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Dr M tells Hadi: Policemen who died in Memali had families too

 | August 18, 2017

Reviving the 3-decade-old Memali tragedy will not affect Pakatan Harapan’s chances at the polls, says the former PM.


mahathir_hadi_memali_600PUTRAJAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang must remember there are two sides to a story, and the Memali incident tells of the death of villagers as well as policemen, said former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

While 14 villagers were killed on that tragic day of Nov 19, 1985, four policemen also died because they did their duty, Mahathir reminded Hadi.

“They (the public) want PAS to be honest. How many policemen have been killed deliberately in Malaysia? Hardly any. But on that one occasion, there was the killing of policemen.

“They also had wives, they also had families.”

Mahathir, who is now chairman of opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, was speaking to FMT in an interview at his office in Perdana Leadership Foundation here yesterday.

Over the last few days, he had repeatedly and patiently defended the action taken by the police force in the tragedy, which took place at Kampung Memali in Baling, Kedah, when he was the prime minister.

The incident saw a confrontation between the police and supporters of religious teacher Ibrahim Libya, who resisted attempts to arrest him under the Internal Security Act.

Hadi, on Tuesday, had thanked those who brought the three-decade-old issue back into national discourse at Mahathir’s Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum last Sunday.

An attendee had asked Mahathir about the tragedy, and the former prime minister had calmly pointed out that the police were merely defending themselves when the villagers came at them with parangs.

But moments after he gave his response, troublemakers in the audience threw slippers, bottles and chairs at the stage and even lighted flares.

With the 14th general election looming on the horizon, questions arose as to whether this revived issue would affect the opposition’s chances at the polls.

Mahathir said it wouldn’t.

“It would have no effect because before, even when they tried to pin it (the blame) on Umno, it didn’t work,” he said.

“And I’ve pointed out to them, that four policemen were killed with parangs. To kill with parangs, you must get really close to the policemen.

“And of course, when you kill a policeman, the police have the right to retaliate. One has to remember that these policemen were only carrying out their duty.”


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