KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — Parti Amanah Negara communications director Khalid Abdul Samad expressed shock at PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan’s description of the 1985 Memali Incident as “minor”.
He appeared visibly taken aback when reporters told him what Takiyuddin said in order to seek his response at the Federal Territory Maal Hijrah celebrations in his capacity as Federal Territories minister.
“I am shocked by such a statement, since when you look into the case surrounding Memali, there remain many issues which still need explanations,” Khalid said, who had been a PAS member from 1983 to 2015.
He said many including himself regarded Memali as a tragedy that should never have occurred.
“For Takiyuddin to state that it is a minor matter, as though there are no lessons to be learned from it, will not change the fact that the tragedy occurred and we must learn from it.
“It makes the incident look as though it was merely political in nature, one that no longer remains an issue when the two political parties involved have made peace,” Khalid said, adding that the lives of police personnel as well as villagers were lost.
He said it would be very disappointing if Takiyuddin did indeed make those remarks, which he said reduced Memali to political fodder.
The PAS secretary-general said during a press conference yesterday held at Umno’s headquarters that his party now accepts that the 18 deaths in the incident were predestined, and that it is no longer a big issue with the pact between PAS and Umno.
Taking place on November 19, 1985, the incident began when religious scholar and teacher Ibrahim Mahmud and 400 villagers in Memali, near Baling in Kedah, faced off a siege by 200 policemen who were ordered to storm the village by then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam.
Ibrahim, whose political leanings saw him closely associate with PAS and later join the Islamist party, was one of the 18 people killed, which included 13 other villagers and four policemen.
The incident can be said to be the nadir in PAS-Umno relations, which led a considerable social rift among Malay Muslims and which lasted for over three decades until the pact.