He said: "This is as if the police have nothing else to do but to reply to questions by the opposition. The police are busy now because of the opposition. Busy here and there taking care of mosques, busy taking care of other places."
The Prime Minister should show greater respect for the intelligence of the Malaysian people and not give such a simplistic as well as unfair comment, as if he wants the public to believe that the entire Malaysian police force is running hither and thither all over the country to take care of public properties and therefore too busy to complete police investigations into the Al-Ma'unah arms heists and killings - when everybody knows that there is a special police team solely responsible for the investigations.
While Mahathir's response that all the questions about the arms heists would be known when the police investigations are completed sounds reasonable, why is the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and police officers giving out information about the arms heists in dribs and drabs provoking the public to raise more questions as a result of the grave problem of public credibility suffered by the government and its inability to give a fully consistent and credible account of the Al-Ma'unah arms heists and killings.
Furthermore, if all information would only be known when the police investigations are completed and the White Paper made public, why is UMNO launching a nation-wide offensive against the Opposition on the arms heists? Shouldn't the UMNO psy-war against PAS, for instance, be suspended until the publication of the White Paper?
Yesterday, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said village headmen must help to explain the arms heists and Sauk hostage incident "in efforts to counter the hate campaign mounted by certain groups". How are the Pahang village headmen to explain the arms heists and Sauk hostage incident to the public when the Prime Minister himself admitted that there are many questions unanswered and must await police investigations?
There is widespread public concern whether the White Paper on the arms heists and killings would be an impartial, unbiased and professional report, or whether it would be a "White-Wash Paper" to absolve security lapses and negligence and a "Black Paper" as the lynchpin of the UMNO psy-war against the Opposition especially PAS by incriminating them with the Al-Ma'unah group.
Such concern had been reinforced by two developments: firstly, the refusal of the government to appoint independent and respected Malaysians not in the armed forces as members of the inquiry into the arms heists and secondly, the political attacks launched by Mahathir and the Barisan Nasional leadership against the Opposition on the arms heists tragedy even before the publication of the White Paper.
In his television interview on Wednesday, Mahathir accused the Opposition of trying to absolve the Al-Ma'unah's criminal acts of staging the July 2 Grik arms heist and the Sauk hostage episode by charging that it was the Government's own doing.
The DAP for instance, had never made such an accusation and we had at the first available opportunity condemned the brutal Al-Ma'unah torture and killings and commended the police and army for ending the five-day hostage stand-off at Bukit Jenalik without loss of more lives.
Furthermore, the Barisan Nasional government has not been able to pinpoint any Opposition party or leader who had tried to absolve the Al-Ma'unah criminal acts by alleging that it was staged by UMNO or the Government.
The next day, Mahathir upped the ante in the psy-war against PAS at the 2000 UMNO Kedah convention in Alor Star and alleged that most of the 1,800 members of the Al-Ma'unah deviationist group were also Pas members - without giving any proof whatsoever.
I would imagine that if anyone had publicly made the same allegation about UMNO without being backed by evidence, that most of the 1,800 Al-Ma'unah members were also UMNO members, such a person would not only be threatened but would be detained under the Internal Security Act for undermining national security!
Why then should the Prime Minister be allowed to make such an allegation without having to produce any proof and when he himself could publicly admit that he did not know "how may exactly" Al-Ma'unah members were also PAS members.
A more serious question is whether the White Paper would be allowed to publish findings which might contradict or deny the various claims that are being made by Mahathir and Barisan Nasional leaders.
Is the White Paper, for instance, going to carry a special appendice listing all the 1,800 Al-Ma'unah members according to their membership in political parties - to show how many of them were members of PAS, UMNO and other political parties, as Mahathir had publicly admitted that there could have been UMNO members in Al-Ma'unah.
In view of these public concerns, the government must give a satisfactory and categorical assurance that the arms heists White Paper would not be a "White-Wash Paper" to absolve security lapses or a "Black Paper" as the lynchpin of the UMNO psy-war against Opposition especially PAS but an impartial, unbiased and professional report.