9:00 AM
Updated: 3:08 AM

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Anwar Ibrahim's arrest after he was sacked as deputy prime minister on September 2, 1998.

His dismissal, arrest and incarceration sparked the Reformasi movement which spawned a generation of activists, many of whom today have become elected representatives in the new Pakatan Harapan government are civil society leaders.

No one individual can claim credit for the country's historic transition to a "Malaysia Baru" after 61 years of BN's hegemonic power but the movement for change was built upon decades-long of dissent and activism.

Malaysiakini compiles here key events in the last 20 years that culminated in the historic outcome on May 9 general election.

Sept 2, 1998 - Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sacks his deputy Anwar Ibrahim on claims of corruption and sodomy.

"I have been given an ultimatum... either to resign or face the consequences of being sacked and the possibility of charges levelled against me... but I made it clear in no uncertain terms that I am not prepared to submit to this political conspiracy to undermine my position and defeat me through nasty schemes." - Anwar Ibrahim (Sept 3, 1998).

Sept 4, 1998 - Anwar is sacked as Umno deputy president and expelled from the party.

"I was convinced and I consider that he was not qualified to lead the country, not because of his differences with me over politics or economic practice but because his character does not qualify him to become a leader of a country like Malaysia.

"What I said is based on facts. I don't do this to a person who has been literally brought up by me to succeed me - my friend. Why should I do it to him. I have loads of enemies and I would like to do that to my enemies. I don't choose my friend, I don't choose an accusation that is so difficult to explain and so difficult for the people to accept." - Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Sept 8, 1998).

Sept 20, 1998 - Anwar leads thousands in protest on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, calling for Mahathir's resignation. He is arrested under the Internal Security Act at his home on the same night. More protests erupt in the following days.

Sept 29, 1998 - Anwar appears in court to face charges of corruption and sodomy with a black eye.

Sept 4, 1999 - Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and supporters form Parti Keadilan Nasional to contest in the coming general election.

April 14, 1999 - Anwar is convicted of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison.

Nov 29, 1999 - Opposition makes gains in the 10th general election but fails to shake BN's dominance.

Aug 8, 2000 - Anwar is convicted of sodomy and sentenced to nine years in prison.

April 29, 2001 - The Court of Appeal upholds Anwar's corruption conviction.

July 10, 2002 - Anwar loses final appeal at the Federal Court on his corruption conviction.

April 18, 2003 - The Court of Appeal upholds Anwar's sodomy conviction.

Aug 3, 2003 - Parti Keadilan Nasional merges with Parti Rakyat Malaysia to form PKR.

Oct 31, 2003 - Mahathir steps down as fourth prime minister, hands power to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

March 21, 2004 - BN wins a landslide victory in the 11th general election, buoyed by new leadership under Abdullah.

Sept 2, 2004 - Anwar freed after Federal Court acquits Anwar of sodomy.

"Thank God that it is over. But I remain committed with my struggle for justice... I also give credit to the prime minister". - Anwar Ibrahim (September 2, 2004)

Nov 10, 2007 - Thousands participate in the Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur organised by opposition parties to demand electoral reform. Police respond with water cannon and tear gas.

Nov 25, 2007 - Thousands of ethnic Indians protest against marginalisation in the Hindraf rally in Kuala Lumpur. Police crackdown again.

March 8, 2008 - Faced with a five-year ban from politics due to his past conviction, Anwar acts behind the scenes to negotiate direct fights between opposition parties against BN in the 12th general election. BN loses two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat in its worst performance in history.

April 2, 2008 - Pakatan Rakyat comprising PKR, DAP and PAS formed.

April 14, 2008 - Anwar's five-year ban on politics expires. 20,000 people gather at the "Black 14" rally to welcome his return to politics.

June 24, 2008 - Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan meets Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at his residence.

June 28, 2008 - Saiful lodges police report alleging he was sodomised by Anwar.

July 16, 2008 - Cops arrest Anwar who was travelling in a vehicle near his home.

Aug 7, 2008 - Anwar charged with sodomy, pleads not guilty.

Aug 26, 2008 - Anwar wins the Permatang Pauh by-election.

