Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang has urged Gerakan Merah leader Mohd Ali Baharom to apologise after a news portal published a purported recording of the latter making a threat against Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah.
Taking to Twitter, Tan said Mohd Ali, better known as Ali Tinju, should apologise to Maria.
“If you have the courage to make a threat, then you have to be brave enough to accept the consequences. Don’t become a coward and say ‘misquoted’. It is embarrassing.
“It is better to retract the threat and apologise. Be a man and own up,” he added.
Tan said instead of issuing threats to Bersih over its plan to hold a street rally on Nov 19, alternatives should be provided such as his suggestion that the rally be held in a stadium.
News portal FMT published the recording after Mohd Ali claimed he was misquoted regarding the threat, which is now being investigated by the police.
“I am innocent. I did not finish my sentence (and the media) does not possess any recording or video which quoted me issuing such (threats),” he told The Sun newspaper.
“My comments were not a criminal threat… I will not retract my statement and there is no need for me to apologise,” he added.
The recording is just over five-minutes long, and was posted on the portal’s Youtube account, as well as its website. Also posted on the website is a transcript of the phone conversation.
In the audio recording however, a man purported to be Mohd Ali can be heard saying that he would ‘ambush’ Maria, but was coy on whether the ambush would take the form of another round of calisthenics, or other forms.
However, he said he doesn’t not mind if this means he would spend 10 years in prison.
As the journalist pressed the issue, Ali purportedly replied in Malay that he fears that Maria would soon ‘no longer walk on this earth’.
A translated excerpt from FMT’s transcript is as follows:
Journalist: Maria said that if you perform waist exercise, she would offer you water. Can I get your comments?
Ali Tinju: She has to remember, that I fear that she would not walk on this earth later. These are the words of a former soldier. Don’t challenge us or we will put her legs upwards, and her head under the road.
Journalist: You mean like carrying a corpse?
Ali Tinju: You will see what happens soon.
Journalist: Are you afraid of prison, or action from the police?
Ali Tinju: Never mind. It is the court that passes sentences and not her, but Maria will be held responsible for everything.
Journalist: (You mean) she would have what’s coming for her?
Ali Tinju: Even if she has 10 commandos, 10 bodyguards, her bodyguards will fall. This is an ambush.
Journalist: So you are issuing a warning to Maria to be careful?
Ali Tinju: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Don’t play a hero to stir trouble in this country. We will fight it to the end.