KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 – The government’s move in ordering the police to launch an attack on a group of villagers in the remote Kampung Memali in Baling, Kedah, on Nov 19, 1985, has been described as a disproportionate and extreme move as the villagers were not terrorists.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said that was why it was only right for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who is the then prime minister, to explain why such a move was taken and who issued the order. On this ground, he said he fully supported the proposed setting up of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Memali incident.
“I think the government’s response to the incident was too disproportionate and a bit too rough to the villagers … we want to know who gave the order, (the RCI should) call the then inspector-general of police or call those who launched the attack.
“They should not have shot (at the villagers), the response should not be to that level … they (villagers) were not terrorists armed with weapons and in uniforms … even if they had fought back, the use of tear gas would be more than enough to cause them to run helter skelter,” he told reporters after launching the four-day Pasareka Design Market at the Craft Complex here today.
As such, Mohamed Nazri agreed and called for the RCI to be set up soon and not to wait until after the 14th general election. In the 1985 tragedy, a total of 18 people, including four policemen, were killed and several others injured after police launched an operation to arrest a religious teacher, Ibrahim Mahmud, who was popularly known as Ibrahim Libya. — Bernama