Ahead of unity charter, PAS and Umno bury hatchet over Memali incident

Azril Annuar
PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur September 12, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 ― PAS and Umno have decided to reconcile over the deadly Memali incident in Kedah in 1985, that was the result of a strained relationship between the two parties after the former declared the latter’s members as apostates and infidels.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the issue is history, and it is now considered to be a petty matter in light of their upcoming charter-signing ceremony in the Himpunan Penyatuan Ummah starting tomorrow.

“That incident has become a small matter when we are looking at uniting the ‘ummah’. The same goes with other incidents [that have hurt us] and the same goes for Umno.

“We have come to the conclusion that other matters have become petty matters when compared to this [unity] agenda,” said Takiyuddin in a joint press conference with his Umno counterpart Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

This comes after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said earlier this week that PAS has to first retract its statement labelling Umno as a party of infidels before the two parties finalise their cooperation.

Responding to the statement, Takiyuddin pointed out that it was Dr Mahathir who had led the country and Umno when the siege of Memali killed PAS leader Ibrahim Mahmud and the arrest of 159 villagers took place.

“We see Tun's remark as a political political statement. When he saw the kind of coverage that the event is receiving, he is trying to divert the public's attention.

“You need to know that the Memali incident happened during the administration of our fourth prime minister, we know who that is and we can make our own conclusion,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir.

He however did not elaborate on the “Amanat Hadi” by now party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang made in 1981 ― where he called Umno and Barisan Nasional supporters infidels and called for a “jihad” or holy war against them.

Instead, Annuar said Islamic teachings demand forgiveness among Muslims who have committed sins against one another and thanked Dr Mahathir for asking Hadi to retract said the declaration.

“We like to thank him because we find that as a mark of our success. We don't need to get upset over this. We only worry when no one cares about what we do.

“But when the prime minister, Islamic affairs minister and Federal Territories minister began to feel uncomfortable, we would like to show our appreciate because we are getting their attention,” said Annuar.

When asked whether or not the descenaents of those killed during the siege of had accepted the upcoming unity charter between PAS and Umno, Takiyuddin said the Memali community has forged closer ties with Umno after the Islamist party's chapter there organised a programme between the two.

He had also that being PAS members, they will follow the instructions coming from party leaders and so far the party's headquarters had not received any complaints.

“The PAS branch in Memali had organised a programme with Umno in Baling. The community in Memali and Baling are now very close with Umno. There's no problem. During the annual commemoration of the Memali ‘martyrs’ we foster harmony and explained the real issue.

“They are PAS members and they will follow the instructions from the party leadership and not question it. At the headquarters, I have not received any questions on the unity,” said Takiyuddin, referring to the Memali community.

On November 19, 1985, a 576-strong police force attempted to arrest PAS leader Ibrahim Mahmood, also known as Ibrahim Libya, at his home in Kampung Memali, Baling under the now defunct Internal Security Act for creating discord and disharmony.

The attempt in Kedah left 14 villagers and four police officers dead as Ibrahim’s followers decided to take up arms and to defend him.

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