Dr M: I met Lim before Ops Lalang

(The Star) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has refuted allegations made by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang that the latter did not meet him prior to Ops Lalang in 1987.

The former prime minister’s denial came after Lim wrote in his blog that the duo had not met before the mass detention.

In his blog, Lim also stated that Dr Mahathir had not given any assurance on his arrest.

“I met Kit Siang and his friends as a group,” Dr Mahathir said yesterday after handing over a mock cheque for RM1mil on behalf of the Proton Foundation as scholarship to 13 students. Dr Mahathir pointed out that he felt some of the political figures did not need to serve detention at that time.

“It was the police who took action against them and I accepted their decision,” he said.

On Oct 27, 1987, 106 Opposition and Barisan Nasional politicians, academics and leaders of NGOs were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The licences of three national newspapers were also withdrawn.

Among the notable detainees were Lim, then the Opposition Leader and DAP secretary-general, Karpal Singh, former Aliran head Dr Chandra Muzaffar and Ibrahim Ali, now of Perkasa fame.

Dr Mahathir, who was the Home Minister from 1986 to 1999, had penned the detention orders.

Most were released within 60 days, but 40, including Lim, his son (Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng, Karpal and several PAS leaders and social activists were held for two years.

Asked on why some were detained longer than the usual 60 days, Dr Mahathir said it was confidential.