The curtains of 2008 have started to close in, marking the end of a most colourful year for Malaysians.
Not only have our celebrities filled us up with tales of marital joys and sorrows, but so have our political leaders - whom if I may say so – kept us up even more, with some unbelievably sensational events of the year.
The whole spectrum of relationships seem to have been laid out in the vast political landscape for us all to witness – 'marriages', 'divorces', even "reconciliations", in addition to scandals and incidences of "infidelity".
To top it all – a political tsunami which left many shocked, but many more delighted.
January – the first shock of the year for Malaysians – news of the involvement of a senior political figure in a sex video hit the headlines. Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek had to offer his hand of 'divorce' to MCA.
February – VK Lingam's scandalous hearing became the main news when his former secretary Jayanthi, 45, claimed she was locked in all night in 1994 with two other secretaries to type the judgement of a civil suit involving Tan Sri Vincent Tan.
March – The infamous political tsunami – when the "threesome" or "madu tiga" PR of DAP-PKR-PAS coalition rolled over five states in a single Malaysian-style tidal wave. In this 12th. General Election (PRU-12), BN's loss of Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah, and Kelantan, also resulted in the loss of their two-third majority in Dewan Rakyat. The former corporate figure, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (PKR) was elected Menteri Besar Selangor, while DAP's Head Secretary Lim Guan Eng replaced Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon in Penang. As for Perak – the new Menteri Besar is now Datuk Mohamad Nizar of PAS.
April – First "divorce" of the year? Director of JAIP, Datuk Jamry Sury, was told to leave house by the new Perak Menteri Besar for allegedly not giving the necessary co-operation with the state government. Within 24 hours Datuk Jamry was asked to provide his leadership services in another 'house', among other state departments. April also saw the PM announcing the factors leading to BN's failure to maintain its two-thirds majority, and losing in Kedah and Perak. Acts of sabotage by UMNO members against candidates in 14 Parliamentary and 22 state constituencies led to the major losses.
May – PM again made the headlines – accepting former PKR Youth Head – Mohamad Ezam Mohd. Nor – into UMNO (which he left in 1999.) May also witnessed heated arguments on "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay rights issue) between the opposition and BN MPs in Dewan Rakyat. This escalated during the wrapping up of the debate by the Minister of Unity, Culture, Arts, and Heritage, Datuk Mohd Shafie. The Deputy Speaker, Datuk Ronald Kiandee, finally was forced to postpone sitting until the following day.
June – Malaysians were again in for another shock when the former assistant to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohd. Saiful Bukhari bin Azlan made a police report that he had been sodomised by Anwar, under force, several times. Anwar then issued a media statement denying the allegation.
July – Agendadaily created history when it successfully organised the Debate between the Minister of Information Datuk Shabery Cheek and Anwar Ibrahim on the petrol increase issue. This was aired live on RTM. Although he was seen to have been halted several times in this battle of professional arguments, Shabery was praised for his courage to debate against Anwar. In comparison to other BN politicians who had proven to be much braver arguing behind the scenes, Shabery had been quite "promising."
August – The June main story continued with Anwar's former Assistant Mohd. Saiful Bukhari swearing in a mosque to support his claim of having been sodomised unwillingly by Anwar. However this did not stop Anwar from winning the by-election in Permatang Pauh with 31,195 votes.
September – UMNO Supreme Council "divorced" Bukit Bendera's UMNO Division Head, Datuk Ahmad Ismail for three years for inciting controversial racial issues through a statement he had made earlier.
October – The arrest under ISA of Teresa Kok and Sin Chew journalist Tan Hoong Cheng fuelled another bomb of anger from the opposition and created a media frenzy.
November – Another political tsunami - this time among the female political leaders of UMNO. Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim announced she would be contesting for the Wanita's Head post. This led to Datuk Shahrizat Jalil deciding to contest against Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz. In the same month, a Seremban division UMNO meeting held at Tuanku Jaafar Golf Club turned violent when members started punching each other immediately after the Division Head, Datuk Ishak Ismail ended his speech. Two women were injured.
December – Another "divorce" happened in UMNO. Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, former Minister in the PM Department was sacked after several of his actions were found to have gone against party ethics. One of them was attending an opposition party gathering. UMNO Supreme Council also suspended the membership of Head of Petaling division, Datuk Zahar Hashim for three years, for making a statement criticising the party. Another UMNO Division Head, Datuk Ahmad Lebai Sudin of Pokok Sena, also had his membership suspended - for two years - by the UMNO Disciplinary Board. He was found to have sabotaged the party in the last GE in March. Another member of that same division, Halimah Hanafi also had her membership suspended for two years for having made a false report. Just last week, Datuk Zahar, who had not been satisfied with the action taken against him, took the decision to "seek the hand" of the opposition party, PKR.
In UMNO Batu Division, the crisis that had been dragging on for almost two months was finally resolved on December 29 when its new division head was appointed. A former committee member, Yahya Mat Ghani won in the selection crisis, against the then incumbent Datuk Mohd. Yusoff Hamid by a majority of 136 votes. The latter only obtained two miserable votes. What an end to a year of much political tidal waves!