Exactly a year Tun Dr. Mahathir was attacked in Kota Bahru

At 11.00 am today, it was exactly a year ago former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was spray attacked in the Enterprise, at the doorsteps of Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Kota Bahru, Kelantan. He had just stepped out on the main doors into an eager awaiting crowd and the moment he stepped into the Enterprise to speak to the 1,000 odd crowd and press through the sunroof, someone had discharged an obnoxious gas spray which made him choking and left a burning sensation in the face.

Lucky it was a temporary sensation and an hour later, he and the others who were affected had recovered.

It was supposed to be an impromptu affair, much like six days earlier when arrived at Bunga Mawar Terminal, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport, Subang from London, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was asked to address an eager crowd. And he did and everyone felt good as Tun Dr. Mahathir felt appreciated and welcomed and everyone else were acknowledged for their support of the former Prime Minister. However, in Kota Bahru, it turned ugly.

That fateful Friday morning, we arrived at the airport at 9.00am. Amongst those who waited to welcome him were Tan Sri Abdullah “Kok Lanas” Ahmad and former UMNO Supreme Council member Dato’ Ibrahim Ali. The crowd grew and some came with banners to welcome the statesman. Hundreds of t-shirts in support of Tun Dr. Mahathir were issued. Ibrahim’s man asked whether if the Enterprise would be made available so that Tun Dr. Mahathir could speak to the crowd upon arrival at circa 10.00am and it was agreed.

He was scheduled to give a talk in afternoon at the Perdana Hotel on current political issues even though it was canceled by the original organiser, Ex-BN representative association or Mubarak. Tan Sri Abdullah instead played host for the talk. In the evening, he was supposed to attend a dinner organised by Majlis Tindakan Rakyat Kelantan (MTRK) at The Grand Riverview Hotel. Ibrahim is the President of MTRK. It was a planned full day in Kota Bahru for him.

When Tun Dr. Mahathir arrived from Kuala Lumpur and came through the VIP gate, as usual, the eager supporters and well wishers tried to close in to catch a glimpse of the statesman and shake his hand if possible whilst he and Ibrahim tried to walk through the crowd to an awaiting Mitisubishi Pajero, the Enterprise. As he almost approached the back door to mount in, when a man in black jacket tried to stop him and the pushing started between the man, the security details and supporters like Ibrahim and several Pasir Mas UMNO people. That was when the gas first felt.

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Despite being pushed and caught in struggle in front of the rear door, Tun Dr. Mahathir finally managed to mount into the Enterprise and Ibrahim followed.

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When he was in the Enterprise, Ibrahim gave him a megaphone and asked him to stand from the backseat through the sunroof to address the now very excited awaiting crowd, just like he did six days earlier. And he did. He carved a very pleasant smile and started to wave at the crowd. That was the moment when the gas spray was released again and this him he was hit.

 

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Tun Dr. Mahathir was in so much discomfort and had difficulty to breathe that he fell to the back seat and took off his glasses. Within a blink of an eye, he was yanked out of the Enterprise by his long time bodyguard, Ismail Manaf and was carried together with his P.A. Sufi Yusof to an awaiting car parked next to the Enterprise for immediate evacuation.

 

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Another blog also captured the episode. A police report later was made by Ibrahim at the Kota Bahru Police District HQ. By day’s end, six people were picked up by the Police and a day later, a total of eight person were arrested for the spray attack incident. Eventually, one person were produced in front of a Magistrate and a remand order was obtained for the Police to facilitate the investigation further.

Tun Dr. Mahathir was taken to Renaissance Hotel where he rested for a while and recovered from the spray attack. By 1.00pm, he had fully recovered and left the hotel for Friday prayers with Tan Sri Abdullah, Tan Sri Mohamad Yaacob, the former Menteri Besar and Ibrahim. This time, the security details were much swifter, tighter and more Police personnel were issued to escort him, including the local UTK unit.

After lunch, he did give a talk to a very eager crowd, mostly UMNO supporters at Perdana Hotel in the afternoon, as planned. This was a landmark speech indeed where for the first time he mentioned the involvement of the ‘first family’; son and son-in-law, in various decision making process and made by the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He also took a swipe at Riong Kali.

Eventually, one man was charged for the spray attack at the Kota Bahru Magistrate Court under Section 324 of the Penal Code for causing hurt using obnoxious material to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and three others. Dato’ Nik Sapiea Nik Yusof, a local businesman was charged and the trial started in early April this year. Tun Dr. Mahathir appeared as a witness at the trial on 6 May 2007 and said this in court.

For 22 1/3 years, Tun Dr. Mahathir as the Prime Minister moved freely amongst the people, shaking too many hands in far too many places and events and never once something like this had ever remotely come close. The motive of the spray attack is believed to be politically motivated.

Personally, to witness the spray attack on Tun Dr. Mahathir and saw him suffered in very close proximity was a ghastly unimaginable experience which traumatised me for quite a bit. What made the episode more ugly was the attack was planned and mounted by a citizen of this state and country.

Was it desperate enough that some quarters had to resort to this stunt in attempt of stopping the well respected statesman to speak his mind? God help us all!

Published in: on July 28, 2007 at 00:23  Comments (6)