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Yearbook 1998

Malaysia. According to Countryaah, Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysia's strong man for 17 years, ended up in political blows during the summer when Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, long seen as Mahathir's "Crown Prince", criticized the regime for corruption and slander. He demanded political and economic reform and was supported by UMNO (United Malays National Organization) youth leader Ahman Zahid Hamidi. In early September, Anwar Ibrahim was dismissed from both the government, where he was also deputy prime minister, and UMNO. At the same time, he was charged with abuse of power and violation of morality. He responded by speaking at mass meetings around the country for his reform movement and rejecting all charges. Protesters and police clashed several times, and on September 20, Anwar was arrested in his home in the capital Kuala Lumpur. On his first appearance in court just over a week later, he carried traces of police abuse, which sparked protests from other countries. Prime Minister Mahathir assured that Malaysia was politically stable, rejected demands for the government's resignation and accused Anwar of trying to seize power. In November, the trial began, by some seen as a litigation process and ultimately a political settlement between Mahathir's authoritarian establishment and the country's opposition. Anwar Ibrahim faces up to 20 years in prison.

1998 Malaysia

The government's disagreement over the failing economy was clear. In an effort to stop speculators and keep Malaysia out of Asia's financial crisis, Mahathir reintroduced strict currency controls and fixed exchange rates for the ringgit currency. The central bank's chief and deputy governor had previously resigned in protest against this.

The case of Anwar Ibrahim came to overshadow the state visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in connection with the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia in September. It also affected the country's other relations to the outside world. High politicians in i.a. The Philippines, Australia and the United States expressed concern over the allegations. When the Pacific Cooperation Forum APEC held a summit in M's capital Kuala Lumpur, November 17-18, US Vice President Al Gore hailed Anwar's reform demands and called his followers brave.

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