RCI on Memali can provide closure

January 11, 2018

The Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Memali incident can help the victims and their families find closure to the tragedy 33 years ago.

The inquiry could help provide a better understanding, why Ibrahim Mahmud or better known as Ibrahim Libya became radicalised and why such action was taken to apprehend the civilians.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) International Studies senior lecturer Dr Ummu Atiyah Ahmad Zakuan said the victims and their next-of-kin have the right to know the truth behind the tragedy since they have been waiting for more than three decades to hear it.

“Everyone who are accused for a crime deserves a fair hearing. In this case the victims and their families have the right to hear the reason behind the action taken by the authority in apprehending Ibrahim and the villagers,” she said when contacted.

Ummu Atiyah said the call for the RCI to be expedited is wise as the witnesses are still alive to tell their sides of the story on the incident.

Furthermore, the survivors are disputing the finding from the White Paper on the tragedy that was published in 1986.

She said the focus now is to make sure that the panel appointed to sit in the RCI would reflect the integrity of the body.

“There is substantial grounds for the victims and their families to request for an inquiry because they are disputing the White Paper.

“The inquiry must be held in good faith, to find the truth about the incident.

“The panelists needed to be non-partisan so that public especially the families are confident that the body is neutral and it is set up with a good intention which is to find the truth,” she said.

He added that RCI, when in session, must detail out the procedure and remedies that need to be carried out.

Ummu Atiyah said the practice of setting up a public inquiry on certain issues that has public interest is common in other countries.

The Kedah Pas deputy commissioner Muhamad Sanusi Md Nor had urged the government to expedite the setting up of RCI on Memali incident while the witnesses and the next-of-kin of the 14 civilians are still alive.

The chairman of a special committee for Memali victims said the truth can only be gleaned through an RCI.

Kampung Memali in Baling, Kedah was the scene of bloodshed in Nov 19, 1985, when villagers resisted police’s attempt to arrest religious teacher and local Pas leader Ibrahim Mahmud, better known as Ibrahim Libya, under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for deviant teachings, an allegation rejected by Pas.

Eighteen people, including four policemen, were killed while more than 100 people were injured as a result of the clash.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister at the time.