PUTRAJAYA – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the organiser of the ‘Nothing to Hide 2.0’ forum must take full responsibility for the fracas that occurred during the programme yesterday, said Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid.
He said blaming others, specifically Umno and the Barisan Nasional, was irresponsible of them.
The commotion occurred as Dr Mahathir was asked a question on the Memali incident that took place in 1985 that resulted in the deaths of 18 people, four of them policemen.
Mahdzir said that though the Memali incident happened a long time ago, it had left a deep impact on the family members and villagers in the area.
“We do not know, maybe the person who asked the question was personally affected or his family had something to do with the incident,” he said at a press conference after presenting prizes to winners of the Inter-Division Choir Competition held in conjunction with Independence Month 2017 organised by the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture Association (MESCA) here today.
Mahdzir was commenting on allegations that Barisan Nasional and Umno had orchestrated the incident during the programme organised by the youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) in Shah Alam, Selangor, which had to be postponed after shoes, chairs, flares, slippers and water bottles were thrown while Dr Mahathir was answering a question on the Memali tragedy.
He said there should not be wild allegations that the ruling party had orchestrated the incident to cover its weaknesses because the programme should not have even been held in the first place as it was merely to give Dr Mahathir a chance to speak for the sake of political mileage.
Mahdzir condemned the fracas and violence at the programme and said he hoped that the police would investigate to find out the cause and identify those responsible for the incident.
Earlier, at the event today, the Co-curriculum and Culture Division was announced winner of the competition.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Umno Youth vice-chief Khairul Azwan Harun said PPBM youth head Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman should be held responsible for the incident for failing to ensure the safety of the audience at the programme, resulting in people being injured.
“The youth head (Syed Saddiq) should have foreseen such incidences and provided the highest security during the forum,” he told reporters at the lobby of Parliament.
Shah Alam District Police chief ACP Shafien Mamat has said that three youths aged 17, 18 and 19 had been detained to assist in the investigation into the incident.
Azwan condemned the incident and said it was a wake-up call to PPBM, that not all party members liked their leaders.
He said there was even the possibility that the fracas was planned by PPBM members themselves so they could blame Umno for it.
Immediately after the media reported the incident, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali claimed that Umno had masterminded it.
In response, Azwan denied that Umno Youth was involved in the incident and urged the authorities to conduct a full investigation and arrest those responsible.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim said the accusation by the Pakatan Harapan leadership that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the mastermind behind the incident was a serious matter as it was aimed at tarnishing the good name of the country’s leader.
“It is common practice for the opposition to cover up their own weakness. They should look at the security control from all aspects,” he said.
In IPOH, Selangor Umno Liaison Committee chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar lambasted Azmin’s statement which accused Umno and Najib of causing the fracas.
He said Azmin’s statement was defamatory as the results of the investigation into the incident were not finalised but Azmin blamed Umno and the Prime Minister with using gangsters and accused Najib of being a coward.
Noh, who is also Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, was speaking to reporters after presenting appointment letters to the committee members of the Perak People’s Representative 2017-2019 session and the presentation of the Perak PBT 2016 awards today.
In SHAH ALAM, Selangor Umno deputy chairman Datuk Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan also said the organisers of the programme should be responsible for the chaos that occurred.
He said the organisers should be blamed for compromising on the safety of those who attended the forum.
He added it was irresponsible for anyone to blame other parties, specifically Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for the fracas.
“What basis and evidence is there for the accusations made against the Prime Minister,” he said.
Meanwhile in PETALING JAYA, PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the fracas was totally unexpected and could have been orchestrated by irresponsible parties.
“We gave our assurance that safety would be ensured, but if there were people who entered wearing our shirts, with bad intentions…this was something we did not expect,” he said.