Marina apologises for attributing Dr M’s threat to Ghazali
FMT Reporters – February 3, 2022 3:25 PM
PETALING JAYA: Marina Mahathir has apologised for an error in her recent column in The Sunday Star where she wrongly attributed a “shoot to kill” threat made regarding Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s to the then home minister Ghazali Shafie.
The “shoot to kill” threat was reported in the media to have been actually made by then deputy prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, her father.
In her column dated Jan 30, she said, among other things: “I’ve been through embarrassing moments abroad when our politicians have said something stupid and then tried to cover it up. In the late 70s when we had many Vietnamese refugees landing on our shores, our then home minister announced that we would shoot any that washed up on our beaches.
“Predictably, outrage ensued around the world. He then gave the standard politician’s excuse, that he was misquoted, that he actually said he would ‘shoo’ them away. Did anyone believe it?”
In a Facebook post today, Marina thanked all those who had pointed out the “major factual mistake” in her column.
“It seems that I’m capable of making my own gaffes so I stand corrected and sincerely apologise.
“It was not meant to revise history, as some have alleged, it was wholly the weak memory of something that happened when I was barely out of my teens and still trying to make sense of the world.
“I unreservedly apologise to anyone I have hurt or offended by this mistake,” she said.
However, she did not name either Ghazali or Mahathir in her statement of apology.
Received via WhatsApp.
What Kee Thuan Chye wrote:
Is Marina Mahathir confusing us to protect her father or did she commit the writer’s cardinal sin of failing to do proper research? In her column today, she alleges that in the 1970s, the home minister of that time threatened to SHOOT Vietnamese refugees who attempted to land on our shores. She is patently wrong! It wasn’t the home minister who said that. It was the deputy prime minister — none other than her father, Mahathir Mohamad!
I was working for The National Echo then, and I wrote an editorial slamming Mahathir for saying something so brutal and unbecoming of a country’s DPM.
My friend Rajan Moses covered that very press conference in which Mahathir issued that threat and he has corroborated that what Marina wrote is “bullshit”.
It’s very clear. Marina should issue an apology to the late home minister, Ghazali Shafie, for putting her father’s words in the latter’s mouth. — Kee Thuan Chye
Malaysia, in Clarification, Says It Will Not Shoot Refugees
By William Chapman June 19, 1979
The Malaysian government assured the world tonight it would neither shoot Vietnamese refugees nor evict them from camps, but warned other countries it is losing patience with the slow pace of resettlement.
Attempting to clarify reports that had caused a worldwide alarm, Malaysian officials insisted there had been no drastic change in policy but emphasized they will continue to block landings by new refugees.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, Prime Minister Datuk Hussein Onn declared: “I wish to state that our measures to prevent further inflow of the boat people do not include shooting them.”
But he said that if the refugees are not eventually settled in third countries, Malaysia will either force those sheltered here back into the sea on boats or leave them “to rot” in their camps.
His statement contradicted the assertion last Friday by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Mahathir Mohammed who, according to several news agencies, threatened that new refugees would be shot and that the estimated 75,000 in camps here would be put back to sea. He also was reported to have said that Malaysia is building a fleet of boats to faciliate the refugees’ expulsion.
Over the weekend, government forces turned back 500 refugees attempting to land, carrying out a get tough policy adopted last February to prevent Malaysian camps from being swamped by a rising tide of drifting boat people.
The action reflected the hardening attitude of Southeast Asian countries toward the refugees who have been streaming out of Indochina in recent months. Indonesia ordered security forces to prevent entry to all incoming Vietnamese. Thailand has pushed thousands of fleeing Cambodians back across the border to face an uncertain fate. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Mahathir’s declaration last Friday that new refugees would be shot on sight had seemed to be the most drastic of the latest plans to repel refugees.
In a long, rambling news conference, Home Minister Tan Sri Ghazali Shafie at first said the deputy prime minister had merely threatened to “shoo” the new refugees away, not to “shoot” them.
SHOOT ON SIGHT: Rules of engagement should not hinder our men
July 24, 2014 @ 8:05am AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to WhatsAppShare to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to LinkedInShare to More
I AM in much sympathy with Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, the Royal Malaysian Navy chief, when he voiced that Malaysian security forces be given the right to shoot on sight to prevent terrorists entering Malaysia from southern Philippines.
Our prime minister has advised that there must be standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent possible abuses of such rights and to put in better guarantees to safeguard the innocents. The SOPs are now being compiled.
It is hoped that the SOPs will not inhibit our Armed Forces’ task to prevent the infiltration of undesirable elements into our country. More importantly, they should not be used by our politicians and global human rights activists to put forward accusations of “abuses” of human rights when carrying out their responsibilities.
There may be some benefits for a nation to make drastic threats against certain sources of challenges which could negatively impact the nation’s wellbeing.
One may recall that in mid-1979, the then deputy prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had publicly threatened to “shoot on sight” Vietnamese refugees who tried to land in Malaysia. Our country was then experiencing a huge burden of having to provide shelter for the hundreds of refugees troubled by war in their homeland in which Malaysia did not have any involvement. The threat had the desired impact as it jolted the main players in the Vietnam war, the United States and South Vietnamese governments, as they scampered out of their complacency and sought alternative shelters and other means to reduce the burden on the Malaysian government.
Perhaps the threat of “shoot on sight” now will have a similar desired impact — jolt the Philippines government out of its stupor and do more to pacify its troubled south and contain the threats posed by its citizens to their southern neighbour.
The proposed SOP governing the shoot on sight policy must not, therefore, “tie the hands” of our Armed Forces from carrying out their responsibility to safeguard Malaysians.
Syed Azauddin,Gombak, Selangor