A bloody struggle against ISA
A bloody struggle against ISA
It has been 26 years past since a sad, bloodied, dark historical spot and unforgetable event took place in Malaysia.
The nation then was led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad as PM while Tun Musa Hita, his deputy, was Minister of Internal Affairs. The event, dubbed "Tragedi Memali"[Memali Tragedy] took place in Kampung Memali, in a small district of Siong, Baling, Kedah.
Baling District is a special place for its numerous hitorical events that had taken place there, one of which was Rundingan Baling pada 1955 [1955 Baling Conference] between Persekutuan Tanah Melayu [Federation of Malaya] and Parti Komunis Malaya, PKM, [Malayan Communist Party.
The Demonstrasi Baling [Baling Demonstration] spurred by poverty issues happened there too.
As-Syahid Ibrahim Libya and 13 of followers were butchered by security forces equipped with automatic weapons and armoured vehicles.
The Malaysian Government sent 3,500 security forces men to confront Ibrahim Libya and followers together with Kampung Memali villagers.
At the time, the Malaysian Government justified the killings that Ibrahim Libya committed subversive acts and preached deviant Islamic teachings.
The charges were later varied - as-syahid[religious struggle] was purported to be subversive with intent to cause public disorder.
The late Ibrahim Libya was born in 1944 during the Japanese Occupation Of Malaya in Kampung Carok Putih nearby Kampung Memali.
He was schooled by his father, a well peer respected man in Islamic and religious education in his village.
Ibrahim continued his Islamic studies in India, Egypt and Libya and on completion returned home in 1970.
He served in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO/JPM) as a preacher in Pusat Islam (Islamic Center). His religious talks accorded him popularity as a religious speaker and he became a regular over RTM1 [Radio Television Malaysia 1].
He then left JPM [PMO] and worked as a preacher with the Libyan Government. On completion of his services he reurned to his village, Kampung Memali.
A religious school, madrasah, was started for Ibrahim and he commenced thereon with his religious teaching. His competency soon earned him wide acclaim and he gave talks through the length and breadth of Kedah.
On joining PAS Ibrahim Libya stood for local parliamentary elections in 1978 in Bayu, a constituency in Baling District.
He obtained 5,081 votes against 6,169 of his BN opponent. In the subsequent election in the same consituency he contested again but lost.
Ibrahim Libya posed a threat to "particular figures" worrried over his rising popularity. Left unchecked he could pose serious threats to them.
According to Senator Yusuf Husin, whom this writer met several years back, Ibrahim Libya became a threat to the Government as his cogent speeches moved listeners for changes in national leadership.
Ibrahim Libya became a thorn in the side of Malaysian Government leaders and which prompted the call for his detention under Akta Keselamatan Negeri/ISA [Internal Security Act]. Had the ISA not been forced on Ibrahim Libya, he might have cooperated with the Authorities provided there was due process of law.
The Government's ISA stand drove Ibrahim resolute in his stand and he refused be coerced by draconian laws he regarded as an affront to human rights and values. His followers and his pupils stood similarly firm and solid to protect him.
Kampung Memali was surrounded by thousands of security forces to capture Ibrahim Libya and his followers.
On 19 November 1985 Ibrahim Libya and his followers were martyred as they fell from the assault by Malaysian security forces.
Amongst those alive today under detention included Yusuf Husin.
Ibrahim Libya and 13 others who fell endure as symbols of unrelenting struggles against the ISA.
On the 25th anniversary of the Memali tragedy, Ahmad Lutfi Othman in his editorial wrote:
"He (Read: Ibrahim Libya) fought against the ISA not in memoranda and demonstrations but by putting his life on the line. This is the most esteemed record in the struggle against ISA."
Aptly put Ahmad Lufti euologized Ibrahim Libya's and his followers' sacrifices in steadfastly refusing to be cowed and which symbolized Malaysian citizens unrelenting struggle against the ISA.
One day, if the ISA is abolished a muzium should commemorate these Memali martyrs to remind future generations that the ISA not only robs the freedom of thousands from due legal process. It does and extinguishes lives.
On a personal note I look upon the Memali Tragedy as unfinished bizness.
The result of such investigation should be told to Malaysians and the culprits directly responsible in this merciless acts be properly tried in a court of law.
Twenty six years after this blood letting historical event, the tragedy of Memali should be remembered. Annually throughout the year visitors streamed into the place to see for themselves the remnants of events past that remind them of the Memali tragedy.
Such was the heroism of Ibrahim Libya and his 13 followers. Salute to those martyrs. Salute because they fought against ISA. And Salute to the brave kampung folks of Memali. +
Part 2 | Part 3
(From the Malay by Amin Iskandar, Translation by Salak)
Amin Iskandar was awarded the "Intelektual Awam Asia" (Asia Public Intellectual) 2009-10 for his studies on monitoring general elections in the Philippines and Indonesia. Amin blogs at www.aminiskandar.net and tweets at www.twitter.com.