PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is prepared to face any inquiry into the Memali tragedy, as he has some evidence on the incident.
The Pakatan Harapan chairman said he was also prepared to hand over such evidence on the tragic events that occurred on Nov 19, 1985, to a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) “if it was formed”.
“I welcome an RCI on the tragedy as we need to get to the truth. I will hand over the evidence,” he said, when met outside the Palace of Justice here today.
Asked about the suggestion from his then deputy prime minister Musa Hitam that any RCI into the 1985 tragedy should be done after the next general election (GE14), Mahathir replied: “I don’t care when it is done.”
“The truth about the Memali tragedy must be revealed and it can be done anytime,” said Mahathir, who is also PPBM chairman.
In a statement released yesterday, Musa said any party who is sincere in wanting to find the truth behind the incident which resulted in the deaths of 18 people would certainly agree to the idea of waiting until after GE14.
“Considering this incident happened 32 years ago and a White Paper had already been presented in Parliament at the time, and that there was no further action to find the truth since then, I don’t see the rationale in wanting to rush into conducting an RCI now.
“On the contrary, postponing the RCI for a number of months, will only serve to increase its credibility, as it will be free of any association with the next general election,” Musa said in a statement.
His comments follows the recent announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who said the government was willing to consider a RCI into the Memali incident, which occurred on Nov 19, 1985.
Mahathir was prime minister at the time of the incident at Kampung Memali in Baling, Kedah that saw a confrontation between police and supporters of religious teacher Ibrahim Libya, who resisted attempts to arrest him under the Internal Security Act.
Mahathir had previously claimed he was not in the country during the incident and passed the responsibility to his then deputy Musa, who was also home minister at the time.
However, in his autobiography released in 2014, Musa had written that Mahathir was in the country at the time.