Violence ensues as flares, shoes flung at Mahathir forum

Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum when shoes and a bottle were thrown at him, allegedly by three teens.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad was speaking at the Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum when shoes and a bottle were thrown at him, allegedly by three teens.PHOTO: STAR TV SCREENGRAB

SHAH ALAM • Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was rushed out of a public hall yesterday where he had been speaking against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, after shoes and a water bottle were thrown at him, according to Malaysian media reports.

The Nothing To Hide 2.0 forum that was supposed to feature a no-holds-barred session with Tun Dr Mahathir, 92, was suspended as he and other opposition leaders were escorted out.

Unknown individuals at the event, mostly attended by opposition supporters, also threw chairs at the stage and fired two flares.

This led to a brawl between the attackers and opposition supporters, The Star newspaper reported.

The incident occurred midway through the event, when Dr Mahathir was on stage and answering a question from the floor.

Dr Mahathir had earlier fired his usual verbal salvos against Mr Najib. The Premier had been invited to defend himself at the event in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state, but did not turn up.

A bottle was suddenly flung from the crowd towards the stage, The Star reported.

The Malaysian Insight news site also reported that shoes were thrown on stage.

The brawl continued outside the meeting hall.

Shah Alam police told The Straits Times that three teenagers aged between 17 and 19 were nabbed by civilians and handed over to the police. They are college students.

A youth leader of Dr Mahathir's opposition party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, said the alleged attackers were wearing its T-shirts that had been distributed for free earlier.

Bersatu's youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, as quoted by Malaysiakini news site as saying: "There was a systematic element of sabotage... We believe it was meant to sabotage this programme and hurt Mahathir."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'Violence ensues as flares, shoes flung at Mahathir forum'. Print Edition | Subscribe