Milestones in new political landscape

Posted by SM Maulana


It has been 100 days since the March 8 general election which changed the political landscape in Malaysia dramatically, with voters delivering a sharp rebuke to the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. The Straits Times Malaysia Bureau examines how politics has evolved since then for the humbled ruling coalition as well as the resurgent opposition.
# March 8: Malaysians vote in an unprecedented 82 opposition MPs and deny Barisan Nasional control of the five state governments of Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan.

# March 9: The loose Parti Keadilan Rakyat-Democratic Action Party-Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PKR-DAP-PAS) coalition begins establishing its state governments, with Mr Azizan Abdul Razak sworn in as Kedah menteri besar (MB).

# March 10: Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi is sworn in as prime minister for a second term amid calls for him to step down.

# March 11: Mr Lim Guan Eng of the DAP is sworn in as chief minister of Penang.

# March 13: PKR’s Khalid Ibrahim is sworn in as Selangor MB.

# March 17: PAS’ Nizar Jamaluddin is sworn in as Perak MB. Ex-premier Tun Dr Mahathir’s son Mirzan Mahathir becomes the first Umno official to publicly call for Mr Abdullah to step down.

# March 18: Mr Abdullah announces new Cabinet, scrapping parliamentary secretaries. Surprises include the ousting of International Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz.

# March 19: Former finance minister and Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah challenges Mr Abdullah for the Umno presidency.

# March 27: Mr Abdullah insists he will not step down before contesting in internal party polls in December.

# March 30: Terengganu assemblyman Ahmad Said is sworn in as MB after a prolonged impasse between the Prime Minister and the state palace. He is the last MB to take the oath of office.

# April 1: PKR, DAP and PAS announce a formal coalition called Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Alliance).

# April 6: Mr Abdullah reveals a succession plan which will see his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, take over as the prime minister. He does not set a time frame.

# April 14: Thousands gather in Kuala Lumpur as de facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim celebrates the end of a ban on his involvement in active politics after serving his jail sentence for corruption.

# April 17: Mr Abdullah announces reforms for the judiciary, including the setting up of a Judicial Appointments Commission.

# April 30: Malaysians watch a ‘circus’ on the first day of Parliament as opposing MPs trade insults on national TV.

# May 16: The government releases a report by a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam judge-fixing videotape, saying all people involved should be investigated.

# May 19: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad quits Umno in protest against Mr Abdullah’s leadership.

# June 5: Malaysians witness the end of an era of cheap fuel as the government implements a 41 per cent increase in fuel prices. The move prompts promises of a string of protests by opposition groups.

# June 13: Thousands gather in downtown Kuala Lumpur for the first major protest against the fuel price increases.

# June 15: Mr Abdullah repeats he will contest party polls in December, even though he has on a plan to hand power to his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.


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