(Malaysiakini) Batu Buruk clash: Hadi blames Umno

Bede Hong
Sep 17, 07

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has pointed the finger at Umno for last weekend’s violence which rocked Kuala Terengganu.
The former Terengganu menteri besar accused the ruling party of working in cahoots with the police in what has been described as a clash between opposition supporters and the police.

The violence, which left several people, including policemen, injured, erupted in Pantai Batu Burok following the police’s refusal to grant a permit for a public forum. The forum was organised by the opposition-backed election watchdog Bersih.
Two men also suffered gunshot wounds after a police personnel fired four shots. The police claimed that he had acted in self-defence but an eyewitness provided a different account.
“I am certain of the involvement of a third party,” stressed Hadi during an interview with Malaysiakini at his residence in Kuala Terengganu last week.
“This third party had planned to worsen things so that they could take advantage of the situation,” he added.
According to Hadi, he was sure that the third party was Umno. “We obtained information that there was a plan to cause trouble so that it becomes an issue,” he alleged.
Until that fateful Saturday night, the PAS president, who is former Terengganu mentri besar, said the party’s relationship with the state police had been good.
Two weeks before the incident, the PAS leadership and senior state police officials, including Terengganu police chief SAC I Ayub Yaakob, held a meeting.
“We received good cooperation from the police. This is why I am sure that the incident at Batu Buruk was planned separately,” said Hadi.
“That is why we are calling for an independent investigation to find out what actually happened and to discover the hidden hand behind all this,” he added.
Growing influence
Hadi claimed that the government, especially Umno, was concerned about the opposition party’s growing influence in the state. PAS had captured Terengganu in the 1999 elections but the state fell into the hands of Umno again in 2004.
“I predicted that they (the government) would do something because they were worried. (In Rusila, two weeks before) thousands had gathered and cars were parked for miles. That is why they were worried. So the forum organised by Bersih became the target for this plan,” he said.
Hadi expressed sadness that the alleged Umno plan also involved police officers, but on the same note, added, “You must understand that not all police officers are with the Barisan (Nasional) government. There are police officers who are PAS members. So it is easy for us to obtain information.”
The PAS president claimed that upon receiving information that those present at Batu Buruk would be ‘provoked’, PAS members were advised not to start any trouble.