Friday, May 23, 2008

Revisiting Memali, Musa and Mooever

From "Orang Minyak" <>
Date Wed, 30 Dec 1998 23:06:32 PST

Re: [sangkancil]Memali 13 years later


Dear Iym,

I don't know whether I can enlighten you on Memali massacre, but perhaps
I may be allowed to say a few words.

First, I must say that the Memali massacre was like a turning over for
me. I was very much pro-government then, I swallowed just about
everything they spit. I believe in our government, totally.

Then, one day, coming home from somewhere, while lying on the bed, I
heard the news from the radio. It was a special news, not during
regular news time. It was Dato' Musa Hitam, the then DPM, making a
special announcement. I couldn't recall his exact word, but he said
something to this effect:

"Sekumpulan komunis telah terbunuh dalam pertempuran dengan anggota
keselamatan di Memali, Baling pada pagi ini."

There were other things that he said, like two of the "anggota
keselamatan" also terbunuh, but this "komunis" thing still stick in my
mind. I didn't, at first, take the news to be something of special
occurence. Soldiers killing communist terrorists, I thought, is nothing
special. While it may not be everyday occurence, generally only the
newscaster will air it, not the DPM. The esteem PM, no less than the
great Mahathir himself, was away in China at the time.

So, I did wonder why it has to be made as a special announcement, but I
didn't quite take it seriously that morning.

Then, later that day, in the news, it was said that a group of criminals
were killed in the crossfire with the "anggota keselamatan" in Memali,
Baling, Kedah. This time, the news caught my attention. Earlier that
day, I heard very clearly that it was a group of communists. Now, it
became a group of criminals. I wondered.

Then late at night, or probably tomorrow morning, the news change again.
Now it is a group of religious deviationists. Along the line, they said
it was religious extremists.

It made me wonder why the government keeps changing the identity of the
ones murdered. From Communists to criminals to deviationists to
extremists. It made me wonder who were they, those who died in Memali.
The newspaper for the next subsequent days mostly represented Ibrahim
Libya and his followers, the ones who got killed, as extremists and
deviationists. The word about being communists and criminals were

For the first time, I was not convinced with government lies.
Government appeared to be hiding something fishy, I thought. Then, for
the first time in my life, I attended a ceramah conducted by PAS,
wanting to see whether they have something to say, because by then,
Ibrahim Libya was said to be associated with PAS. It was the first time
I saw Nik Aziz, the man whom I heard before, but never paid attention to

The old man who I saw that night was totally different from what has
been pictured in the local newspaper about him. It was Ramadhan, and he
led the tarawikh prayer, and when I saw him approaching the podium, I
thought this man cannot be too bad. He looked like a very kind hearted
man, sincerity shown on his face, and his face has traces of being warak
(you know one when you see one, I don't know how to explain this, but
Nik Aziz's face was clearly not the face of men fitting to be playboys
who were interviewed to paint a bad picture about Ibrahim Libya in the
local newspaper during that times). When he talked, I knew how much I
have been missing in my life, for naively believing everything spit by
the local media.

Nik Aziz didn't talk much about Memali that night. The program was to
remember Badar, not Memali. There was also one other speaker who talk,
but I don't remember his name. He also didn't talk much about Memali.

Not yet satisfied, I went about asking people, listening to ceramah,
reading this and that, wanting to know who Ibrahim Libra really is. I
also happened to listen to a few tapes of ceramah made by Ibrahim Libya
before his demise. I said to myself, this guy cannot be a deviationist.
I thought his ceramah was a bit harsh. He said a lot of not nice thing
about Mahathir, and he was especially angry with Anwar Ibrahim, whom he
supported and visited while Anwar was in detention in Kemunting. But
nothing in what he said showed a tread of deviation or extremism vis a
vis Islam. This guy just want Islam to be a way of life. And he was
criticising Mahathir and Anwar for deceiving people with the so-called
penerapan nilai-nilai Islam.

After six months of searching, I made up my mind that I have to be
careful with whatever the government is saying. What they said about
Memali was a downright lies. Ibrahim Libya was not a communist, nor a
criminal; he was just an ustaz who spoke his mind. He didn't deserve to
be shot. His teaching, for all intents and purposes, was purer than the
one propounded by the YB Hamid Othman, our Minister in Pusat Islam.

The Government Media stick with religious deviationist and extremist a
couple of days after the massacre, and it became their official version.
I was lucky enough to hear the announcement made from the beginning. I
still recalled it today, now, that Musa Hitam said it was a group of
communist that our soldiers killed in Memali. Then, radio made them a
group of criminals, until finally they sticked with official version,
"Pelampau Islam yang menyebarkan Ilmu sesat."

I thought, if the government can make downright lies about this matter,
what about other matters. My trust to the government then shaken.

Not so long ago, I happened to ask the ex-police who happened to be
involved in the Memali case. He tried not to talk too much about it,
but he made it clear to me that it was the police mistake, police,
meaning the government or authority.

I asked whether the action was justified. He said on the ground that
Ibrahim Libya held two policeman as their ransom, the police action was

So, is Ibrahim Libya and his people who died were martyrs? Only Allah
knows. From what I heard and read, it was said that the blood from
Ibrahim Libya and his people did not dry up, and the bodies were still
warm though they have been dead for many hours already. Blood flows
without stopping and the body did not become stiff are some sign of
martydom. It was because of this reason they were buried without prayer
of jenazah.

In addition, I also heard from a reliable sources that at least one of
the police was shot from the back, not from the front. And the bullet
was I believe M16, not from senapang gajah. Ibrahim Libra and his
followers have two short guns, the rest are parang, keris, pedang,
pelapah kelapa, lastik. The wound of the dead policemen and the bullet
found were said to be not from short gun, or parang, or lastik. I
shudder to think that these policemen might be a decoy, a victim of some
sort to make Ibrahim Libya and his men looked like communists with guns.
I hope if it was the police themselves who shot these policemen, it was
done by mistake, not by design.

Those were the little account that I can tell you about Peristiwa
Memali. Most of the things are based on what I read, from government
media account, and from other sources, and what I heard. None from what
I see. I was not there in Memali during the event.

If you ask me, then I say the government made a very big mistake. It is
a big stain on the government. I for one do not believe in this
government since then (not that I reject it totally, but I am very
careful of what they say). They could have cekup Ibrahim Libya and put
him somewhere in Kemunting for two years, then renew if they like. If
the government do that, I might still be one of the blind fools
believing everything they spit on my face.

Looking from that perspective, I think Memali was good, in the sense
that it enables me to see the true color of the present government. In
that sense, Ibrahim Libya was truly a martyr, because he has managed to
turn over some people. Even if he wasn't, I believe Allah is kind to
his soul.

Until then, I remain.

Re: [sangkancil]Memali 13 years later..