DAP MP for Kepong, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw had tried on the first day day of the two-week Dewan Rakyat meeting on July 10, 2000 to adjourn Parliament to debate the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings on a motion of urgent, definite public importance, but it was rejected by the Speaker, Tun Mohamad Zahir Ismail on the ground that it did not comply with the urgency element.
Zahir ruled: "The incident, though unfortunate, has already ended with the arrest of the arms robbers and the retrieval of all the stolen weapons. Therefore, it's not an urgent matter."
Malaysians are entitled to know why there was a debate on the Al-Ma置nah arms heists and killings in the Perlis State Assembly when it was not allowed in Parliament three weeks earlier?
The reason for the Perlis State Assembly debate is very simple - that it is another escalation of the politicisation of the Al-Ma置nah issue by the Barisan Nasional.
In retrospect, the decision to fully politicise the Al-Ma置nah issue was probably taken at the UMNO Supreme Council at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya on 10th July, where the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad fired the first political salvo with the accusation that "certain quarters, including PAS" would try to "white-wash" the Al-Ma置nah atrocities.
The next few days saw Mahathir escalating the politicisation of the Al-Ma置nah issue, stating in categorical terms that the killing of the non-Muslim rather than Muslim hostages by the Al-Ma置nah group was deliberate, blaming PAS for its "politics of hatred" as being responsible for the Al-Ma置nah incident and accusing the majority of the 1,800 Al-Ma置nah members as PAS members although no evidence had been given in the past three weeks.
Under these circumstances, Malaysians cannot but wonder whether the White Paper would be an independent and impartial report or merely another step in the Barisan Nasional痴 politicisation of the Al-Ma置nah issue.