KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad predicted bigger and more violent Bersih rallies, the High Court heard.
The former prime minister admitted saying this in his personal blog posting in 2012 that Bersih rallies held after Bersih 3.0 on April 25, 2012, would be more violent.
Dr Mahathir was testifying in the trial of former Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah’s suit against Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, for linking Bersih 2.0 with the Islamic State terror group.
He had, in his blog, said that the opposition was contemplating creating chaos through violent demonstrations if it lost the 13th General Election and that the country would suffer from violent demonstrations frequently.
“It was my opinion at that time,” he said during examination-in-chief by Jamal’s counsel Mohammed Nasser Yusof.
Later when asked by Maria’s counsel, N. Surendran, on whether he had changed his opinion about Bersih 2.0, Dr Mahathir said his views did change after participating in the Bersih 4 and Bersih 5 mass rallies held in August 2015 and in November 2016 respectively.
“After participating in the Bersih 5 rally, I found that they did not create chaos to the point that they picked up rubbish.
“I found that the situation was calm,” he said.
When re-examined by Nasser, Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, said he found that organisers and participants did not show any tendency towards violence.
Trial continues tomorrow before judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Abdul Wahab.
Maria, 60, filed a suit against Jamal on Oct 7, 2016, for alleging that the electoral watchdog had been infiltrated by the terrorist group.
She claimed that Jamal, who is also chairman of the Coalition of Malay Non-Governmental Organisations, had allegedly uttered the defamatory statements on two occasions.
The first instance allegedly occurred outside Putra World Trade Centre on Sept 28, 2016, while the second was at the Federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman on Oct 4 of the same year.
She claimed that the defamatory words, which were published in newspapers and online news portals, implied that she was abetting the terrorist group and was an agent of IS.