Four years later after IGP Tun Hanif first told me about allegations linking Anwar to homosexual activities, someone sent me the book 50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Ibrahim Tidak boleh Jadi Perdana Menteri (50 Reasons Why Anwar Ibrahim Cannot Become Prime Minister).
It was written by Datuk Khalid Jafri, a former editor of the Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia. The book was clearly a sensationalist attempt to make money so I did not read, but the rumours about Anwar refused to go away.
Then in 1997, I received a letter from a woman named Ummi Hafilda Ali. Its contents disturbed me as there were more specific and detailed allegations of sodomy against Anwar.
I later learnt that Ummi was the sister of Anwar’s political secretary Mohd Azmin Ali.
I must admit that even then, I thought the accusations were far-fetched. Had the contents been about Anwar having affairs with women, I would have been less incredulous, but how could such a seemingly pious person possibly be involved in homosexual activities ?
I found it very difficult to believe that anyone in such a high position, an adult and a decent Muslim at that, would do such a thing.
Even though her allegations corroborated the IGP’s report of four years ago, I did not take them seriously.
About month later, Ummi sent me another letter, this time saying that she withdrew her allegations.
I wondered why she would now deny what she had said previously.
Meanwhile, the police had continued their observation of the deputy prime Minister’s activities, as was their usual practice. Even if I had asked them to stop, I doubt they would have.
This time they had evidence, including pictures and confessions of the people involved.
When the new IGP, Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor and his investigating officer Tan Sri Musa Hassan presented the evidence to me, I realized that I could not ignore the information.
I said I wanted to meet the witnesses and speak to them personally. That was tricky because it meant I was involving myself directly in the matter.
I was ready well on the way to getting the currency crisis resolved and I wanted to concentrate on that as well as the approaching 1998 Commonwealth Games.
The Games mattered a great deal to me, so I was annoyed that these distractions were also demanding my attention.
If was some time before I met the witnesses, I saw them individually, and in private, at my official residence at Sri Perdana in Kuala Lumpur.
I assured them that our conversations were confidential and that I just wanted to hear their stories for myself.
One of the witnesses was Azizan Abu Bakar, who was the driver for Anwar’s wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The police said Anwar was sodomised Azizan many times. I asked Azizan about the allegations and he was naturally frightened because Anwar was the Deputy Prime Minister.
During our meeting he was very nervous and a little incoherent.
Azizan told me in detail where the first incident took place. He said he was afraid as Anwar was a powerful man and could cause him much trouble. He said that was why he had not resisted.
I know how difficult it is to remember the exact dates and times when things happen so I was not particular about these details, but the meeting was enough to convince me that he was speaking the truth.
In court, exact dates and times are crucial and are sufficient to convict or acquit someone, but I doubt if even lawyers and judges can remember exactly what they did a year ago.
Some people may keep a diary but no one records everthing he does every day.
I also interviewed four girls who told me about how they were persuaded to see a very influential person by an Indian man they knew by the name of Nalla.
He had taken each girl separately to a house in Kenny Hills, a rich suburb in Kuala Lumpur. There they met a person they recognized as the Deputy Prime Minister.
They were asked to undress with the purpose of having sex. Two of them said they refused but the other two consented.
They were willing to talk to the police and to me but were adamant that they should not appear in court to give evidence.
The police briefed me in detail about the result of their investigations and their opinion of evidence they had gathered.
They too were convinced that the witnesses who saw me were telling the truth.
Faced with all this information from the police and from my own interviews, I felt I had to do something.
I simply could not have a person of such dubious character succeeding me as Prime Minister of Malaysia; in fact, I could not have him in the Government at all.
His actions and hypocrisy in masquerading as a highly religious individual were unacceptable, and I found the despicable means he employed to ensnare people and then ensure their silence appalling.
I called all the UMNO Menteri Besar, Chief Ministers and state heads to Sri Perdana for a meeting and asked the police to make the witnesses I had interviewed available.
I then briefed the party leaders about what I had learnt about Anwar and showed them pictures of the witnesses. I asked whether they want question the witnesses themselves, but after a prolonged discussion they all said they were convinced and there was no need to interview them.
I then asked them what action I should take. If I hid the evidence and allowed Anwar to continue in office, his behavior might be uncovered and used to blackmail him. He would always be vulnerable, and by extension, so would Malaysia.
Even I would be compromised, for if it was discovered that I knew and yet failed to take necessary action then I would be accused of covering up.
