PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) said the agitators at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 Forum were paid and trained to riot.
Speaking to a news portal at his Perdana Leadership Foundation office, he said the fracas pointed towards an escalation of political violence.
The authorities were doing nothing to stop it, added the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) leader.
He rubbished claims by Umno leaders that the fracas at the forum last Saturday was planned by PPBM itself. “But of course, telling lies is something that is very common among government leaders now,” the portal quoted him as saying.
Mahathir said he was unshaken by the incident. “What is there to be afraid of? The chairs didn’t hit me, the bottles didn’t reach me. They were all to my right. And to my right was the empty chair.
“So I will continue with what I have to do,” he said.
Pandemonium broke out after chairs were thrown and shoes flung on stage as Mahathir was speaking. Two flares were ignited in the hall.
The organisers were forced to escort Mahathir and other VIPs out of the Selangor Youth and Culture Complex in Shah Alam, bringing an abrupt end to the forum.
Mahathir was answering a question on the Memali tragedy at the forum, a slipper was suddenly hurled at him. The former prime minister was not hit by the slipper or injured in the incident.
“I was standing, answering questions on Memali when they started throwing chairs and bottles,” he told the news portal. “But, strangely, they didn’t throw them in my direction. They threw them to the right side of me, which was an empty chair meant for (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak).
“Maybe their aim was poor, maybe their eyesight was poor, but the trajectory of their missiles was quite wrong. They were not directed at me.”