Revisiting Events of Sheraton Coup

Yesterday, I was intrigued by a revisionist take on the Sheraton coup, which posited that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was approached to join the coup to form a Malay-only government but rejected the offer as the condition was to exclude DAP.

Perhaps it was meant to remind some DAP leaders to be “grateful” and not to question Datuk Seri Anwar for negotiating with UMNO’s Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

We can agree to disagree on the question of PKR’s initiative to form a government by negotiating with the court cluster. But this is best done without altering history.

On 1 July 2019, not long after the spread of the videos allegedly involving Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s sex acts, an Azmin ally met me and told me that DAP had to choose between Anwar and Azmin, and be prepared for the consequences of not choosing Azmin. I told him the DAP is duty bound to ensure the smooth and successful transition between Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In October 2019, the attempted coup of Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and Azmin Ali was intercepted and did not succeed. At that point of time, racial sentiments were provoked to paint DAP as a terrorist, communist and racist party that must be sacked from the government. The plan was to bring 17 UMNO MPs from Hishammuddin’s camp, 18 PAS MPs and 18 GPS MPs, altogether 53, to replace MPs from DAP (42) and Amanah (11), also 53.

By removing DAP and Amanah, the plotters knew that they would remove the numbers needed by Anwar to become prime minister. Without the support from DAP and Amanah for Anwar’s claim to be PM, Azmin was confident that he could take control of PKR.

Fast forward to January and February 2020, DAP and Amanah leaders were urging the supporters of Anwar and Dr. Mahathir to lower the political temperature and to ensure the successful transition between Dr. Mahathir and Anwar after the APEC meeting in November.

At the Majlis Presiden meeting on 21 February 2020, Azmin openly campaigned for Dr. Mahathir to stay for full term while DAP and Amanah leaders, myself included, argued passionately for the coalition to stick a Mahathir-Anwar transition after APEC. The leaked audio recording proved DAP and Amanah’s active defence of Anwar, at the parties’ own perils.

DAP was steadfast in our support for a Mahathir-Anwar/Anwar-Mahathir government to ensure a smooth transition and a successful government.

Throughout the Sheraton coup week from 23 February to 29 February, I was in many meetings of Anwar’s inner circle, which I have kept personal records and notes. The idea of an offer to Anwar to form a government without DAP did not arise as the original purpose of the Sheraton coup was exactly to remove Anwar from the equation.

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