Memali incident a sad tragedy

  • Letters
  • Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013

IN relation to the murder of JAIP’s enforcement chief Allahyarham Raffli Abdul Malek, your newspaper published a fact box listing major violent cases involving deviant groups in the country.

Among those listed were Imam Mahdi, Al-Ma’unah and Tuhan Harun. Regrettably, you decided to include the late Ustaz Ibrahim Libya and his followers to that list.

The 1985 Memali incident was indeed a sad tragedy for the nation and PAS supporters in particular.

To be certain, many of the events leading to the incident have been shielded from the public.

The fact is that the Alor Setar High Court, after a prolonged legal battle, decided that the Government should pay compensation to the kin of those who died in the incident.

So how then can the late Ustaz Ibrahim and his followers be blamed for violent conduct when it was the Government who was asked to pay compensation?

There was never any deviant edict issued against the late Ustaz Ibrahim and his followers. The only edict ever issued was by the Kedah Fatwa Council, which argued the “as-syahid” classification was inappropriate.

The classification was first opined by the highly respected Tuan Guru Hj Omar Zuhdi of Sekolah Pondok Lanai, Kedah and later validated by Tuan Guru Hj Yahya Junid and Ustaz Azahari Abdul Razak, both members of the Kedah Fatwa Council. So where is The Star’s rationale for this deviated claim?

In Islam, there is no such thing as the truth being buried in the grave forever. There is always the “hereafter” where secrets will be unveiled and adjudged. But wouldn’t it be bittersweet if some truths such as the Memali incident goes mainstream “here” instead of waiting for the “hereafter”?

The Hillsborough tragedy of 1989 in the UK, which saw 96 Liverpool’s supporters trampled to death, was one fine example of a truth going mainstream. For 21 years, one truth after another was exposed yet suppressed by the establishment.

And when the government, the police and the mainstream media finally agreed to accept accountability instead of the usual blame game, it helped start the process of national healing and reconciliation from what is deemed as one of the darkest moments in modern English history.

Surely, things like this can only be inspiring and empowering, radiating a positive energy that is perhaps driving The Reds right now.

And like the Hillsborough tragedy, with the principle of truth being universal, understanding the Memali incident can also carry us far and beyond into our own process of national healing and reconciliation.

And to the kin and people of Memali who were denied of the truth and justice till today, this is PAS’ commitment to all of you – that you’ll never walk alone.



Federal Territory PAS Youth

> Editor’s note: This letter has been edited for brevity and our editorial requirements. On Nov 12, 2013, The Star published a fact box related to the Tuhan Harun issue, which referred to Ibrahim Libya and his followers as a deviant group. To the extent the reference has caused distress to any member of his family or colleagues, The Star offers its apologies.

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Courts & Crime , Memali


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