Either way, I could not let him remain in office – I had to come clean and remove him. Once people knew why I had taken such action, I was confident that they wouls approve.
The gathered leaders unanimously endorsed my proposed plan and said that they would back me if there was any backlash.
Unlike the removal of a judge, sacking Anwar did not require following Constitutional procedure.
As Prime Minister I had the power to remove him as Deputy Prime Minister and dismiss him from the Cabinet just as I had the power to appoint him.
But even after he ceased to be a member of the Government, he would still be a member of UMNO and continue to be its Deputy President.
That, too, was not a tenable situation, but his removal as Deputy President and member of the party couls be effected only by a decision of the UMNO Supreme Council.
At that time I was seriously planning to step down, so I had to make quick decision.
On 2 September 1998, I issued a statement though the national Press agency Bernama that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had been dismissed from the Government.
By then many people had read Khalid Jafri’s book, which had been distributed to all the delegates attending the most recent UMNO General Assembly and was selling briskly at neighbourhood night markets.
Many had also heard about Ummi Hafilda’s letter, but most people were either not aware or not convinced about what had actually happened.
There was widespread belief that Anwar’s dismissal was political, for it was no secret that he had been trying to undermine my credibility and support among UMNO party members.
His supporters had accused me of cronyism and corruption, and at the 1998 UMNO Annual General Assembly, some of them had been openly critical of me and my leadership.
People knew I was aware that Anwar was behind these attacks but I was not yet in position to publicly denounce his wrongdoing. I could ony signal, but not expose these matters in my closing address.
What could be explained in detail to the Menteri Besar and UMNO leaders could not be revealed to the people at large, so most understandably assumed that his dismissal was prompted by my fear that Anwar would unseat me.
Even now it is difficult to explain convincingly that I was not afraid of this happening. Believing I was popular with the majority of UMNO members, I was confident that I would win any party contest against Anwar.
I had won against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Tun Musa Hitam before, both of whom were known and tried UMNO stalwarts, while Anwar was a rank outsider who had been against the party in the past.
I had brought him in and helped him rise in the UMNO hierarchy until he became Deputy President and subsequently, Deputy Prime Minister.
UMNO members, I was sure, would see the ungratefulness of this impatient protégé and newcomer. To party veterans he was an upstart who had bruised the dignity of many a stalwart as he elbowed his way up through the UMNO ranks.
He may have had strong supporters who were committed, even obliged and indebted to him for one reason or another, but I was convinced that I would be able to defeat him should he challenge me.
The belief that I dismissed him because I was afraid he would oust me is without basis. I dismissed him for two reasons only: he was unsuitable to continue serving in the Government and he was unsuitable to succeed me as Prime Minister.
I now had to bring Anwar’s case to the UMNO Supreme Council. Since the Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers who I had already taken into my confidence were all also members of the Supreme Council, I expected strong support from them.
But Anwar was also a party member, indeed, its Deputy President. That meant he would be present at the Council meeting – in fact, he would be sitting at my side.
The meeting was convened a few days later at UMNO Headquarters in the Putra World Trade Centre to decide Anwar’s fate.
I began by explaining in as much detail as I could why I had to dismiss him from the Government. With the subject of my exposition sitting right beside me, the situation was tense and I felt very uncomfortable.
But I had no choice – I could not send him out since, as a member, he was entitled to attend the meeting. After I finished, I said that the UMNO Deputy President could now answer the allegations against him and state why he should not be dismissed.
During his long explanation, Anwar never once referred to the question of homosexuality, focusing only on the affairs with women.
He declared that he had done nothing unusual and insisted that everyone, including all the members of the Supreme Council, had done such things.
He banged the table once or twice to show his anger.
The Council members listened to him attentively and I did not try to interrupt or stop him.
When he finished, the first to speak was Datuk Paduka Ibrahim Ali. Ibrahim said he had known Anwar for a long time, since the 1970s when they had both been detained at the Kamunting Detention Centre.
He criticized Anwar for banging the table and said that he was inclined to believe what I said because he had read Khalid Jafri’s book and had seen Ummi Hafilda’s letter (copies of the letter were apparently being publicly circulated).
Ibrahim said he believed Anwar should not only be dismissed as Deputy Prime Minister, but also as Deputy President of UMNO and even as an UMNO party member.
As was my custom, I allowed everyone to speak. The majority of them did, mostly against Anwar, though none as strongly as Ibrahim.
