The clarification by the former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Tun Musa Hitam that the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, contrary to what was believed by Malaysians in the past 19 years, was in fact in Kuala Lumpur when the Memali Incident took place on Nov. 19, 1985, has reinforced the case for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Memali Massacre.
The RCI is necessary so as to unearth the truth about the Memali Massacre to provide a 30-year closure to the families and loved ones of the 18 people – Ibrahim Libya, 13 villagers and four policemen – who were killed as up to now, they have been haunted by the spectre of not knowing the truth and in particular, who were responsible for the death of the 18 people in the Memali Massacres of Nov. 19, 1985.
Malaysians are entitled to know the truth of one of the biggest “blots” in the nation’s history – in particular who counter-manded the directive given by Musa as the Home Minister to the Police to avoid violence and bloodshed in the arrest of Ibrahim Libya.
The only person who is more senior to Musa, who was DPM and Home Minister, in the administration at the time was Mahathir, the Prime Minister himself.
Did Mahathir countermand Musa’s directive to the police to avoid violence and bloodshed in the arrest of Ibrahim Libya, and if not, would he support a Royal Commission of Inquiry to establish the truth as to who had countermanded Musa’s directive as to cause the death of 18 people – Ibrahim Libya, 13 villagers and four policemen?
The Memali Incident, in retrospect, is now regarded as the first of a series of deplorable events in the 22-year Mahathir administration resulting in the emasculation of the professionalism, independence and integrity of national institutions, losing their political impartiality as they became tools of their political masters – covering not only the police, but extending eventually to the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Elections Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the civil service as a whole.
A full inquiry into the Memali Massacre will provide an unique understanding and insight as to how Malaysian nation-building process went wrong because of political interference with the independence, impartiality and professionalism of non-partisan national institutions and what must be done for Malaysia to get back to a proper beginning in the nation-building process.
Further, an RCI will provide a proper forum to propose an appropriate closure to the 30-year “blot” in the nation’s history, including a proper recompense to the families of the 18 casualties in the Memali Massacre.