KUALA LUMPUR – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today admitted he had issued a statement predicting that a rally organised by Bersih 2.0 would be more violent.
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, who is a defence witness, testified in the High Court here that the statement was posted on his personal blog in early May 2012.
“I confirm that I have made the statement and it was my opinion at that time,” he said during examination-in-chief by counsel Mohamed Nasser Yusof representing Sungai Besar UMNO chief Datuk Seri Jamal Md Yunos in a suit filed by Clean and Fair Elections Steering Committee (Bersih 2.0) chairman Maria Chin Abdullah for linking the movement with terrorist group Daesh.
However, during cross-examination by lawyer N. Surendran representing Maria, Dr Mahathir admitted that the perception had changed after he himself attended the Bersih 4.0 and 5.0 rallies because they seemed peaceful.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir, who was Home Minister, also told the court that ‘Ops Lalang’ was launched in 1987 and 106 individuals were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) including Maria’s husband, Yunus Ali.
To a question from Mohamed Nasser on whether he had directed Yunus to be arrested, the second defence witness said: “I act on the information given by the special branch personnel to me”.
Dr Mahathir explained that it had been the government’s policy to take action against anyone involved in riot or who posed a threat to the country.
On Oct 7, 2016, Maria, 62, sued Jamal, who is the chairman of Malay Non-Governmental Organisation Coalition and Gagasan Merah Malaysia.
In her statement of claim, she said that on Sept 28, 2016, Jamal had uttered defamatory words in a media conference in the vicinity of the Putra World Trade Centre which was subsequently published and broadcast on several news portals, national print and electronic media.
The plaintiff also claimed that on Oct 4, 2016, Jamal once again uttered defamatory words against her at the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters, and it was published the next day on news portals, national print and electronic media.
The trial before Judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab continues tomorrow. – BERNAMA