They supported my earlier action in dismissing him as Deputy Prime Minister, and some now voiced support for the suggestion that Anwar also be removed from his UMNO position. A few went further to urge that his UMNO membership be revoked.
I was not ready to discuss the action to be taken. After everyone had spoken I asked Anwar to respond to the views expressed by the Council members. He refused – he just got up and left. I then asked the Council what was to be done.
I reminded them that there had been two suggestions: dismissal as Deputy President and expulsion from the party. The majority favoured his expulsion, which of course meant Anwar would also cease to be the party’s Deputy President.
It was almost midnight by the time ended, but I stayed back to sign some papers while the other members left. I was told Anwar’s supporters had gathered on the ground floor but the police would ensure nothing violent would happen.
When I later went downstairs, I found about 60 of his followers in an ugly mood. They threw plastic water bottles at me before I could get into my car. They shouted angrily, hurling words like zalim (unjust or unfair) and “dictator.”
Anwar had apparently brought this group of loyalists with him and had spoken to them after the meeting. Protected by my bodyguards and the police, I knew that these people could not hurt me and that the situation was under control.
Up until that night I had been used to people being polite to me wherever I went, but this was a different experience entirely. I was surprised to see Anwar’s supporters there.
Others had been sacked before him, including Datuk Harun Idris, Aziz Ishak and even myself, but nothing like this had ever happened. In my experience, this dramatic excess was vintage Anwar.
After his sacking, he continued to play to his admiring gallery. He went all over the country, telling people that his dismissal was part of a conspiracy to prevent him from becoming Prime Minister, that it had been a purely political machination.
He made no mention of any involvement in immoral activities.
PAS, which had condemned Anwar when he was in UMNO, now rallied to his cause. The PAS Member of Parliament Mohamad Sabu, who in his previous speeches has hinted at Anwar’s homosexual activities, was now delighted and literally embraced him.
PAS members organized and attended rallies, some as large as 30,000 people, where Anwar spoke. Most members of the audience were from PAS or were supporters, but many UMNO members also attended.
I did not want to make a major issues of his national barnstorming campaign because the Commonwealth Games were by then in full swing and I could not go around the country to explain the situation. It was a delicate matter and not one that was easily explained to a large audience.
I did, however, call in our UMNO grassroots leaders to give them the details. Most believed me but a few shouted incoherent words and left.
It was difficult to convince people that Anwar was not the underdog, nor was he the paragon of virtue that he had made himself out to be.
He had spent much time ingratiating himself with UMNO division leaders and branch members, because I had left it to him to maintain the leadership’s connections and lines of communication with the party activists and rank and file.
But he had used these visits to promote himself, especially among the kampung people. He was able to lead Muslims in public congregational prayers and to give persuasive sermons.
Given this, it was difficult for people to believe that he could commit acts which were absolutely against the teaching of Islam.
In their thinking, if he was good, then as his adversary, I must be bad. This kind of simplistic logic, craftily personified by a master orator, is not easily countered.
As a result I appeared to be an unjust in the eyes of many pious Muslims.
A few days after Anwar’s dismissal from the Government, Lim Kit Siang the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, issued a press statement requesting that I as the Prime Minister owed the country and the international community an explanation for Anwar’s dismissal.
The President of Aliran, P.Ramakrishnan, also said that the public had a right to know the reasons for Anwar’s dismissal.
Furthermore, 14 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) issued a joint press statement calling on me to “account properly” for Anwar’s dismissal.
With these growing calls for an explanation from various quarters, I held a press conference at my office on 22 September.
At this conference, a journalist asked me why I dismissed Anwar as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Deputy President of UMNO.
I explained that I had initially disbelieved the allegations of homosexuality made against Anwar when they first surfaced, but I was later convinced when I personally interviewed Anwar’s partner.
Anwar then launched a defamation suit against me claiming RM100 million in damages.
The High Court later struck Anwar’s defamation suit on the basis that I was protected by the defences of justification (truth) and qualified privilege. Justification or truth is a complete defence in a suit for defamation.
The High Court said that as Prime Minister, I was under a legal, moral and social duty to inform the nation of the matters concerning Anwar and his fitness for the public offices he had previously occupied. It had become a matter of public interest.
It was under a duty to explain to the nation the response of the Government and UMNO to the several attacks made by Anwar. All these were matters of general public interest, which the public had every reason and an interest to know about.
The High Court said that I had acted bona fide (in good faith) and bore no malice when I spoke those words concerning Anwar. Therefore, I was protecteted by the defence of qualified privilege.
