Although Selangor State CPO Deputy Commissioner Datuk Nik Ismail Nik Yusuf said yesterday that it was believed to be caused by a home-made bomb, the general Malaysian public have generally and instantly linked the Klang explosion with the Al-Ma’unah arms heists of July 2, although the authorities had earlier announced recovery of all weapons stolen from the two Grik army camps.
This is a reflection of the yawning gap of the government’s credibility as the people would not link the Klang explosion with the Al-Ma’unah arms heists if they had full trust in the government’s earlier claim that all the weapons stolen by the Al-Ma’unah gang in the Grik arms heists had been recovered.
The sudden revelation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in his special television interview on Wednesday that several members of the Al-Ma’unah gang, one armed with an M16 assault rifle equipped with a grenade launcher, attacked a brewery and a temple after the arms heists in Grik has only aggravated the government’s credibility gap because of its selective and even tendentious manner in doling out information to suit narrow partisan rather than wider national interests.
Malaysians are now told that the Carlsberg brewery in Shah Alam was attacked twice with a grenade launcher on July 3, a day after the Grik arms heists, at about 4 a.m. while two grenades were launched at the Batu Caves Hindu temple complex on July 9 at about 2 a.m. However all these grenades did no damage, as according to Mahathir in the television interview, "nothing happened" as "they did not know how to use the weapon effectively".
In the television interview, Mahathir said that the "group of between three to five people" who carried a M16 rocket launcher out of Sauk have all been caught and the weapon seized in Sungai Petani.
Even this part of Mahathir’s interview raised many queries.
Firstly, if all the members of the group which took the M16 rocket launcher from Sauk to Kuala Lumpur "to spark unrest by attacking a particular place that would cause suspicion whether our country is really safe" had been arrested and the M16 grenade launcher recovered, then Mahathir should not be talking about "a group of between three to five people" but the actual number of people in the group, whether three, four or five - as this specific information would be within the knowledge of the police.
Secondly, mass media reports of 10th and 11th July, 2000 gave the following
Many questions arise, including the following:
Yesterday, after the UMNO Supreme Council meeting, Mahathir again tried to give more explanation and information about the Al-Ma’unah arms heists, which is most improper as information about the Al-Ma’unah arms heists should be given out impartially by the government and not doled out in the context and perspective of a political tussle between UMNO and PAS - which immediately raises questions about their credibility.
If the government does not want Parliament to debate the Al-Ma’unah arms heists until the White Paper had been made public, then UMNO and other members of the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition should set an example by not prejudging what is going to be in the White Paper with their own version of the Al-Mau’nah arms heists.
The best solution is for the White Paper to be completed and made public without any more delay, while all political leaders, including the UMNO President and Ministers, should withhold from making any comments on the Al-Ma’unah arms heists until the release of the White Paper. Otherwise, the White Paper on the Al-Ma’unah arms heists would lose all credibility when it is eventually published.