PETALING JAYA: The son of one of the victims of the Memali siege of 1985 has accused former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad of having his hands “soaked” with the blood of the 14 villagers who were shot dead by police in the incident.
Mohamad Zuhdi Mat Piah claimed that although none of them had a criminal record, they were assailed by the authorities at the village in Kedah.
He said this was because Mahathir, who ruled from 1981 to 2003, had feared losing power and influence due to their religious leader – Muslim preacher Ibrahim Mahmud, also known as Ibrahim Libya.
He said despite allegations that the villagers were criminals and communists, intelligence from commandos at the site had found this to be untrue.
He claimed they also found that Ibrahim’s hut was used only for religious teaching.
In a Facebook post today, Zuhdi, who was one year old at the time, said his father Mat Piah Yunus was shot with 14 M16 bullets lodged in his body.
Although he survived, Mat Piah was kept in chains at the hospital where he was treated for some months before being detained without trial under the Internal Security Act for two years, Zuhdi said.
“My mother was ill and I was still young. My father was treated without a shred of humanity,” he said.
“The same was experienced by other children and women who suffered after the 14 lives were sacrificed, and many victims were injured and remain disabled till today.
“After 32 years, Tun M has never admitted fault, let alone apologised,” he added.
Zuhdi said this after Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, was questioned by an audience member about why the villagers were killed during the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum organised by PPBM Youth in Shah Alam on Sunday.
“Why, Tun? They were Malaysians. They were Malays, villagers. They were not Jews or Zionists,” a member of the audience had asked.
Mahathir had replied that four policemen were also killed, and that the authorities had fought in the siege on the village using standard procedures.
The forum was then disrupted by flares, chairs and other objects being thrown from among the audience.
The confrontation in November 1985, where police laid siege to the Islamic sect which had about 400 followers, also saw Ibrahim, a local PAS leader who contested unsuccessfully for the party in two general elections, killed.
Zuhdi claimed that Umno leaders at the state and divisional levels in Baling had felt so threatened by Ibrahim that they had accused him of promoting deviant teachings.
He also said the four police officers were said to be shot dead, but the villagers had no firearms.
“Where did the bullets come from if not from among their own people?” he said.
“The villagers had no M16. They only had machetes for their daily village use.”
Zuhdi also took opposition leaders Mohamad Sabu, Salahuddin Ayub and Mahfuz Omar to task for lacking honour by aligning themselves with Mahathir today.
Former PAS leaders Mohamad and Salahuddin are now president and deputy president of Amanah who are in the Pakatan Harapan coalition chaired by Mahathir, while Mahfuz is the PAS MP for Pokok Sena.