The Court of Appeal dismissed Anwar’s appeal and again said that I was sheltered by the defences of justification and qualified privilege.
The Federal Court also dismissed Anwar’s application for leave to appeal and upheld the High Court decision.
Meanwhile, events in Indonesia seemed to encourage Anwar and his supporters.
On 21 May 1998, President Suharto had been overthrown through massive and sustained street demonstrations. Taking a leaf from the Indonesian anti-Suharto campaign, Anwar began to talk about Reformasi (Reformation) and made me out to be corrupt and in favour of cronyism.
On 20 September, the day before the Games closed, Anwar called a massive rally to be held at Dataran Merdeka in central Kuala Lumpur, at the historic site where we had proclaimed our National Independence in 1957.
To him and his sympathisers the choice of location may have been symbolically shrewd; but to those who thought like me and felt as many UMNO members did, it was a travesty.
His rally was timed to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to St Mary’s Cathedral, adjacent to that historic site. This was an outrageous act of disrespect to a visiting head of state but Anwar did not care.
We stationed police personnel in the area and made sure that Queen Elizabeth would not be in any danger.
He went as far as to urge his followers to burn down my house and the UMNO headquarters. One group actually did manage to break into the UMNO building and vandalise some rooms.
Another group came within one kilometer of my house, but at that point the police arrived and managed to disperse them. The police, however, could not ignore Anwar’s demonstrations any longer; Games or no Games.
On the evening 20 September, they arrested him at his house.
I knew there would be more problems but I hoped they would not unfold while the Games were still taking place. The many foreign journalists who were there to cover the event saw in Anwar’s rebellion on opportunity to condemn Malaysia for arresting on Opposition leader. That is the kind of news they love.
Local jounalists who knew the background confined themselves largely to reporting on the progress and results of the Games, especially Malaysia’s sterling performance. Their reporting on the demonstrations was factual.
But when we gave a lunchtime reception to the press at the Mint Hotel, which was the Press Centre during the Games, a woman journalist from Australia asked about Anwar.
She was cynical about the accusation of immorality against him. I had forgotten that in most ethnic European societies, homosexuality and sodomy between consenting adults was normal. For them, Anwar had done nothing wrong.
At that time I was still overseeing the implementation of currency controls. Foreign journalists and observers said that the differences I had with Anwar over the handling of the currency crisis were also among the reasons why I dismissed him, but this was simply not true.
Our differences were worth a good argument in the Cabinet, but they did not merit such drastic action. It was not necessary anyway, for as a member of the NEAC, Anwar agreed with my ideas on currency controls, at least outwardly.
Some people also suggested that he was behind the resignations of the Governor and Deputy Governor of Bank Negara, but at that time I suspected nothing.
The claim that I dismissed Anwar because of our differences in the handling of the currency crisis is flawed. Nor was he removed for political reasons, such as for his attempts to undermine party support for me – I could easily handle that as well without having to resort to dismissal.
When the IGP informed me that the police had decided to arrest Anwar for incitement to violence, I was apprehensive. I knew his sympathisers would not take the arrest quietly and, moreover, it would make a political martyr of him.
I advised the IGP not to use violence or to handcuff Anwar when arresting him. Instead, the police did what they always do – they followed standard procedures and went to his house wearing hoods, broke the door down and handcuffed him. He was thrown into a police van and taken to police headquarters.
I expected him to be charged in court immediately but for several days, nothing happened. Then I was told he was being held under the Internal Security Act.
I asked the police repeatedly why he had not yet been charged, but they only gave me vague answers.
Finally, I learnt he had sustained a black eye during his detention and the police wanted it to heal before producing him in court in front of the cameras.
The bruise, however, was taking a long time to fade away and as I was also anxious that he should not be detained under the ISA, I told the police that we simply could not wait any longer.
Anwar was charged on 29 September 1998, nine days after his arrest. It was his first appearance in public and the black eye was still clearly visible.
As a doctor, I know how easy it is to get a black eye so I initially thought he had knocked his head.
I never imagined that someone would assault him. It angered people when I suggested that his injury may have been self-inflicted, but I honestly did not think the police would beat him up, particularly after I had personally instructed the IGP to be careful.
As it turned out, it was IGP Rahim himself who was responsible for the black eye. He had allowed Anwar to provoke him and had lashed out, but in the process he handed over long-term political capital that Anwar and his supporters were able to use to great advantage.
Rahim did me no favours politically – in fact, he did much harm to Malaysia’s international standing.
