KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police on Friday (Jan 26) questioned Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, the 91-year-old wife of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, over a speech she gave at a women’s rally against “toxic politics” last year.
This was the first time the soft-spoken, low-key medical doctor had “ever been questioned” by the police, according to her lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.
“She is being investigated under Section 9 of the Peaceful Assembly Act for a speech she made at the Purple Walk last year on Sep 10,” said Haniff after the questioning, which took place at the Al-Bukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur (KL), also Dr Mahathir’s office.
“She was questioned for an hour-and-a-half. We don’t know whether there will be further questioning by the police. Neither do we know whether there will be any charges brought against her,” Haniff added.
The Purple Walk drew about 1,000 women, who rallied at Maju Junction in downtown KL. A report was lodged against Siti Hasmah on the same day.
Both her lawyer and her daughter, Marina Mahathir, viewed the questioning as “some kind of harassment".
“I think this is some kind of harassment. They (police) asked whether she organised the rally. She did not,” said Marina.
“They are picking on her," the 60-year-old added.
Lawyer Haniff said if the police wanted to find out what Siti Hasmah had said, they could have just viewed a clip of her speech, which was uploaded on YouTube.
“There was no need to question a 91-year-old elderly citizen like this. It could have been viewed on YouTube,” he said.