PETALING JAYA: Mohd Ali Baharom, also known as Ali Tinju, has had his application to join Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia rejected, says an aide to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The application by the controversial Umno-linked Red Shirt leader to join Bersatu as a member was turned down, according to a Facebook post by Adam Mukhriz Mohd Muhayeddin, the assistant press secretary to Dr Mahathir.
“I have just received information that Ali Tinju's application to join Bersatu has been rejected. If that's the case, thank you.
“It has to be quality (people) even though we are open to receiving membership applications in Bersatu,” he said late Sunday (Nov 11) night.
Online portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reported that Ali Tinju had applied to become a member at Bersatu's Bandar Tun Razak division on Sunday (Nov 11).
He had told FMT that that he wanted to join Bersatu “on his own accord”, adding that in Umno he held no leadership positions and was merely “taking orders” from its leaders.
He had also claimed that he was a “changed man” and that he was “not after any post or monetary gains”.
Ali Tinju was a leader of Gerakan Merah 1Malaysia, also known as the Red Shirts. The word “tinju” in his nickname refers to the Malay word for boxing or fighting.
He first courted national controversy in 2012 when he and his followers performed a “butt showing exercise” in front of the house of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was then the chairperson of election reform group Bersih 2.0.
He was also accused of making an incendiary speech before the riots in front of Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur, on July 12, 2015, after a Malay man had been temporarily detained by Chinese traders for stealing a handphone.
He was arrested under the Sedition Act for allegedly inflamming racial tensions, but the prosecution later withdrew the charges.
On Dec 18, 2015, Ali Tinju also led a small protest at the Kota Raya shopping complex in Kuala Lumpur, demanding a boycott of the handphone traders in the mall, who were mainly of Chinese descent, claiming they were cheating customers.
Two days later, on Dec 20, 2015, according to MCA Publicity Bureau Senator Datuk Chai Kim Sen, a small mob entered the mall armed with sticks and helmets, and carted away mobile telephones and cash worth RM17,000 and even assaulted workers.
Chai added that the MCA was also concerned over the Attorney General’s decision to not charge Ali Tinju over the allegedly inflammatory remarks made outside Low Yat Plaza in July 2015.
Furthermore, in 2016 he had also allegedly threatened former Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, saying that “she will never walk this earth again”.
This was condemned by politicians from both sides of the political divide. Maria Chin, now the MP for Petaling Jaya, made lodged a police report against Ali Tinju.
At that time, the Home Ministry, in a written reply to Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Kulai), said that he was being investigated for his alleged remarks, and that the investigation papers had been referred to the deputy public prosecutor on Sept 27, 2016.
Ali Tinju was known for being a staunch defender of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
In August 2016, he led a counter-rally against the Tangkap Malaysian Official 1 (TMO1) rally, which was held to call for the arrest of “MO1”, a reference to Najib by the US Department of Justice lawsuit to seize assets in relation to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Ali Tinju was also part of an Umno group which caused a commotion when they breached a police barricade in front of the DAP headquarters to protest.
The group claimed that DAP Perak chairman Nga Kor Ming had posted two Hari Raya greetings on Facebook which were “insulting” to Islam.