Anwar’s supporters and the Oposition parties were glad to have tangible evidence of my “dictator-like” ways, and they displayed posters of Anwar and his black eye all over the country.
His supporters made it seem like I was personally responsible for this brutal treatment, even though I had tried to ensure that no such thing would happen.
Anwar was charged separately with corruption and sodomy but both charges were related to allegations that he had asked a senior police officer, Datuk Mohamad Said Awang, the Director of the Special Branch, to threaten Ummi Hafilda and cause her to withdraw her first letter to me.
The corruption trial, which started on 2 November 1998, lasted more than five months. There was much excitement in the court during Mohamad Said’s testimony when he related how Anwar had instructed him to “turn over” Ummi Hafilda and get her to withdraw and deny the contents of her letter to me.
This constituted corruption and abuse of authority and the court found him guilty. Despite all of Anwar’s legal efforts since then, all the appellate courts have upheld this conviction.
The sodomy trial began on 7 June 1999. Following its progress in the newspapers was depressing, as the prosecution bungled their case on several occasions.
In one instance that particularly annoyed me, the defence claimed that sodomy had not taken place on particular day as was charged.
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah did not say anything, as if agreeing that the crime had never occurred, and the newspapers then reported that there was no case of sodomy.
But even if it had not taken place on a particular day, it did not mean that it had not happened at all.
The problem with our prosecutors is that they are civil servants and they do not know the criminal mind. It was very frustrating to watch because they were not doing a good job and I could not do anything about it.
They presented a lot of irrelevant evidence in court and the public became increasingly cynical, and began to be less convinced that there was a case.
Even though the High Court eventually found Anwar guilty, he was able to score several points and leave many Malaysians convinced that he was the victim of a political conspiracy.
But how anyone could believe this, I really could not understand. To conspire against Anwar in this way I would have had to take the police, the Attorney-General and his prosecotors, their witnesses, the judge, the forensic laboratory experts and many others into my confidence.
Surely someone in this small army of co-conspirators would have eventually leaked details of our plot to the public. Though some witnesses were hostile towards me, nobody came forward to say that I had forced him to tell lies to support me.
One of these hostile witnesses was the former Director-General of the Anti-Corruption agency (ACA), Datuk Shafee Yahya, who had earlier accused me of interfering with an ACA investigation into then Director-General of the Economic Planning Unit, Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan Sulaiman.
In 1998 I had received a complaint that the ACA had been offensive during his investigation and so, knowing how Government officers could sometimes be overzealous in their duties, I asked Shafee to explain the situation. Our meeting did not go well and Shafee became angry, accusing me of interfering with his duties.
Actually, the affair with the ACA had nothing to do with Anwar’s case. But Shafee had his day in court and seemed to be happy to vilify me.
Though the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction by the High Court, the Federal Court, by a majority decision, quashed the conviction and freed Anwar of the sodomy charge.
The Federal Court said that the evidence did not corroborate Azizan’s story, i.e that he was sodomised by Anwar and Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja (Anwar’s adopted brother) at the specified time, date and place.
Most Malaysians are ignorant of the contents of the judgment of the Federal Court, which acquitted Anwar on a technicality due to the error relating to the date of the incident.
They are not aware that the majority of the Federal Court had held that in their judgment they found
“… evidence to confirm that the appellants (Anwar and Sukma) were involved in homosexual activities and we are more inclined to believe that the alleged incident at Tivoli Villa did happen, …”
Although the conviction has been quashed on a technicality, the conclusive judicial findings of the Federal Court that Anwar and Sukma were involve in homosexual activities, remain intact.
Another alleged element of my “conspiracy” against Anwar involved my supposed interference with the judicial system. I have often been accused of emasculating the courts, humiliating the judges, and of being hostile to the legal profession. I have dealt with these matters elsewhere in these pages.
Here I only need to say that Anwar was tried in court in a case that I thought was clear-cut. Malays are generally religious and conservative and, for them, sodomy is a sin. They will not condone such acts or show any sympathy for people who indulge in them.
But Anwar’s reputation for religious piety persuaded many people that it was simply absurd to accuse him of behaving as he did, even when the courts found that he had.
The local and foreign Press were also loath to let go of the image of me as a dictator. The foreign Press, especially, judged Anwar to be innocent and some Malaysian agreed with them. The Opposition parties and their newspapers never failed to put me in the worst light possible.
