MAY 1997 : Mahathir goes on a two-month leave and announces that Anwar will be the acting prime minister and acting UMNO president.

JUNE 1997 : While Mahathir is away, the first of the poison-pen letters alleging sexual misconduct against Anwar appears.

JULY 1997 : Mahathir returns; the currency contagion begins to spread regionwide.

AUGUST 1997 : Mahathir publicly declares that the sex allegations against Anwar are false.

DECEMBER 1998 : Mahathir and Anwar differ over monetary policy. The PM names confidant Daim Zainuddin head of the National Economic Action Council, undercutting Anwar's position as finance minister.

MARCH 1998 : State oil corporation Petronas rescues the businesses of Mahathir's son Mirzan.

APRIL 1998 : More poison-pen letters against Anwar appear.

JUNE 1998 : The book 50 Reasons Why Anwar Can't Be Prime Minister is published. Mahathir accuses Anwar of laying the groundwork to challenge him eventually.

JUNE 1998 : A busy month. UMNO Youth leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi brings up nepotism and corruption. The PM takes the remarks very personally and reveals the names of others who have benefited from government contracts and cheap share allocations, including Zahid himself and Anwar's friends and family members. Mahathir appoints Daim special functions minister in charge of economic development, and apparently orders fresh investigations into the sexual allegations against Anwar. The PM starts believing them.

JULY 1998 : Anwar's friend and tennis partner, S. Nallakaruppan (named in the book as the organizer of the sexcapades), is arrested under the Internal Security Act. Nalla, as he is known, denies any wrongdoing on behalf of Anwar.

SEPTEMBER 1998 : Mahathir sacks Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister, taking up the latter portfolio himself. The UMNO Supreme Council expels Anwar as a member, so he loses his party deputy presidency too.