Talks for a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the Memali incident grows louder by the day. It is a dark episode in Malaysia’s history rarely talked about until recently. Suffice it to say the younger generation may have never heard of it whereas for the older generation some may recollect bits and pieces of this unfortunate incident. But for the locals of Kampung Memali, Kedah the tragedy that took place will forever be etched in their memory. They can vividly remember as if it had happened yesterday. It was November 1985, police had launched an operation to arrest a religious teacher by the name Ibrahim Mahmud but better known to his followers as Ibrahim Libya. Fourteen villagers and four policemen had died in the violent confrontation. Former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was reportedly in China at the time so the operation was under the purview of then deputy prime minister and Home Minister Tun Musa Hitam.

The government had published a white paper on the incident but Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) leaders contend it to be a white wash. Notably Tun Musa later revealed that Tun Dr. Mahathir was in the country when the clash occurred in Memali. During the recent ‘Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum Tun Dr. Mahathir was queried over the matter. And true to form he had a rather nonchalant response. His rather unperturbed reply has understandably ruffled many feathers. (PAS) Deputy President Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has called for RCI along with Selangor PAS. The sentiment is that many questions remain unanswered. Interestingly enough Tun Dr. Mahathir’s coalition partner Democratic Action Party (DAP) leader Lim Kit Siang has also weighed in on the matter stating support for an RCI.

The scars remain deep for those most affected by the Memali affair and to add insult to injury, justice was never served. Tun Dr. Mahathir was known to rule Malaysia with an iron fist trampling on basic human rights. In fact he came to be renowned as one of Southeast Asia’s strongman. What occurred in Kampung Memali on that fateful day happened under his watch. Therefore it is only fair that Tun Dr. Mahathir answers for his transgressions


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