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SHAH ALAM, Aug 13 — A Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) leader said today the party proceeded to hold the “Nothing to Hide 2.0” forum, despite being tipped off about potential trouble as its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not afraid to confront his critics.
Its youth chief, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, said the calm manner in which the former prime minister took highly sensitive questions from the unvetted audience proved that Dr Mahathir “had nothing to hide”.
But the PPBM leader claimed the use of violence to sabotage the forum, where some troublemakers had fired off flares and thrown chairs, bottles and shoes, proved that their political rivals had wanted to intimidate Dr Mahathir from exposing corruption within the government.
“Even if the irresponsible party had wanted to use such a tactic to prevent us from marching forward, we will insist and continue to hold forums,” Syed Saddiq said when addressing the media after the violent incident took place.
“We have nothing to hide and we will insist that we have nothing to hide.
“If Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad can confront anyone — absolutely anyone — even when we were already notified earlier on that there were people who were disguising as our youth wing members.
The forum itself, which was a follow up to a first similarly titled event that was also disrupted by violence, was a tame affair, with Dr Mahathir merely repeating allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
But things were quick to escalate when the moderator began taking questions from the floor.
With near-hostile tone, one audience member after another demanded the former prime minister explain highly sensitive issues that included allegations that he had enriched his three sons during his tenure as prime minister.
But Dr Mahathir kept his composure and took on all the questions without hesitation.
“When I was prime minister I could have put my sons in high positions. Heck, I can even make one a deputy prime minister but I didn’t even allow them to join the party (Umno),” he said in a reply to one of the audience members.
“If I had wanted to do those things, I would have done it when I was in power lah. I can’t do anything now, can I?” he said with a smile, suggesting that the accusations towards his sons were only raised now.
Violence erupted just after a man asked Dr Mahathir to explain the 1985 “Memali incident”; if the force used by the police at the time was proportionate to the threat posed by some protesting residents of the remote village of Memali in Baling, Kedah.
Police have arrested three suspects in the clash at Dr Mahathir’s forum.