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Mahathir, stunned the world by introducing radical currency controls, pegged the ringgit at 3.80 to one U.S. dollar, made the ringgit non-tradable abroad, and locked in stock investments for one year.
He then sacked his deputy and anointed successor Anwar Ibrahim, who was also Finance Minister, for apparent sexual misconduct.
Anwar was deputy chairman of National Information Technology Council and chairman of the MSC Founders' Council; two key policy-making bodies on the MSC.
As Finance Minister, Anwar had deferred mega projects favored by Mahathir, including the second phase of Putrajaya, the government's new administrative capital which was a key component of the MSC and the center of an experiment in electronic government.
Anwar's subsequent arrest on Sept 20, 1998, and the infamous black eye received while in police custody were to incense the world.
A pall of uncertainty descended on Malaysia, and the world pondered the MSC's viability.
To his credit in the last eight months, Mahathir has closed ranks in his party and government, and persistent speaking engagements and damage control efforts to the international community appear to have paid off.
In April, Anwar was convicted and jailed for six years for using his position to get police to cover up sexual allegations, sounding the death knell for his political career.
The former Finance Minister's positions in government were replaced, and the chief of police who assaulted him in jail has since resigned, confessed to the beating to a royal commission, and faces trial. The street demonstrations dwindled, then faded away.
By all indications, the battered economy has bottomed out.
Rating agencies have upgraded Malaysia from "negative" to "stable". The International Monetary Fund, whose aid Malaysia refused at the height of the crisis, and the Asian Development Bank have both conceded that the country's economy is on the mend.
Signs of revival are creeping in and with it renewed interest in the MSC.
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