I was made to feel as if I was the one who was on trial, and if one were to believe them, my whole life and work were devoted to destroying Anwar and his career.
Anwar again sued me for defamation based on the response I gave to a question posed by a journalist after I had delivered my opening address at the conference entitled “Human Rights and Globalisation,” organized by SUHAKAM on 9 September 2005.
To a question relating to the Anwar issue, I explained that in our society, sodomy was not acceptable and that I could not have a person who was like that in my Cabinet, who might succeed me and become the Prime Minister.
I also said: “Imagine having a gay Prime Minister, nobody would be safe.”
However, the High Court struck out Anwar’s defamation suit against me, again on the basis that I was protected by the defences of justification and qualified privilege.
Anwar’s subsequent appeal to the Court of Appeal was also struck out due to several defects in his Appeal Record filed by his lawyers.
On 24th November 2010, the Federal Court delivered its judgment dismissing Anwar’s application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court.
At the time of Anwar’s dismissal, member of the UMNO Supreme Council often complained about the press and would invariably recommend that the critics be removed, especially if their criticisms were directed at me personally.
Then, when senior editors were removed or transferred, I would be blamed by people outside the Supreme Council, who assumed that I was the one who had initiated or demanded their removal.
I must admit that I never refuted these allegations, but I went along with the Supreme Council decisions because I did not want people who were so apparently concerned about me to feel that I was letting them down.
I thought they were very sincere in their show of support. But once I stepped down from office, they became equally quick to turn against me in order to please their new boss. It was under the new boss leadership, incidentally, that Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, the editor of the New Straits Times, was removed with no qualms.
There were several other senior editors of the NST and Utusan Malaysia who were also removed. No one accused my successor of acting against the editors who did not support him.
Like it or not, I must accept that this is what Malaysians are like. When you are the top man people will try to read your mind and try to do what they believe you want. They get angry on your behalf, and you will disappoint them if you are not as angry as they are.
As I related earlier, when former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating called me recalcitrant I was not angry – he was just saying that I was refusing to fall in line with everybody else and that description generally applies quite well to me.
I don’t always do what others do.
Most Malaysians like that side of me, as it has allowed our country to show that it is able and ready to stand up for itself. But people expected me to be offended by Keating’s remark and they were insulted on my behalf. As I did not want to embarrass them, I played along.
The Anwar affair and the currency crisis destabilised Malaysia and it was my duty to restore the country’s political and economic balance.
By late 1998 the economy was already showing signs of restored health, but the political situation did not improve as much.
Anwar’s reformasi movement and the setting up of his Justice Party, or Parti keadilan, were accompanied by more street demonstrations and large public rallies.
Although I retired as Prime Minister some years ago, the allegations of Anwar’s homosexual avtivities did not fade into oblivion. Eyebrows were raised again when fresh allegations of Anwar’s homosexual activities surfaced.
This time Anwar’s 23 years-old aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, alleged that he was sodomised by Anwar on 26 June 2008 at a condominium in Kuala lumpur. On 7 August that year, Anwar was charged in court for sodomising Saiful.
On 15 August Saiful swore on the Quran in front of mosque officials at the Federal Territory Mosque that he had been sodomised by Anwar.
This was Saiful’s way of proving that he was speaking the truth. Saiful then challenged Anwar to also swear on the Quran and deny sodomising him.
On 16 August, I dared Anwar to swear on the Quran to prove that he was indeed innocent. I said that as a prominent figure on the Malaysian political scene, Anwar should act in accordance with public sentiment and take the oath on the Quran and give a sworn statement on the sodomy allegation made by Saiful.
Anwar did not take the oath on the Quran to deny that he had sodomised Saiful. As the trial is ongoing, I will refrain from making any comment on it.
Anwar is an undeniably charismatic man and he knows how to get people to support him. All that I had done for Anwar in the past has been brushed aside.
I was seen as having victimised him and throwing him into jail, as if there were no trial.
Whenever my name is mentioned in a book or article, I am described as the Prime Minister who threw his deputy into jail. The fact that he was properly charged and trien in court is never mentioned.
I am forgiving person by nature, and I rehabilitated the careers of many people who tried to undermine me politically. I even named one of them as my successor after Anwar was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister. But I find difficult to forgive Anwar for demonising me in the eyes of the whole world.
Anwar should have been the Prime Minister of Malaysia today. But if he is not, it is because of his own actions. He left me no choice but to remove him and I did what I thought was best for the country.
I may have made many mistakes, but removing Anwar was not one of them.