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Why break your silence after 32 years, Hadi?

 | August 19, 2017

PAS president Hadi Awang's bid to restore his political fortunes by feigning interest in Memali today will backfire, and pitifully.



On the day former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was attacked, PAS president Hadi Awang decided to “make hay while the sun shines”.

For 32 years, Hadi showed little concern for the victims of the Memali massacre, until Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, was targeted at the “Nothing to Hide 2.0” forum on Aug 13.

On that occasion, slippers, bottles and chairs came hurtling towards Mahathir before he could finish responding to a question about the Memali incident of Nov 19, 1985.

Worse was the lighting of flares in the indoor arena. This exposed the thugs’ lack of concern for the safety of the people. They could not care less if the place burnt down or people were hurt fleeing the hall in a panic.

Later, Hadi found it judicious to join the political bandwagon by joining the chorus of people who questioned Mahathir’s involvement in Memali.

Not a word was said about the lack of decorum during question time, the use of violence, nor lack of respect for a former prime minister.

Hadi could only mumble that Mahathir should apologise and visit Memali.

Such false concern at this late stage further damages Hadi’s reputation.

Why now, Hadi? For 32 years, the well-being of the survivors and villagers of Memali was consigned to the darkest corners of PAS’ annals. Many journalists write about Memali around its anniversary, but one cannot recall Hadi showing any concern in previous years.

If an apology and closure is of such importance to Hadi, he should have demanded these in 2014 from both Mahathir and his former deputy, Musa Hitam, when the latter dropped the clanger that Mahathir had been in Malaysia, and not China, when Memali was attacked.

Why did Hadi wait another three years to press home his question about Memali?

We cannot recall Hadi demanding a proper investigation into the Memali massacre.

The White Paper into Memali was acknowledged by previous PAS leaders to be a whitewash, so why has Hadi not used the anniversary of the deaths to demand that Prime Minister Najib Razak hold a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI)? Mahathir does not hold any public office and he has no power, unlike Najib.

In 1986, the National Fatwa Council issued an edict stating that those who died in Memali could not be considered martyrs. Shouldn’t Hadi demand that the National Fatwa Council reverse their decision, instead of belittling the lives of the villagers?

One must question Hadi’s judgment.

FIRST. Despite what Umno did to the residents of Memali, why has Hadi teamed up with Umno-Baru to fight the next general election on the premise that the two parties will “protect the Malays and defend Islam”.

Memali was Malay against Malay, Muslim against Muslim. In 1985, Kedah Umno demanded Mahathir act sternly against the cleric Ibrahim “Libya” Mahmood because he was influential, charismatic and the likelihood was that Kedah Umno would lose to PAS in the 1986 general election.

SECOND. Hadi’s mock concern makes him look like an opportunist. He lost all credibility the moment he decided to issue a lawsuit against the editor of the Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle-Brown. Hadi has found time and resources to protect his precious reputation instead of focusing his efforts on rehousing the flood victims of Kelantan, most of whom are still in temporary shelters since the great flood of 2014.

THIRD. Ironically, Hadi’s most pressing problems appear to be implementing hudud and whipping women in public. Violence against the Memali villagers is unacceptable, but flogging people and cutting-off people’s limbs are permissible?

FOURTH. Why target only Mahathir? Half of Najib’s cabinet, including Najib himself, were privy to the events in Memali. They know more of the unvarnished truth than the man in the street.

Hadi’s bid to restore his political fortunes by feigning interest in Memali will backfire, and pitifully.

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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