March 26, 2009 - Najib Abdul Razak takes over as the sixth prime minister.

July 9, 2011 - Civil society takes over Bersih, organises Bersih 2.0 rally. Police crack down on tens of thousands of protesters.

Jan 9, 2012 - The Kuala Lumpur High Court acquits Anwar in the Sodomy II case.

April 28, 2012 - Police violently cracks down on the Bersih 3.0 rally which saw around 100,000 protesting for electoral reforms.

May 5, 2013 - Pakatan Rakyat captures 52 percent of the popular vote in the 13th general election. BN performs worse than the last general election but retains power. 

March 7, 2014 - Court of Appeal overturns Anwar's acquittal, sentences him to five years in prison.

Feb 10, 2015 - Federal Court upholds Anwar's conviction and jail sentence.

"Going to jail, I consider a sacrifice I make for the people of this country. I have fought most of my life on behalf of the people of this country - for the people I am willing to go to jail or face any other consequence. My struggle will continue, wherever I am sent and whatever is done to me.

"To my friends and fellow Malaysians let me thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you have given me. And Allah is my witness. I pledge and I will not be silenced, I will fight on for freedom and justice and I will never surrender." - Anwar Ibrahim (Feb 10, 2015)

June 16, 2015 - Pakatan Rakyat disintegrates.

July 2, 2015 - International media report billions of ringgit from 1MDB ended up in Najib's bank accounts.

July 28, 2015 - Najib blocks investigation into him, sacks dissenting ministers.

Aug 29, 2015 - Hundreds of thousands protest at the Bersih 4 rally, now also training their sight on Najib's 1MDB corruption scandal that spans the globe. 

Sep 22, 2015 - Pakatan Harapan formed, comprising PKR, DAP and PAS splinter Amanah. Bersatu joins the coalition later.

Feb 29, 2016 - Mahathir quits Umno, vows to unseat Najib as prime minister.

March 4, 2016 - Mahathir joins forces with opposition to make the Citizen's Declaration calling for Najib's ouster on grounds of corruption.

May 17, 2016 - Anwar in a letter from prison expresses concern about the opposition working with Mahathir.

Sept 5, 2016 - Mahathir meets Anwar at the Kuala Lumpur High Court after 18 years as enemies. He seeks for Anwar's help to unseat Najib.

Sept 8, 2016 - Mahathir leads newly formed Umno splinter party Bersatu.

Nov 19, 2016 - Bersih 5 rally.

July 14, 2017 - Mahathir appointed as Pakatan Harapan chairperson, Anwar as the de facto leader.

Jan 7, 2018 - Mahathir named by Pakatan Harapan as its prime ministerial candidate. He agrees to hand power to Anwar after a "couple of years" if Harapan wins. Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah reads out a letter from her father consenting to the arrangement.

Jan 10, 2018 - Mahathir tries to meet Anwar at Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital but is denied by authorities. Mahathir says he wanted to thank Anwar for supporting him as the prime ministerial candidate.

May 9, 2018 - Harapan captures Putrajaya, ends BN's 61 years in power. Najib calls a still-imprisoned Anwar who is undergoing treatment in a hospital to work out an "arrangement", Anwar declines and refers him to Mahathir.

May 10, 2018 - Mahathir is sworn in as the seventh prime minister.

May 16, 2018 - Anwar is granted full royal pardon and released from detention ahead of the end of his sentence on June 8.

"Let bygones be bygones, I have genuinely forgiven him (Mahathir). This strength and unity by PKR, DAP, Bersatu and Amanah with the people are one of the ways that we can save this country from oppression and corruption... What more do we want out of Mahathir? He had said it was a mistake to sack me... People said words are easy but Anwar was beaten half dead and imprisoned. That was the past, it was me on the receiving end and I have forgiven, so you too should let bygones be bygones." - Anwar Ibrahim (May 26, 2018)

Aug 5, 2018 - Anwar formally takes over as PKR president after winning the position uncontested.

Sept 12, 2018 - PKR's Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah resigns to pave way for a by-election for Anwar's return to the Dewan Rakyat.

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