MACHANG: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has again defended the security force’s action during the Kampung Memali incident of 1985, saying PAS followers were influenced by a speech by current president Abdul Hadi Awang.
Speaking in PAS-ruled Kelantan where he launched the state-level Pakatan Harapan today, the PPBM chairman said the victims had become too obsessed with “Amanat Hadi”, referring to an extract of a controversial speech by Hadi which among others questioned Muslims who joined Umno.
“If a person insists to his followers to kill someone, then this is the outcome. We know it started with leaders who influenced them with promises that they would reach heaven and so on,” said the former prime minister.
Mahathir said the villagers shot by the police had committed a crime by killing police officers.
“I think if they had not killed any policeman, the police would not have retaliated,” he told reporters here.
Mahathir said Hadi had encouraged PAS supporters by regarding those who died in the incident as martyrs.
“He called on PAS members to become martyrs by killing others.
“He taught that we were making them into infidels and we were killing them, and so that was why Memali happened.”
The Memali tragedy resurfaced after Mahathir was questioned about the incident at the “Nothing to Hide 2” forum organised by PPBM on Aug 13.
The incident on Nov 19, 1985 saw a massive police siege on the village in Kedah, which ended with 14 residents and 4 police officers killed.
Violence erupted when the villagers resisted the police’s attempt to arrest religious teacher and local PAS leader Ibrahim Mahmud under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for deviant teachings, an allegation rejected by PAS.
Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had recently hinted that the government could form a royal commission of inquiry into the tragedy.
Mahathir said again today he was open to the proposal and was prepared to take the stand.
“I hope they would give me the opportunity to expose what had occurred,” he said.
Nurul Azwa contributed to this report.