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Brief background to Memali.

Few Malays will acknowledge the Memali incident because it is a shameful part of their history.

Malay turned against Malay, and Muslims trained their weapons against fellow Muslims. The bloodshed caused the deaths of 14 civilians, and four policemen, killed by friendly fire.

Few Malays want to get to the truth. It is their nature to turn a blind eye. Generations of breeding have instilled in them, ‘to leave things as they are’, because ‘it is God’s will’.

Others say, “Who cares? Why bring it up?”

Many Malaysians don’t know about the Memali massacre.

Umno Kedah wanted to punish one man – Ibrahim “Libya” Mahmood. They feared him, because they believed that because he was aligned with PAS, then in the general election, Umno would lose.

During the night of 18 November, 1985, around 3,000 Police Field Force men were awaiting instruction to raid a communist camp, near Baling. Why tell them a lie?

When news filtered through the ranks that Memali was their target, many Muslim policemen grew restless and refused to attack, especially as dawn prayers were approaching.

They urged negotiations with Ibrahim, but instead, their leaders lobbed tear gas into the compound, an armoured car rammed the wooden gates, and bullets struck the men in Ibrahim’s compound.

Modern weapons, including M16 assault rifles, were used against 100 ordinary village folk, armed with changkuls (mattocks), hoes, pitchforks, scythes and rubber tapping tools. Traditional farming tools versus bullets; a wooden fence to stop armoured cars.

The mainstream newspapers reported that Ibrahim “Libya” had been shielding communists; he wasn’t.

The authorities claimed that Ibrahim “Libya” had built a fortress; he hadn’t.

They accused Ibrahim “Libya” of stockpiling weapons, to topple the government; no arms were found.

They said that Ibrahim “Libya” was a deviant.; but no fatwa had been issued against him.

Ibrahim “Libya” said that he would co-operate, on condition his safety was guaranteed, he received a fair hearing and would not be detained, without trial, under the ISA. The authorities refused.

The Memali survivors were jailed under the ISA.

The defenders had only sufficient food and water for three days. Violence could have been avoided, by starving them out.

The Sultan of Kedah, paid his respects at Ibrahim “Libya’s” graveside, but did not pay the same tribute, to the dead policemen.

In 2014, former Deputy PM, Musa Hitam, publicly announced that Mahathir had been in Malaysia and not in China, as he had led everyone to believe. Musa was accused of ordering the attack, but could it have been Mahathir?

The official white paper released in 1986 blamed Ibrahim “Libya” and his men. The Kedah Fatwa council issued a fatwa declaring that Ibrahim “Libya” and his men were enemies.

No. He wasn’t. He was a good preacher and he had many supporters, that Umno Kedah at the time, knew they would lose the General Election of 1986 because of Ibrahim “Libya” Mahmood.

He had to go, and so, they did.

To get at one man, 18 innocent people died. All because of one thing. To win the General Election of 1986.


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