TIMELINE: Everything that’s happened so far in Malaysia’s explosive political saga

Some of the key players in the ongoing political drama are interim PM Mahathir, PKR chief Anwar, and his now-dismissed deputy chief, Azmin Ali.

This is a developing story. 

Move aside, coronavirus – the phrases “Malaysia”, “Anwar” and “Mahathir” are now trending nationwide across Twitter, after secretive political meetings took place over the weekend that suggested a secret plot to create a new Government.

Some of the key players in the ongoing political drama are interim PM Mahathir, PKR chief Anwar, and his now-dismissed deputy chief, Azmin Ali.

Read also: Mahathir is now interim PM – and he was picked by the King thanks to a longtime tradition

Last year, the Anwar-Azmin pair made the news after police revealed that a political party leader had paid thousands of ringgit to create gay sex tapes to discredit Azmin. He claimed the culprits were PKR leaders.

Things turned ugly when Anwar asked Azmin to resign if he were to be conclusively identified in the tapes. Azmin responded: “My loyalty has its limits.

Business Insider has compiled a list of the key events – and the politicians involved in them – that took place from Saturday, culminating in the PM’s shock resignation on Monday (Feb 24).

Political parties are listed in bold beside politicians’ names. Timings are estimates.

Saturday (Feb 22)

8pm: PH decides Mahathir will choose handover date

Sunday (Feb 23)

11am: Bersatu decides to leave PH

3pm: Umno holds a special meeting

7pm: Azmin Ali meets Bersatu, Umno and PAS members 

  • Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali (PKR) meets politicians from various parties in the boardroom of the Sheraton Resort in Petaling Jaya, where they are sighted from at least 1.30pm.

  • Spotted at the hotel are a laundry list of politicians, including Mustapa Mohamed (Bersatu), Muhyiddin Yassin (Bersatu), Annuar Musa (Umno), Khairy Jamaluddin (Umno), Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS), Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR) and Saifuddin Abdullah (PKR).

  • Malay Mail quotes Pemanis assemblyman Chong Fat Full (PKR) as saying that a new coalition will be created. He adds that it “has been discussed for quite some time” and will be named Perikatan Nasional.

  • NST cites sources that claim Mahathir plans to form a new government, backed by 130 MPs from Bersatu, Amanah, PAS, Umno, and a splinter group from PKR.

10pm: Anwar confirms a betrayal

Monday (Feb 24)

11am: PH reps meet Mahathir

12pm: PH member parties meet

  • Both PKR and DAP hold emergency meetings. Lim Kit Siang (DAP) says those behind the takeover attempt are the same politicians who “propped up a kleptocratic regime for a decade“.

  • Former health minister Dzulkefly Ahmad (Amanah) tells Bernama the party will “stick to the decision made by the PH presidential council”.

1pm: Mahathir resigns

  • The Prime Minister’s Office announces that Mahathir has submitted his resignation to the King. He also resigns as Bersatu head.

  • Bernama reports police head Abdul Hamid Bador as saying the force is monitoring political developments closely, and is prepared to maintain order to “ensure that the various freedoms stipulated in the Constitution are protected”.

2pm: PH loses its majority 

3pm: Azmin is sacked 

4pm: Anwar says Mahathir not behind plot

  • Anwar tells Malay Mail he believes Mahathir’s name was used, adding: “(Mahathir) made it very clear that in no way will he ever work with those associated with the past regime.”

  • “We discussed and I did appeal to him, on behalf of PKR and PH, that these treacheries could be dealt with together,” he adds.  “But of course, he is of different mind, and thought he should not be treated in that manner: to work and to associate him working with those whom we believe are corrupt.”

  • Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (PAS) says Mahathir resigned in protest against working with Umno.

  • Malay Mail cites sources that Mahathir will leave the party with former Education Minister Maszlee Malik, Youth Minister Syed Saddiq, Kedah chief minster Mukhriz Mahathir, and MPs A Kadir Jasin and Radzi Jidin.

8pm: The King appoints Mahathir interim PM

  • The King accepts Mahathir’s resignation. The current Cabinet is dissolved and ministers’ appointments are revoked.

  • The Attorney General’s Chambers announces a caretaker government will be formed.

  • Sources tell Bernama that Azmin, Zuraida and the 9 PKR members who quit meet at a hotel.

Tuesday (Feb 25)

12am: Azmin says he backs Mahathir

  • Azmin says on Facebook that his faction broke off from PKR to help Mahathir battle an “evil plot” to make him a lame-duck PM. He strongly denies claims that they are traitors.

KENYATAAN MEDIA24 FEBRUARI 2020Malam Jumaat lalu kita menyaksikan usaha golongan sebahagian pimpinan Pakatan Harapan…

Posted by Azmin Ali on Monday, 24 February 2020

5am: Bersatu rejects Mahathir’s resignation

  • Marzuki Yahya (Bersatu) tells Malay Mail that the party supreme council unanimously rejects Mahathir’s resignation and promises to back him as PM. He denies reports of an exodus from the party.

12pm: Mahathir proposes a unity Government

  • Mahathir holds meetings with leaders of GPS, Bersatu, PKR, UMNO, PAS, and Amanah, as well as and former PKR deputy chief Azmin Ali.

  • The Straits Times reports that he proposes a unity government.

  • Bernama reports a meeting of UMNO and PAS MPs.

2.30pm: The King interviews MPs

  • The King announces he will hold one-on-one interviews with all 222 MPs to determine who they support as the next PM.

  • 90 MPs stream into the Istana Negara throughout the day, with some arriving in buses of 50, Bernama reports.

  • The Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin tells Bernama the King will interview 90 MPs for two to three minutes each.

6pm: BN demands a general election

  • Barisan Nasional and PAS withdraw support for Mahathir, reject the idea of a unity government, and call for a general election.

  • Annuar (UMNO) says the parties do not want to work with DAP.


Wednesday (Feb 26)

7am: The King interviews MPs

  • The King interviews the remaining 132 MPs.

5pm: Mahathir announces plans for a non-partisan Government

  • In a televised address, Mahathir says he will try to establish a non-partisan Government focused on solving Malaysia’s economic and health problems.
  • “I feel, rightly or wrongly, that politics and political parties have to be set aside for the time being. Only national interests will be accorded priority,” Bernama quotes him as saying.

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