In 1974, Anwar Ibrahim, then 27 years old, was arrested and detained for 20 months under the ISA for leading student protests against rural poverty. In 1998, he was sacked from his post as Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister. A week later, after he led a march to the Prime Minister Mahathir's residence demanding reformasi (economic and political reforms) and the PM's resignation, he was again detained under the ISA. In 1999, he was sentenced to six years in prison for corruption and in 2000 to another nine years in prison for alleged homosexual acts. Released in 2004, he is now the de-facto leader of the opposition in Malaysia.
In 1969, Lim Kit Siang was detained for 18 months under the ISA. In 1979, he was convicted of five charges under Official Secrets Act. In 1987, Lim spent another 18 months in detention without trial under the infamous Operation Lalang. He is the leader of the opposition DAP and has retained his parliamentary seat in Ipoh Timur.
In 1987, a 26 year old Lim Guan Eng first tasted prison when he was arrested and detained without trial under Operation Lalang. In 1998, Lim was again imprisoned for 12 months after he was convicted under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act. “When you are in jail, you lose all your humility. They want to suck you out completely but you must fight, persevere and come out stronger...I never imagine that I will be CM one day. This is a huge transformation for me - from a jailbird to CM,” Lim told reporters at his Chief Minister’s office in Komtar, Penang.
Lim: From ex-prisoner to Penang CM
A leading opponent of the death penalty in Malaysia, Karpal Singh was detained in 1987 under Operation Lalang for close to two years. In 2000, while acting for Anwar Ibrahim, he was arrested and detained under the Sedition Act. He is the Chairman of DAP and retains his parliamentary seat in Bukit Gelugor, Penang.
Detained for 18 months under the ISA during 1987's Operation Lalang, Dr Nasir Hashim was briefly arrested earlier this year over the Bersih protest rally. He is the newly-elected assemblyman for Kota Damansara, Selangor.
Nasir: People's welfare above party ideology
Detained for two years under the ISA in 2001, Tian Chua has been in and out of police lock-ups for an array of charges in recent months, including one for attempted murder. Last December, while on his way to the Parliament building to deliver a memorandum, police arrested him by dragging him out from his car. No such reception is likely to await him the next time, as he is now the newly-elected MP for Batu, Selangor.
Human rights lawyer and activist M. Manoharan has been in detention under the ISA since October for leading an anti-government demonstration. From his jail cell in Kamunting, he contested the State assembly seat of Kota Alam Shah and beat the incumbent by a landslide margin. A statement from his wife says that "he is ready and waiting to serve and has started to draw up the agenda for Kota Alam Shah in the (prison) camp."