Khalid Samad does a U-turn on Memali

(FMT) – Amanah’s Khalid Samad said that PAS should be the one to push for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the Memali incident as the Islamist party had raised the issue again recently.

“Tell them (PAS and former prime minister Najib Razak) to push for an RCI. Why should they ask me to do it? It is PAS’ issue, they brought it up, not us,” Khalid, who is the Amanah communications director, told reporters at the “Festival Permainan Malaysia” here today.

He was asked to comment on Najib’s criticisms of the delay in setting up an RCI to probe the tragedy despite Khalid previously promising that Pakatan Harapan would do so if it won the last general election.

Najib had wondered what PH was waiting for despite being in power for 16 months.

But Khalid, who is the Federal Territories minister, said that even though the government did not discuss establishing an RCI on Memali, it did not downplay the incident.

“Only the heartless would say the tragedy was a minor issue,” he said in an apparent swipe at PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan.

Takiyuddin had recently appeared to downplay the tragedy, saying it was seen as a “small issue” compared to the bigger agendas involving PAS and Umno, which signed their unity charter yesterday.

The Kampung Memali incident in Baling, Kedah, in 1985 saw a confrontation between police and supporters of religious teacher Ibrahim Libya, who resisted attempts to arrest him under the Internal Security Act.

It resulted in the deaths of 18 people, including four policemen.

The incident cropped up again after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad questioned the cooperation between PAS and Umno, reminding the latter that it was once called “kafir”, or infidel, by the Islamist party.

In response, Umno Youth said Mahathir has yet to apologise to PAS over the incident, which happened during his tenure as the fourth prime minister.