Call on Mahathir to give assurance that Barisan Nasional government will
not milk political mileage from th Al-Ma'unah arms heists and create national
frenzy of fear and alarm to justify a major crackdown against legitimate
(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): On Sunday,
16th July 2000, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad started on his 20th
year as Malaysian Prime Minister.
by Lim Kit Siang
There are however disturbing signs that the Barisan Nasional government
may be tempted to impose the greatest crackdown against legitimate dissent
under his Prime Ministership on a scale even bigger than the mass Internal
Security Act arrests under Operation Lalang in 1987, and these signs
The temptation for the Barisan Nasional government to politicise the Al-Ma'unah
arms heists instead of rising above party politics to co-operate with the
Opposition will very strong and powerful, for it could help the Barisan
Nasional deal with many intractable problems, either by sidelining them
or sweeping them under the carpet, as for instance, the issues of judicial
accountability, independence, impartiality and integrity; the justice of
the Anwar Ibrahim case; the shocking revelation by the former Anti-Corruption
Agency (ACA) director-general Shafee Yahya that Mahathir had interfered
and directed the ACA to close investigations into the then Economic Planning
Unit director, Tan Sri Ali Abul Hassan after a raid had found large amounts
of cash in his office; the long-standing unresolved Perwaja scandal; Anwar's
four police reports about corruption and abuses of power reaching to the
highest levels of government, etc.
The refusal of the Barisan Nasional government to accept the offer of co-operation
of the DAP and the Barisan Alternative to transcend party politics to work
hand-in-hand to address the many grave national issues in the aftermath
of the Al-Ma'unah arms heists and killings.
The ominous warning by Mahathir in Kuching on Sunday that the government
would not condone the use of religious or racial issues to divide the people
when in the recent general elections, it was the Barisan Alternative which
campaigned on the theme of unity of the different races and religions while
it was the Barisan Nasional which played the racial game of "divide and
The announcement by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk
Dr. Rais Yatim yesterday that the review of the Internal Security Act has
been put on hold following the Al-Ma'unah arms heists.
UMNO launching a nation-wide campaign to inform members "how the cult
tried to topple the Government by the use of force after they succeeded
in getting the support of Muslims to their cause using words such as jihad
(holy war) and syahid (martyr)".
Attempts by Barisan Nasional leaders like Gerakan President Datuk
Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to whip up a national frenzy of alarm and fear by giving
the impression that the country is crawling with "mad mullahs" out
to create chaos and violence - or to use his own words, "developments
where certain groups are resorting to violence to achieve their political
aims, whether to topple the Government or to set up an Islamic state".
Even more tempting is the opportunity for the Barisan Nasional to smear
and try to discredit the Barisan Alternative parties among various
sections of Malaysian society after the unprecedented electoral setbacks
suffered by UMNO in the recent general election, where UMNO lost
32 seats to PAS and Keadilan, by blaming PAS for the Al-Ma'unah violence
and the DAP for associating with PAS in the Barisan Alternative.
It would however be the height of irresponsibility for the Barisan
Nasional government to jeopardize national unity and inter-racial and inter-religious
harmony to politicise the Al-Ma'unah arms heists in order to settle political
scores with the Opposition parties.
I call on Mahathir to give a categorical assurance that the
Barisan Nasional government will not milk political mileage from th Al-Ma'unah
arms heists and create national frenzy of fear and alarm to justify a major
crackdown against legitimate dissent and instead to transcend party politics
and work with the Opposition parties in the aftermath of the Al-Ma'unah
arms heists and killings to ensure the solidarity between the non-Muslims
and Muslims for the common welfare of all Malaysian citizens.
Barisan Nasional and Barisan Alternative should reach a national consensus
on certain fundamentals in the aftermath of the Al-Ma'unah arms heists
and killings as a recipe for inter-religious harmony and national unity,
which should include:
Unreserved condemnation of all forms of religious deviationist cults, whether
Islam or non-Muslim, which espouse violence to achieve their purported
Unreserved condemnation of Al-Ma'unah killing of police detective Kpl R.
Sagadevan and commando Matew ak Medanand and full national recognition
of their sacrifice in the service of the country with government responsibility
for the welfare of the families they had left behind.
Need for an independent inquiry into the Al-Ma'unah arms heists and killings
to find answers to many nagging questions, including;
The Barisan Nasional and the Barisan Alternative should impose a moratorium
on party politics over the Al-Ma'unah arms heists and killings and work
out a non-partisan counter national strategy to prevent the check
the growth of deviationist cults espousing violence to achieve their purported
How it was so easy for the security of two military camps in Grik to be
breached and such a vast cache of high-calibre weaponry robbed by
a motley band headed by what the Inspector-General of Police had
described as "mentally-unbalanced" ex-army private.
Was it possible for three Pajeros to cart away such an arsenal of weaponry
together with the gang of 15 who raided the two military armouries
on July 2.
Why the army was unaware that ranger Matew was one of the hostages in the
hands of Al-Maunah gang at Bukit Jenalik until the surrender of the gang
in the five-day stand-off.
Why did the Home Ministry approve registration of Al-Ma'unah in 1999 when
in 1995 the army had already classified "Ma'unah" as a form of Islamic
Why was the Police so remiss as not to be aware of the activities of Al-Ma'unah
if the UMNO Information Chief, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad is right that Al-Ma'unah
instigated its members to topple the elected government by force.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman