TRAGEDY                    A REPORT             THE NATIONAL               OPERATIONS                  COUNCILKUALA LUMPUR...
May 13, 1969 will go down in our history as a dayof national tragedy. On that day the very foundationof this Nation was sh...
The General Elections went off smoothly and thematurity in their activities. I t does not take much to                    ...
and economic conditions of our people and which is                                                    CONTENTSbased on an ...
INTRODUCTION16.   Rumours and the Unexpected         ...   58                                                      The obj...
Part One          AN  HISTORICALBACKGROUND
ONE           PRE-WAR MALAYAN SOCIETY   The present multi-racial character of the country isthe direct result o British ec...
The Chinese in Malaya were not without "political        effects upcm the Malay political position. The authorityconscious...
TWO                                                           Sultans s o as t o conclude with each State Ruler, on       ...
understanding that this Federation would constitute astep towards self-government. The United Malay Na-                   ...
and offensive attitude. For virtually three months, between the Japanese surrender and effective British                  ...
numbers of Chinese and Indians sought to leave the                                                             FIVEcountry...
during the Confrontation. Maoist agents   mounted an intensive propaganda campaign in   favour of the eleven condemned Chi...
SIX         UNCERTAINTY AND MISTRUST  Sino-Malay distrust runs like a thread through thenations recent history. Racial inc...
the participants promptly furled their flags and                                                        SEVENproceeded to ...
the Chinese group met them with parangs, stones                                                          EIGHTand bottles....
The assault on the Malay worker, who was an                                                              NINEofficial of t...
It is interesting at this point to compare the allega-                     Edllcation Oficerstions with statistics of seni...
the countrys economic life, now began to feel a threat                                                         TENto their...
A definite link has been established between secret                                                    ELEVENsocieties and...
These elements defied Police instruction and orga-nised a large parade in which an estimated number of ten                ...
sin? (Malays get out-why do you remain herz) andpolicemen as they passed the Travers Road Police           "Kita hentam lu...
A short while later while P.C. 27596 was on duty at        Annuar bin Abbas, a watchman at the Majlis  Jalan Pasar Baru, P...
MARA will be dissolved!). Abdul Wahid bin Haji               Several other processions of this nature took placeEbon who w...
THIRTEEN                                                 kangaroo courts, swept the Malay community in the                ...
FOURTEEN                                                      "On getting the Menteri Besars agreement I told             ...
Sunday, 11th May, 1969 a t about 1900 hours, I returned themselves, I agreed t o take part and lead the proces-to my resid...
FIFTEEN                                                        taken very much aback by what were said by the             ...
Some students from MARA College also joined              In his statement, Assistant Commissioner Zamani, the gathering ou...
stones at shop-houses on both sides of the road and       I   direction of Setapak town. The screens of both carssmashing ...
I t is clear, then, that at that time the trouble had        to arm themselves. By the time they returned tonot yet broken...
By about 1850 hours I saw about two hundred to            their secbnd floor windows whereupon some membersthree hundred M...
back with them. At this time the curfew had not yetbeen imposed. In this way excitement and frenzy were         Thus, at a...
At this time someone shouted the sighting of a land                         from Kampong Pandan Dalam. He tried           ...
SIXTEEN                                                      by which time three persons were already dead along          ...
and to cancel the licence at that stage would inevitably     some Chinese crowds-an attitude nurtured by irres-precipitate...
May 13 report
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May 13 report

  1. 1. TRAGEDY A REPORT THE NATIONAL OPERATIONS COUNCILKUALA LUMPUR OCTOBER, 1969~ T H
  2. 2. May 13, 1969 will go down in our history as a dayof national tragedy. On that day the very foundationof this Nation was shaken by racial disturbances whoseviolence far surpassed any we had known. It was onlythe firm and prompt action of the Government, togetherwith the loyal support of the Armed Forces and thePolice, which quickly brought the situation undercontrol. Had it not been for the immediate preventivemeasures, there is no doubt that the whole countrywould have been plunged into a holocaust. For some of us the tragedy has a direct and personalmeaning. But the significance of that day does not,and should not be allowed to, escape any one of us.On that day we were jolted into a sharp realisationthat the racial problem in this country is a serious oneand measures taken in the past to cope with it havenot woved adeauate. Friction had always existed at the edges of thevarious communities, but we continued to live in thehope that the heat generated would not reach anexplosive level. This faith in the good sense of everyMalaysian, and our belief in the virtues of unfettereddemocratic processes, characterised the conduct of ouraffairs since Merdeka. We assumed that those whochose t o participate in public life would understandthe delicate realities of our society and consequentlyrecognise the need for a certain degree of restraint and
  3. 3. The General Elections went off smoothly and thematurity in their activities. I t does not take much to Government was returned with a comfortable majority.realise that there are forces existing in our midst-the The Opposition parties were returned with a few addi-Communist agents, the secret societies, the communal tional seats. This unexpected success on their partextremists-who are out to disrupt our way of life fortheir own ends. unfortunately made some of them lose all sense of proporticm, and their members and supporters went I was deeply saddened, therefore, to see the turn of on a rampage of insults and obscenities. What startedevents preceding the last General Elections. All the as political activity was allowed to deteriorate intodestructive forces were out: candidates courting support race-bai ting.on racial lines with reckless abandon; Communistagents in the Labour Party turning a funeral into an This Report lays out the facts on the disturbancesarrogant Maoist slogan-shouting demonstration; and which broke out on May 13. I t outlines the historicalsecret society members working with quiet but deadly background of the mood of the people on that day;efficiency in generating fear, inciting racial feelings and it relates the day of tragedy and the role played by thedistributing weapons. These three ingredients made an Armed Forces and the Police in quelling the distur-explosive combination, and the Government sought to bances and returning the country under the fr control imseparate them and did everything possible to avert of the Government; and, finally, it points to the direc-bloodshed. tion that the Nation should take. During the campaign a number of Opposition The lesson of the recent disturbances is clear. Thiscandidates attacked the Constitution in racialist terms. Nation cannot afford to perpetuate a system that per-They twisted and misrepresented certain provisions in mits anybody to say or do things which would setthe Constitution, principally Articles 152 and 153. They one race against another. If the events of May 13agitated for the removal of Article 153 which provides are not to occur again, if this Naticm is t o survive,safeguards for the special position of the Malays. This we must make sure that subjects which are likely tocaused grave misapprehensions among the Malays. engender racial tensions are not exploited by irres-Malay extremist candidates, on the other hand. ponsible opportunists. We can only guarantee this bycampaigned on the most far-out and impracticable placing such subjects beyond the reach of race proposals--of having a purely Malay Government- demagogues, the C m u n i s t s and other subversives. ignoring the multi-racial realities o our society and f We need, therefore, to construct a political framework thereby caused much worry among the non-Malays. which is realistic and takes full account of the social
  4. 4. and economic conditions of our people and which is CONTENTSbased on an unshakable and sound foundation. This Report has been prepared with the full realisa-tion that important matters must no longer be sweptunder the carpet and that the facts of May 13 shouldbe made known to the public. Furthermore, it hasbeen written with the conviction that the objective ofnational unity must be confronted squarely, and the PART ONE-AN HISTORICALalternatives before us decided upon sincerely and BACKGROUNDcourageously. The course of our Nation so charted 1. Pre-war Malayan Society ...must be pursued with the united efforts of all loyal 2. Post-war British Policy ...Malaysians resolutely, with courage and confidence. 3. MPAJA Terror ... ... It is intended after the publication of this Report toinvite representatives of various groups in the country- 4. The 1948 Emergency ... ...political, religious, economic and others-to serve on 5. Communist Comeback ...a Consultative Council, where issues affecting ournational unity will be discussed fully and frankly. In PARTTwo--THE TRAGEDYthis way it is hoped t o reach an understanding and 6. Uncertainty and Mistrust ...agreement on these national issues that would ensurethe future peace, security and unity of our country and 7. Island Confrontation ...that the May 13 tragedy would not recur. 8. Petty Argument ... ... I ask every citizen to give serious thought to this 9. Racial Politics ... ...objective so that Malaysia will continue to prosper 10. Secret Societies and Politics ... 11. Engineered Tension ... ... 13. "Victory" Marches ... ... 13. Defiance ... ... ... T m HAJI ABDULRAZAK HUSSEIN, BIN 14. Reaction ... ... ... ... 38 Director of Operdions 15. May 13 ... ... ... ... 42 vii
  5. 5. INTRODUCTION16. Rumours and the Unexpected ... 58 The object of this Report is t o reveal the known17. Joint Operations ... ... ... 64 facts leading to, and connected with, the racial dis-18. Coloured Reports and the Facts ... 67 turbances which broke out on May 13, 1969 in Kuala19. Foreign Press and the Maoists ... 71 Lumpur. PARTTHREE-THE TASKS The eruption of violence on May 13 was the result AHEAD of an inter-play of forces that comprise the countrys recent histay. These include a generation gap and20. The Barriers ... ... ... ... 77 differences in interpretation of the constitutional21. The Choices ... .. . ... ... 80 structure by the different races in the country, and22. Constitutional Democracy and Natio- consequently the growing political encroachment of the nal Identity ... .. . .. . ... 82 immigrant races against certain important provisions of the Constitution which relate to the Malay language and the position of the Malays, principally Articles 152 and 153; the incitement, intemperate statements and provocative behaviour of certain racialist party members and supporters during the recent General Elections; the part played by the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and secret societies in inciting racial feelings and suspicion; and the anxious, and later desperate. mood of the Malays with a background of Sino-Malay distrust, and recently, just after the General Elections, as a result of racial insults and threats to their future survival and well-being in their own country.
  6. 6. Part One AN HISTORICALBACKGROUND
  7. 7. ONE PRE-WAR MALAYAN SOCIETY The present multi-racial character of the country isthe direct result o British economic policy before the fwar which encouraged mass non-Malay immigration.The Chinese and Indian immigrants, during that time,were regarded as transient workers and their flow intothe country, and departure, fluctuated with Malayaseconomic fortunes. However, they became settled com-munities in the country by the fourth decade of thiscentury. Malayas vast economic potential and trheliberal, tolerant attitude of the Malays, exploited by thecolonial government, caused an influx of Chinese andIndian immigrants, and mass immigration continueduntil the thirties. A striking feature of the Malayan society at thattime (which continues today, slightly abated) was thevoluntary cultural segregation-while the Malays livedin a cultural milieu that institutionally continued in alocal context, there was no effort made by the colonialauthorities to orientate the increasing number of immi-grant races towards local institutions. Fm the mostpart, the immigrant races were administered indepen-dently and led an independent existence. This partlyexplains some current attitudes among certain sectionsof the non-Malay communities, and the difficultiesexperienced today in nation-building.
  8. 8. The Chinese in Malaya were not without "political effects upcm the Malay political position. The authorityconsciousness". Such political interests that moved of the Sultanate was being gradually eroded in themany of them were, however, externally inspired. They interest of a more central administration. However,played a part in, and contributed substantially to, like Malay nationalism before the Second World War lackedmost Nanyang Chinese of the time, the 1911 Revolution popular support and was not effective because of thein China. In 1912, the Kuomintang established a branch provincial attitude d most Malays then. Real politicalin Malaya. Shortly afterwards, other branches mush- awakening for the Malays came after the war.roomed, but they all went underground a few yearslater because of opposition from the colonial autho-rities. After 1933, the Kuomintang organisation fellunder strong communist influence and by 1926 thevolume o Chinese revolutionary propaganda in Malaya fwas found t o have increased considerably. Kuomintangactivities in Malaya reflected strikingly the developmentsin China. The year 1927 saw Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Sliekpurge the communists from the ranks of the Kuomjn-tang. This led the communist extremists in Malaya,with the assistance d five representatives of the ChineseCommunist Party who landed in Malaya at the end of1927, to break away from the central body and form anorganisation of their own. This was an important step, indeed a landmark, inthe development of the Chinese-dominated CommunistParty in Malaya. During the inter-war period, the Malays began torealise that the large numbers of immigrants, linkedwith British economic interests, were having adverse
  9. 9. TWO Sultans s o as t o conclude with each State Ruler, on behalf of His Majestys Government, a formal agree-POST-WAR BRITISH POLICY ment that would result in a Malayan Union. After the war, the British Government felt that their I n the face of this threat. Malay nationalism saw apolicy in Malaya had to be changed and brought up-to- sudden upsurge. The Malays, increasingly conscious ofdate in the interest o "modernisation". They attempted f their adverse economic condition, and of the competi-to unify the various Malay States and the Settlements tiveness of the politico-economic world around themof Penang and Malacca into a single Malayan Union created by the immigrant races, feared that they wouldin order to overcome what they believed t o be inefficient be economically swamped and politically overwhelmedpre-War administration of the separate Malay States. in their own country by non-Malays. The Malays "used to be poor men in a poor country, and now they wereThis scheme entailed the abandonment of the pre-War poor men in a rich country." and felt their very exis-policy of recognising the political identity of the Malays. tence jeopardised by this threat to their politicalIt involved two elements : firstly, the administrative survival. Inspired by the examples of Asian nationalismstructure was to be unified at the expense of the around them, especially in Indonesia and India, thesovereignty of the Malay Rulers; secondly, the Malays Malays were determined to resist the British scheme t owould lose their pre-War position and their political create a "Malayan Union". The Malays feared a ruleidentity as Malays, in that citizenship privileges would by the Chinese about whose loyalty to the country theybe available to everyone (with the exception of Japanese harboured certain doubts. As noted earlier, there wasnationals) regardless of race. Those born and resident an absence of identification of the immigrant races within the Malayan Union would belong to a common the local culture. T o the Malays, loyalty t o Sultan andpolitical category. The British White Paper on the country was something traditional; to the Chinese, assubject explained, inter-din, "a stage is now being seen by the Malays. "loyalty" was political loyalty toreached for the system of government [in Malaya] to be the State-related to citizenship, political gain andsimplified and reformed." domination. As a result of widespread opposition by the Malays, Sir Harold MacMichael. Special Representative of the Malayan Union Plan was abandoned in 1948. ~h~the British Government, was Sent to Malaya for the - MacMichael Treaties were scraD~ed and in their place Lpurpose of getting approval of Their Highnesses the was established a Federation of Malaya with the
  10. 10. understanding that this Federation would constitute astep towards self-government. The United Malay Na- THREEtional Organisation (UMNO), the party that fought theMacMichael Plan, was the symbol of Malay solidarity. MPAJA TERRORThis party agreed in principle to grant rights of citizen- Shortly before Singapore fell to the Japanese duringship to non-Malays who were genuinely loyal t o the the early part of the Second World War Malayan Com-country and prepared to swear allegiance to it. Despite munist Party (MCP) guerillas, who had received athis agreement to grant citizenship rights, there was certain amount of British training, were placed inwidespread dissatisfaction among the immigrant races position on the mainland a s a resistance force againstas they considered this concession was inadequate. the Japanese occupation. These guerillas later raised resistance units which they called "the independent regiments of the Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army" (MPAJA). This organisation was Chinese-dominated, and later on in the course of the Occupation, was swelled by other resistance groups. As guerillas, the MPAJA posed no serious threat to the Japanese. Despite the outward show of co-operation with the allies, the MCP was making preparations for developing the MPAJA as a permanent armed force to seize power in Malaya after the Japanese defeat by the allies. After the Japanese surrender, the MCP and the MPAJA came into the open and assumed control of the country. When they emerged from the jungles in July, 1945, they mounted a large-scale persecution of the people, whom they accused of having committed "crimes against the people", in addition to collaborating with the Japanese regime. The appearance of armed Chinese in the MPAJA uniform stirred certain sections of the Chinese com- munity into taking, what the Malays felt, an arrogant
  11. 11. and offensive attitude. For virtually three months, between the Japanese surrender and effective British FOUR take-over, they held kangaroo courts, committedatrocities, executed many Malays and Chinese and THE 1948 EMERGENCYterrorised the population wherever they held sway. The Chinese-dominated Malayan Communist PartyDuring the brief period of the MPAJA ascendancy the started an insurrection at the end of the Second Worldtorture and killing of large numbers of innocent Malays War with the object of overthrowing authority andbecame an episode that indelibly imprinted in Malay taking over the country. T o cope with this threat, anminds the dangers of Chinese ascendancy. These events Emergency was declared on 20th June. 1948. This out-culminated in the outbreak of widespread and serious break of communist violence, a naked attempt a t seizingclashes when the Malays retaliated against the Chinese power, was inspired and directed by the Corninform.in rural areas. This insurrection was skilfully and chauvinistically presented, and not surprisingly large sections of the Chinese community responded. On the other hand the ranks of the security forces were drawn mainly from the Malays. The Malays, therefore, identified Com- munist terrorism as a Chinese threat. The Chinese, on the other hand, having chosen to remain culturally separate, felt little attachment to the country. This made the Chinese, in the eyes of the Malays, suspect. The Government, meanwhile. realised that the population had to be welded into a single Malayan nation in order to resist the threat from the Communist Chinese. The mass media were extensively used to propagate the concept of a single Malayan nation. The success of this was initially limited. Between 1949 and 1951, the efforts of the colonial government t o attract the Chinese into joining the Police met with little success : only 200 Chinese youths came forward. When .National Service was introduced in 1950 considerable
  12. 12. numbers of Chinese and Indians sought to leave the FIVEcountry. Between February and August 1951, over10,000 Chinese youths fled to China to avoid the call-up. COMMUNIST COMEBACKThis further added to the disillusionment of the Malaysand attracted a certain amount of official comment. Since it was driven underground several years ago,The late Sir Henry Gurney observed, the Malayan Communist Party had remained dormant as a militant force. Its members had not, however, given "A feeling of resentment is growing among all up hope of seizing power. I n recent years they have the other communities of the apparent reluctance of quietly been re-organising themselves for a political the Chinese to help. These people (the Chinese) live come-back. MCP activities show a definite strategy: to comfortably and devote themselves wholly to making weaken the nation by exploiting every sensitive and money. . . . 9, divisive issue, mainly economic and racial, in the cou.ntry in a long-term "softening-up" process. Follow- In 1952, the next attempt to recruit 2,000 Chinese ing are some examples :youths did not succeed despite an offer by the MalayanChinese Association (MCA) to donate between $50 and (i> In 1967 when the old currency was devalued, $300 t o every Chinese recruit during his period of known Maoist agents exploited the issue bytraining. This should not, however, detract from the spreading anti-devaluation propaganda, con-fact that several thousand Chinese &om all walks of ducting illegal demonstrations and fomentinglife, particularly those from the MCA and the public discontent. They chose Penang as their targetservices, stood h s t by Government and contributed because of the sensitive racial situation on thesignificantly towards the final outcome of the Emer- island. Their skilful exploitation of the situationgency. . precipitated widespread Sino-Malay clashes on 24th November, 1967, resulting in the death of several persons. Many more were injured, and several houses and vehicles were burnt. Following these incidents, suspicion and uneasi- ness lingered on for a long time. (ii) In the middle of 1968, thirteen Malaysian saboteurs-two Malays and eleven Chinese- were sentenced to death for treasonable acts
  13. 13. during the Confrontation. Maoist agents mounted an intensive propaganda campaign in favour of the eleven condemned Chinese by selectively inciting racial passions and humani- tarian feelings. So effective was the propaganda campaign that it not only aroused local Chinese support but also attracted international sym- pathy. Apart from appeals from local com- Part Two munity leaders, His Holiness the Pope cabled the R i m e Minister, on humanitarian grounds. for the lives of the condemned men. Feelings in Malaysia were running high, and serious racial clashes were only obviated through the efforts of the Prime Minister who obtained the THE TRAGEDY consent of Their Royal Highnesses the Sultans of Johore and Perak to commute the death sentence of all thirteen prisoners t o life imprisonment.(iii) On 24th April, 1969, about a fcrtnight before the General Elections, an UMNO party worker in Penang was murdered by subversive elements. These elements with known Macist links were then actively agitating for a boycott of the General Elections. Racial tension was generated to a dangerous level, and a serious clash was averted at the last moment when UMNO leaders instructed their supporters to bury the dead man quietly and in a dignified manner s o as to deny the Maoist elements o an oppor- f tunity to precipitate a racial clash.
  14. 14. SIX UNCERTAINTY AND MISTRUST Sino-Malay distrust runs like a thread through thenations recent history. Racial incidents of various typeshave been catalogued. The pattern that emerges indi-cates that the major incidents normally took place inChinese-dominated areas with strong secret societyorganisations and most of these incidents inevitablybegan with a secret society/Malay hoodlums clash. When the United Kingdom Government decided tobestow City status on Penang, an atmosphere ofuncertainty and mistrust between the Chinese and theMalays was already prevailing. The British Governmentdecision had a mixed reception. The Penang UMNOdecided, for political reasons, not to participate in thecentenary and City-status celebrations. As a result,rumours were rife in Georgetown that the Malayswould intercept and attempt to disperse the procession. The procession started at 10.30 on the morning of2nd January, 1957, without Malay participants. Arumour went down along the line of the processionthat there would be trouble. Shortly afterwards the policevehicle leading the procession was called away toinvestigate a report elsewhere. I t doubled back alongthe procession, and this was misinterpreted by theChinese participating in the procession as evidence ofa Malay attack further down the line. Many of
  15. 15. the participants promptly furled their flags and SEVENproceeded to break up a decorated float using thewood as weapons while others entered houses along ISLAND CONFRONTATIONthe procession route and armed themselves with meat Misunderstanding and animosity had always existedcleavers, hatchets and other weapons. between the Chinese and the Malays in Pangkor. The Police on duty then began to disperse the Chinese thugs, particularly the secret society elements,procession, as the situation was very tense. However, a and Malay hoodlums on the island who were knowngroup of about 50 Chinese while dispersing, chased to be collecting protection money, did not enjoy thesome Malays into an adjacent house. A Chinese best of relations.Inspector on duty who intervened to protect the Malays With this background, a fight took place betweenreceived head injuries from an axe and was forced a Chinese and a Malay youth following an argument atto open fire, killing one of the Chinese and wounding Sungai Pinang on 1st May, 1959. This led to aanother. The crowd eventually dispersed when the confrontation between the Chinese and Malays,Officer-in-Charge of the Police District (OCPD) arrived followed by a skirmish. Three Malays sustained injuriesat the scene with a Police party. and considerable damage was caused to property. Following the above, isolated incidents of assault and Shortly afterwards about twenty Malays armed withminor clashes were reported. Between 2nd and 8th daggers and parangs advanced towards a group ofJanuary, 1957 four persons were killed and 48 injured. about thirty Chinese who were also armed with assorted weapons, but the timely arrival of the police averted another clash. On 2nd May, 1959, the local Imam called for a meeting of the Malays at the mosque to plan protective measures. The Chinese, numbering about sixty, on seeing this quickly armed themselves with parangs, sharpened sticks and bottles, and began to gather menacingly about twenty yards from the mosque. The Malays, in turn, rushed to their homes, armed them- selves with parangs and returned to the mosque where
  16. 16. the Chinese group met them with parangs, stones EIGHTand bottles. In the midst of the clash, a Chinese kongsiin the vicinity was set on fire and completely gutted. PETTY ARGUMENTas were six Chinese houses near the mosque. Thisfurther angered the Chinese and they retaliated The racial disturbances in the Bukit Mertajam districtagainst the Malays resulting in the death of one Malay were sparked off as a result of a minor case of assaultand five others injured. The Chinese suffered one killed which took place at the Bukit Mertajam market onand two injured. Groups of secret society thugs roamed the morning of 11th July, 1964. A Malay marketthe island, attacking several Malays and causing employee was hit with a changkol by a 15-year-oldmuch property damage. Tension developed in towns Chinese vegetable vendor over a petty argument. Whenand villages in the vicinity of Pangkor but strong the Malay employee went to his superiors office toaction by the authorities prevented the situation from report the matter, about forty Chinese appeared. Threedeteriorating. of them entered the office and assaulted the market employee. - - Curfew was imposed on 3rd May. 1959, restricting Dissatisfied with police action following his reportpersons from leaving or entering the island of Pangkor. of the assault the Malay, accompanied by UMNOSeveral ring-leaders were arrested and a quantity of party officials, made various efforts to inform theassorted weapons recovered. Goodwill committees were Chairman of the District Council and the Districtformed and police patrols intensified. The Prime Officer about the incident, but both of them couldMinister, the Deputy Prime Minister and several not be located until ten oclock the following morningMinisters visited the island, and advised the residents when the employee managed to forward the ccmplaintto remain calm. to the Chairman of the District Council. BY then racial tension had built up and, about half an hour later, a fight broke out between approximately thirty unarmed Malays and Chinese at the Bukit Mertajam market, restilting in one Chinese and one Malay injured. The latter died the next day. Subsequent to this a spate of assault cases and arson occurred in the Bukit Mertajam area. A Chinese was killed and a number of others injured.
  17. 17. The assault on the Malay worker, who was an NINEofficial of the local U M N O branch, was interpretedby some Malay extremists as a challenge to the Malay RACIAL POLITICSpopulation. Passions were quickly aroused and, to During the long election campaign, several irrespons-deter trouble-makers from manipulating the situation, ible candidates took racialist lines. Blatant incitementcurfew was imposed throughout the district on 14th of racial feelings was evident in their speeches asJuly, 1963, and was not lifted until ten days later. A they courted support on racial grounds. These opportu-number of people were arrested for being involved nists ranged from one extreme, those who misrepre-in this incident. sented and attacked Article 153 of the Constitution, to the other, that exploited fears among the Malays that There is no indication that this episode was instigated they would be overwhelmed by the non-Malays. Evenor exploited by any political group or subversive more extreme were those who questioned the historicelements. However, secret society agents were known right of the Malays to regard themselves as the indi-to havc exploited the situation by playing on the fears genous people of Malaya.of the local inhabitants in order to collzct "protection" This dangerous baiting technique by speakers atmoney. the election rallies could be detected by the difference in the emphasis they placed in their speeches. The speeches for the benefit of English-and Malay- speaking audiences on the one hand differed in emphasis from those for the Chinese-or Tamil-speaking audiences on the other. The same technique was also used in regard to pamphlets and manifestos issued to the public. Vernacular versions were specially designed to incite racial feelings. Allegations were also repeatedly made that the Malays were given privileges in government jobs to the exclusion of non-Malays and that the Malays controlled the administration and the uniformed services, parti- cularly in Division One of the government services.
  18. 18. It is interesting at this point to compare the allega- Edllcation Oficerstions with statistics of senior government officers amongthe various racial groups in the country. Total ... 173 Malays ... 51 .. . 29.9% Fig~rresRelating to Division One Governlnent Non-Malays 122 ... 70.1% Oficers by Racial Groups, as o m 1st Noveltlber, 1968 Police ( Absolule figures withheld for seczlriry reasons)Total ... 3.392 (Excluding Armed Forces and the Malays ... 38.76% Police) Non-Malays 61.24%Malays ... 1.142 ... 36.26% Arrtzed Forces (Absolute fisures withheld for securilyNon-Malays 2,250 ... 63.74% reasons) Malays ... 64.5% Administration Services Non-Malays 35.5%Total ... 1,221 In the other Divisions of government services and inMalays ... 706 ... 57.8% statutory bodies, the ratio of Malay to non-Malay officers is even less favourable to the Malays. TheNon-Malays 515 ... 42.2% notable exceptions are in the lower ranks of the Armed Forces and the Police, areas of employment long avoided by non-Malays. Professional Services (Excluding Education) Total ... 1,998 The above figures reveal the large extent of partici- pation of non-Malays in the so-called Malay areas of Malays ... 385 ... 19.2% government services. Allegations that the non-Malays are excluded are regarded by the Malays as deliberate Non-Malays 1,613 ... 80.8% distortion. The Malays who already felt excluded in
  19. 19. the countrys economic life, now began to feel a threat TENto their place in the public services. No mention wasever made by non-Malay politicians of the almost SECRET SOCIETIES AND POLITICSclosed-door attitude to the Malays by non-Malays in Secret societies took roots in this country with thelarge sections of the private sector in this country. arrival of the first waves of Chinese immigrants in the last century. In the absence of strong legal, security and The Prime Minister cautioned against these blatant financial infrastructures, secret societies played anappeals to racial feelings throughout the campaign. I n important role and their first recorded political activitya speech in Kuala Pilah on 15th April, he warned the took place about the middle of the last century whenDemocratic Action Party not to tamper with Article 153 they contrived to create chaos in the state of Perakof the Constitution. "If they (DAP) try t c d o this there which led to British intervention and the Treaty ofwill surely be chaos and the prosperity which we now Pangkor in 1874. The role of secret societies has beenenjoy would be gone." and continues to be I destructive one. They are involved Certain non-Malay racialist election speakers con- in "protection" rackzts, extortion, kidnapping, robberystantly worked up non-Malay passions against Malay and other felonies.policemen and officers, alleging partial treatment in the These societies had always maintained a traditionalenforcement of the law. They contributed directly to hold over certain sections of the Chinese community,the breakdown in respect for the law and authority and their activities had intensified in recent years.amongst sections of the non-Malay communities. During the last General Elections, secret societies The long campaign did great damage to racial har- exercised a certain amount of influence on the politicalmony in Malaysia. Political parties at both extremes activities of a number of candidates. In some areas.harped incessantly on "Bumiputraism" on the one candidates found it impossible to campaign without thehand, and Malay poverty on the other. This was a payment of "protection money". Coercion and intimi-dangerous developmer~tin a society so visibly identified dation were the familiar methods of getting supportalong ethnic, cultural and economic lines. It also during the last political campaign in certain areas,resulted in a strain upon large sections of the liberal especially in Kuala Lumpur. Some of these secretMalay population, and placed segments of the non- society agents, chauvinistically motivated, are dedicatedMalay population, whose loyalty to the country was to creating racial tension for the purpose of weakeningno longer in doubt, in a difficult position. the country.
  20. 20. A definite link has been established between secret ELEVENsocieties and the racial clashes in Kuala Lumpur, andsome of these secret society thugs are known to be ENGINEERED TENSIONmembers of Communist-dominated branches of theLabour Party of Malaya (LPM). They acted for their It would not be correct to say that the Communistown specific objectives, to create and maintain a state Party of Malaya had started the May 13 disturbances in order to seize power immediately. They were notof tension so that their extortion rackets could flourish. ready for such a step. However, their activities and the activities of their agents in the Labour Party of Malaya, together with paid secret society agents, generated racial tensions to a dangerous pitch. The Labour Party of Malaya largely under the influence of the MCP and almost wholly Chinese in composition, possess distinct chauvinistic tendencies. On 4th May, 1969, a group of LPM youths was sighted painting anti-election slogans by a three-man police patrol in Kepong. When challenged, the youths attacked the Police with iron rods and catapults bearing metal shots and forced the police to fire in self-defence. One of the youths was wounded and later died in Hospital. In contrast to the quiet funeral of the UMNO worker who was murdered in Penang, the Labour Party preserved the corpse of the worker and planned a large funeral to coincide with Polling Day so as to disrupt the elections. The body was deliberately kept frozen for this parpose. Permission for the funeral was given by the Police for the 9th of May instead of the ICth, and the permit was for a small procession not exceeding a few hundred persons, and to take a route that would not tie up traffic in Kuala Lumpur.
  21. 21. These elements defied Police instruction and orga-nised a large parade in which an estimated number of ten TWELVEthousand persons took part and marched through thecentre of Kuala Lumpur, flouting every Police instruc- "VICTORY" MARCHEStion. They chanted Maoist slogans, sang "the East is On l l t h and 12th May, 1969, the Democratic ActionRed", and displayed portraits of Mao Tse-tung and Party (DAP) and Parti Gerakan Malaysia held noisy,the Red flag. The parade passed through the heart of racially provocative and intimidating "victory" proces-Kunla Lumpur and tied up traffic in almost every sions in Kuala Lumpur, followed by numerous splintermajor strzet in the city, and provoked Malay by- processions.standers with shouts of "Malai si!" (Death to theMalays!), and "Hutang darah bayar darah" (Blood The DAP held several processions on Sunday, l l t hdebt will be repaid with blood). May, 1969 all of which were without police permits. O n that day at five oclock in the afternoon a proces- In view of the scheduled polling on the following sion comprising five cars and about fifteen motor-day, the Police were under orders to act with the cycles was seen a l o ~ gJalan Brickfields heading forhighest restraint. An ugly clash was avoided, and the Jalan Lornie. In the procession was Goh Hock Guan,Gzneral Elections took place on 10th May, 1969 with- the successful candidate for Bangsar Parliamentaryout any serious incidents. constituency and Pantai State constituency. When passing by the Brickfields Police Station, the mainly Chinese participants shouted abusive remarks such as "Apa polis boleh buat-kita raja" (What can the police do-we are king!) and "Buang semua Polis Melayu" (Sack all Malay policemen !). At about 8.30 p.m. another DAP procession along Jalan Bukit Bintang abused Malay policemen on duty by making obscene gestures and shouting obscenities a t them. At 10 oclock the same night, another DAP procession heading for Kuala Lumpur shouted "Mati Melayu, sakai pergi masok hutan!" (Death - to the Malays, aborigines go back to the jungle) at Malay
  22. 22. sin? (Malays get out-why do you remain herz) andpolicemen as they passed the Travers Road Police "Kita hentam lu; sekarang kita besar" (Well thrash you,Station. At about midnight a mixed DAP and Gerakan we are now powerful) were hurled at the Malays.procession of motor-cycles and scooters passed byBrickfields Police Station and again shouted insults Malay policemen were singled out for insults, justand obscenities. as they were during the long election campaign. Unlike their DAP counterparts. Gerakan supporters On 12th May, 1969, at about 7.30 p.m. P.C. 11819did not organise a_ny procession until late in the Noordin while on his normal beat at Jalan Pudu wasevening of 11th May, 1969. This, again, was without approached by 5 Chinese youths who tried to surroundpolice permit. At about 10 oclock that night, about and assault him. As the youths approached the P.C.forty Gerakan supporters were seen in cars and riding heard the group yelling "Semua Melayu kasi habis"on scooters along Jalan Changkat Dollah near the (Finish off all Malays). The youths ran away when thePudu prison. Amidst jubilant shouts, they were heard P.C. drew his revolver.shouting "Kuala Lurnpur sekarang China punya".(Kuala Lumpur now belongs to the Chinese). On 12th May. 1969, at 4.00 p.m. Cpl. 9439 Kassim was on duty at the Enquiry Office in Pudu Police The licensed Gerakan procession on 12th May, 1969, Station. At that time a Gerakan procession passed byled by Dr Tan Chee Khoon, the successful Gerakan the Station twice, and the participants shouted "Kasicandidate for Batu Parliamentary constituency, and halau semua polis" (Chase away all the police).Kepong State constituency passed Jalan Ipoh, JalanTuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Parlimen, Jalan Gom- On the same day at about 8.30 p.m. P.C. 2248 Sulaiman was on duty at the Police Beat Kiosk onbak, Jalan Raja Laut and back to Jalan Ipoh. Insults Jalan Bukit Bintang. At that time a combined proces-such as "Melayu balek kampong" (Malays go back to sion by DAP and Gerakan members and supportersyour kampong). "Melayu sekarang taada kuasa lagi" passed by the Beat Kiosk. The P.C. heard shouts(Malays have lost power). "sekarang kita kontrol" (We coming from the procession, "Apa ini Melayu kitaare now in control) were hurled at every Malay in sight. negeri dia sudah perentah. Ini negeri bukan MelayuThe procession consisted of about 500 scooters. When punya" (Why should the Malays rule our country) (Thisthis procession reached the Malay area of Karnpong is not a Malay country). "Mata-mata lanchau" (AnBharu, such insults as "Melayu keluar-apa lagi dudok obscenity directed at policemen).
  23. 23. A short while later while P.C. 27596 was on duty at Annuar bin Abbas, a watchman at the Majlis Jalan Pasar Baru, Pudu, he saw the combined DAP/ Amanah Raayat (MARA) College* in Petaling Jaya Gerakan procession pass by. While passing through the claimed that at 9.30 p.m. on 12th May. 1969, a "fairly participants shouted "Habis Melayu" (End of the long procession" of Gerakan supporters passed slowly Malays) several times. in front of the College, banging noisily on tin cans, shouting and blocking traffic. He heard a few msmbers Inspector Mansor bin Latt Ibrahim of Jalan Campbell of the procession shout, "MARA butoh, MARA Police Station stated that on 12th May, 1969, at about tundun," (obscenities directed towards MARA) and, 7.00 p.m. he was on duty to cover the Gerakan proces- "Kapal Layar bochor" (The Sailing Boat leaks). The sion. At Jalan Ipoh he heard some of the participants procession, headed by motor-cyclists, took about half- shout. "Butoh Melayu" (An obscenity directed at the an-hour to pass the College. In the middle of the Malays), "Pergi mati-lah" (Better go and die). procession, he saw V. David standing in an open car, a garland around his neck. On the night of 12th May, 1969, Sgt. Major Alias bin Hj. Mohd. Yusof was inforrr~zd by P.C. 2248 Mansor bin Abdul Rahman, a student at MARA1 Sulaiman who returned from duty at Bukit Bintang College, saw the procession as it passed the College, area that the latter heard the people who took part and confirmed the evidence of Annuar. He further in the Gerakan procession that passed along Jalan added that the slogans he heard were "MARA lima Bukit Bintang shout, "Ini negeri bukan Melayu punya, tahun lagi akan jahanam" (MARA will be destroyed kita mahu halau semua Melayu" (This country does not in five years). "Sekarang kita perentah apa boleh buat" belong to the Malays, we want to chase out all Malays). (Now we rule, what can you do about it!) "Melayu boleh balek kampong!" (Malays can go back to their Assistant Superintendent of Police. Noordin bin kampong !). Alauddin, of the Selangor Police Headquarters stated that in the early hours of May 13, 1969, about sixty Another MARA student, Osman Mahmud, who was supporters of the Gerakan passed along Jalan Hale in the compound of the College, saw a Gerakan proces- and taunted residents of Kampong Bharu to get out sion pass by and heard shouts of "Melayu sudah jatoh, from the kampong and "Return to the jungle". The MARA boleh keluar" (The Malays have fallen- groups also passed Jalan Raja Muda and the Menteri Besars house. * MARA College is part of the Government project to educate poor Malays.
  24. 24. MARA will be dissolved!). Abdul Wahid bin Haji Several other processions of this nature took placeEbon who was also in the compound at that time in different parts of Kuala Lumpur. Groups of non-heard the participants shout, "Melayu balek, pergi Malay hooligans went in front of the Menteri Besarsmati!" (Malays go home, go and die!). Another residence in Kampong Bharu and shouted threats thatMARA student, Abdul Hadi bin Haji Shariff who was he would be physically ejected from the house.also in the compound heard the crowd shout, "Melayubalek kampong, MARA mahu kasi habis!" (Malaysgo back to the kampong. MARA will be finishedoff !). N. Sandrasekaran, a clerk, stated that at about7.00 p.m. on 12th May, 1969, he was driving his carfrom Sentul towards town when he was caught in atraffic jam at the Jalan Ipoh/Maxwell round-about. I t was caused by 400-500 Chinese and Indianyouths on both sides of the road. When these youthsnoticed that the driver of the Holden car immediatelyahead of Sandrasekaran was a Malay, they becamevery boisterous and waved their red banners at him.The banners were attached to poles sharpened at oneend. At the same time they shouted to the Malayphrases such as "Orang Melayu balek kampong" and "Kapal sudah bochor". Sandrasekaran slowly followed the Holden car andhe heard some o the youths saying, "Ini bukan fMelayu" (This is not a Malay), referring to Sandra-sekaran, meaning that he was therefore not to be jeeredat and insulted.
  25. 25. THIRTEEN kangaroo courts, swept the Malay community in the Federal Capital. On the morning of 12th May a groupDEFIANCE of Kampong Bharu UMNO youths met Haji Ahmad Razali bin Ali, an Alliance State Assemblyman, and The common features in all these were the complete told him that they wanted t o hold an UMNO processionand deliberate defiance of traffic regulations, vulgar for the purpose of "showing to the Opposition Partiesand obscene language and gestures, and deliberately that the UMNO, too, had a good reason to celebrate,provocative slogans attacking the Malays. A pattern of as they were not defeated in the State elections."behaviour similar to the Maoist funeral procession of9th May was evident. The marchers and those in carsand lorries displayed unbridled arrogance and showednothing less than insolence towards authority. The leaders of the Opposition parties, both Gerakanand the DAP, neither restrained nor denounced thebehaviour of their party workers. Despite these extreme provocations, the Malay com-munities in the areas most affected by these insultsshowed patience and restraint. However, they broodedon the fact that even with the winning of only a fewadditional seats the non-Malays, particularly theChinese. had shown arrogance beyond belief. T o theMalays as a whole, the events from the 9th to 12thMay gave cause for fear over their future. On 12thMay for instance, the restraint of the Police, andthe freedom with which the Chinese flouted the law,caused the Malays to harbour doubts as to the willing-ness or ability of the Government t o deal firmly withsuch lawless elements. A feeling of dismay anduncertainty, coupled with their memories of the 1945
  26. 26. FOURTEEN "On getting the Menteri Besars agreement I told members of the UMNO Youth Kampong Bahru that they should rally as much support as they could asREACTION otherwise there was n o p i n t in organising a procession. Haji Ahmad Razali made the following statement They agreed to my proposal that the procession be heldto the Police: on the evening of May 13, 1969, to commence at 1930 hours. The assembly point was the Menteri Besars "On the morning of 12th May, 1969 I intimated to residence.the Y.B. Menteri Besar. Dato Harun, that the UMNOYouth of Kampong Bahru was desirous of holding an "On the night of 12th May, 1969 at about 2130 hoursIJMNO procession with a view to showing to the I went along in my car to a number of Malay kampongsOpposition parties that the UMNO too had a good in Kuala Lumpur to contact UMNO leaders in order toreason to celebrate as they were not defeated in the gather enough support. The Kampongs I visited wereState Elections. I told the Menteri Besar that the Kampong Dato Keramat, Gombak (83 milestone),UMNO Youth was greatly embittered by the behaviour Kampong Petaling, Kawasan Melayu, Kampong Hajiof DAP and Gerakan members and supporters who, Abdullah Hukom, Kampong Pandan Dalam and Kam- pong Jaya. I told them when and where the processionsince the morning of 11th May, 1969, had been going would start. I spent about four hours visiting theabout in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya shouting various kampongs.humiliating and insulting words at the Malays. In s o faras the UMNO Youth of Kampong Bahru was concerned, "The response of all the UMNO leaders that I metthe members would not have minded if the insults were that night was tremendous. They were keen to gatherthrown at the Alliance or UMNO. But, as I was told support and take part in the procession themselves.by many of the members, the insults, such as Apa They said that insults such as Melayu sudah habisMelayu boleh buat and Melayu boleh balek jadi and MARA boleh tutup were unwarranted. Some ofsakai were too hard for them to accept as they were them told me that during their victory processions,directed to the Malays in general and not to UMNO many Gerakan and DAP supporters had made vulgaro r the Alliance. The Menteri Besar agreed t o the gestures a t the Malays when passing through Malay proposal to organise an UMNO victory procession but areas . . . . 9warned me that the procession must be conducted in a Dato Harun bin Haji Idris, the Menteri Besar of legal, peaceful and orderly manner. Selangor, related t o the Police in a statement, that, "On 39
  27. 27. Sunday, 11th May, 1969 a t about 1900 hours, I returned themselves, I agreed t o take part and lead the proces-to my residence in Kampong Bahru from a visit to sion. As I felt that I should advise the crowd beforeMorib. The same evening a number of successful the procession commenced. I told them that the partici-Alliance candidates came to my residence to discuss , pants should assemble in my compound. I could thenthe formation of the State Government. However, as also take the opportunity to inform the Malays of mythey were still preoccupied with the election results intention to form the State Government. Thus I mightthere was no opportunity t o discuss anything positive be able to allay any fear they might have on thistowards forming a new Selangor State Government. matter . . . .99 "That night I began to get telephone calls frompersons who identified themselves as UMNO supporters.informing me of the behaviour of the participants ofOpposition victory processions. Their conduct wereregarded as insulting to the Malays. These callscontinued to come until the following evening . . . . ,) Dato Harun then related how his Political Secretary, ,Haji Ahmad Razali, subsequently visited and informedhim that a group of UMNO supporters who hadarrived at his house had expressed their strong desire :to hold a victory procession. Dato Harun invited them !to his residence and, in his statement. continued,"In the beginning I tried to discourage them fromholding a victory procession by stating that somethinguntoward might happen. However, after I was giventhe assurance that the procession would be held in apeaceful and orderly manner and that a Police permitwould be obtained for it, I agreed to their suggestionabout holding the procession. In order to lend respect-ability to it and ensure that the participants behave
  28. 28. FIFTEEN taken very much aback by what were said by the two Gerakan leaders as these were more or lessMAY 13 contrary to what they have said as quoted in the local 1 press earlier. After the threats and insults they had been subjected Ito on the preceding days the reaction of some Malays : "The people who came for the procession firstwas to converge on Kampong Bharu. assembled in the compound of Haji Ahmad Razali and on the road in front of the said house. There were According to Dato Harun bin Haji Idris. very few people in the compound of my residence . . " "On the morning of May 13, 1969 a meeting of By the afternoon of the same day, an announcementsuccessful Alliance State Assemblymen to discuss the I was made by Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia that the partyformation of the State Government was held in my office , would remain neutral in the Selangor State Assembly.at the Selangor State Secretariat. Later, I returned to my This opened the way for the Alliance, the party thatresidznce and stayed home for the whole afternoon had won the largest number of seats, to form the nextduring which I entertained many visitors who came to government in Selangor. At this stage, the Selangorcongratulate me on my election victory. UMNO decided that it would proceed with the proposed victory procession to celebrate the formation "At about 1700 hours two Chinese were brought to of the new Government. On the morning of May 13,my residence by Tahir Majid. They identified them- the Police agreed to give the necessary permit, sinceselves as couriers from Dr Tan Chee Khoon. They a similar permit had been given to the Gerakan onintimated to me that the Gerakan would not enter into the previous day. The Police had received an assuranceany coalition with the DAP and urged me to form that the procession was to be a peaceful one and,the State Government. I told the two Chinese that they at that stage in the morning, had not received anyshould go back and inform Dr Tan Chee Khoon to disquieting intelligence. The proposed procession wasring me back personally. Both the Chinese left imme- orgqnised by the Selangor UMNO, and all its branchesdiately. When they left I received a phone call from 1 in the State were invited to send participants toV. David. He said that I should go ahead with congregate at the Menteri Besars residence by 7 oclockforming the State Government as the Gerakan would on the evening of May 13, and the procession wasnot join the DAP t o form a coalition Government. I was to have started at 7.30 p.m.
  29. 29. Some students from MARA College also joined In his statement, Assistant Commissioner Zamani, the gathering outside the Menteri Besars residence Commander of the Police Field Force, said that at since they were also the targets of humiliation and about 6.30 p.m., just before pandemonium broke along ridicule during the "victory" processions of the DAP Jalan Raja Muda, " . . . a Malay youth, riding a and Gerakan parties. scooter, heading towards the Menteri Besars residence shouted Setapak sudah kena langgar" (Setapak has been attacked). It was observed that the Malay would-be partici- pants were highly emotional on the evening of May 13 as a result of the previous two days of insults According to a Telecoms employee, in a statement and provocations. For some time rumours were rife recorded by Inspector Abbas " . . . at about 6.00 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur that the UMNO procession would I stopped my car near the Malayan Banking oflice in Setapak. A Malay youth ran to me and said that a be attacked by certain Chinese elements that evening. fight had broken out near the Alhambra Theatre down The Malays were determined to retaliate if attacked. the road . . . shopkeepers in Setapak had started to.. Some of them carried krises and parangs, anticipating close their shops in a hurry . . . , 9 a need to defend themselves should they be attacked during the procession. They were mindful of the fact that the procession was to be held in a city whose In a statement recorded by A.S.P. Chan Hon Keong, population was mainly Chinese. Some of those who a Chinese businessman in Setapak recounted that, "at were unarmed realised that they might need to protect about 6.15 p.m. on May 13, 1969, I was sitting in themselves, and quickly improvised weapons such as my shop when suddenly I heard a big commotion coming from the junction of Jalan Setapak and Jalan sharpened bamboos. Gombak. On looking out, I saw people running helter- skelter. At the same time I heard a Chinese shouting, While the Malays were gathered at the Menteri anti-Chinese. I quickly closed the front gate of my Besars residence in Kampong Bharu, news reached shop. By that time I saw a group of Malay youths them that some Gombak Malays, would-be-partici- passing my shop on the opposite side of the road. They pants in the procession, had been attacked by some were heading towards Kuala Lumpur. I did not have Chinese in Setapak on their way to Kampong Bharu. a close look at them because they were throwing
  30. 30. stones at shop-houses on both sides of the road and I direction of Setapak town. The screens of both carssmashing the windscreen of cars parked by the road- I were already smashed. These two cars were stoppedside . . .?? t by the Chinese crowd a t the Bus Office and I heard them talking in Chinese. As soon as these two were Another officer, A.S.P. Thomas Sivanathan, Com- allowed to pass, I saw two male Chinese on scootersmander of one of the Federal Reserve Unit troops, weaving through the traffic coming from Setapak town.was off duty on May 13, 1969 at his house at Seavoy On arrival at the crowd, I saw some of the ChineseRoad, Setapak. In his statement he related that, "at tried to stop them. They chased the scooters andabout 6.15 p.m. my children who were playing in the succeeded in hitting the one in the rear with an ironcompound informed that there was a commotion out- pipe; The rider fell and ran into the open space byside. I looked out and saw a number of male Chinese !on foot, bicycles and scooters running from the main the roadside and disappeared. The other managed to I ride fast and disappeared too. A t this juncture IPahang Road to the squatter area behind my house. ;Hardly a few minutes later I saw the same crowd approached an armed Indian and asked him in Tamil jrushing out to the main Pahang Road carrying in , as to what had actually happened. He told me thattheir hands iron pipes, sticks and parangs. On seeing 1 the MCA was wagging its tail and they wantedthis, I immediately went on foot towards Setapak town to teach them a lesson . . . I7to check the whereabout of my wife who had earlier ,left the house in my car. On arrival at the junction of In a statement recorded by Superintendent Chan AhSeavoy/Pahang Road at about 6.25 p.m. I saw theroad was completely jammed with vehicles and directly Chan, a Chinese businessman in Jalan Tuanku Abdulinfront of the Len Seng Bus Office, there was a crowd Rahman said, "at about 6.30 p.m. I was standingof approximately eighty people (about fifty Chinese in front of my shop and noticed that crowds of Chineseand thirty Indians) armed with parangs, iron pipes and were standing on both sides of the road waiting forsticks. They were all facing Setapak town. Whilst the procession. Meanwhile, 2 buses arrived from theI was walking towards the Len Seng Bus Office, several town area and stopped at the bus stop nearby. Someof the armed Chinese who came out of the squatter people in the 2 buses shouted that a fight had alreadyarea passed by me and joined the crowd a t the Len broken out in Setapak. Whilst some passengersSeng Bus Office. Then I saw two cars driven by alighted, other Chinese youths rushed up the buses toChinese weaving through the jammed traffic from the proceed t o Setapak . . . I,
  31. 31. I t is clear, then, that at that time the trouble had to arm themselves. By the time they returned tonot yet broken out in Kampong Bharu for if it had, Setapak it was close to 7.00 p.m. and a Troop of FRUthe youths would not have rushed to Setapak. under A.S.P. Low Yew Hong were ready in front of the Chung Hwa Chinese School to disperse them with tear Neither the Malays nor the non-Malays involved in gas. By then two scooters were ablaze on the main road,Setapak were originally armed. However, when bottles and several persons were injured including an employeeand stones started to rain on both groups, the Malays of the Selangor Pewter Works. Gombak branch, whotried to obtain weapons from the various shop-houses later died in the General Hospital.but the majority were denied these by the shopkeepers jwho quickly closed their shutters. One Indian stallkeeper 1 I t would also appear that some MCA Chinese inand his assistant related in an interview to A.S.P. 1 Setapak had joined the Malay groups as they proceeded from Gombak, thinking that the proposed UMNOS. Dorairaja and Acting A.S.P. T. Kurugnanam, that theMalay mob "then started attacking the passing motor- [ 1 procession was to be an Alliance procession. This wouldcars with sticks and stones. Some of them ran to my explain why the Chinese and Indian hooligans at thestall and demanded knives from my stall. When both Len Seng Bus dep8t hit out at the Chinese scooterists.of us replied we have none they punched both of us. 1 It would also explain the reply given to A.S.P. ThomasMy assistant was badly injured in the face . . . . Sivanathan by one of the armed Indian youths.The mob then ran along towards Jalan GombakIJalan The established fact is that some Malays while pro-Setapak junction attacking all parked and on-coming ceeding to the assembly point on foot and scooters (ascars with sticks, stones and a few of them carried the local bus service had apparently stopped) wereknives." taunted in Setapak by groups of Chinese and Indians, and this developed rapidly into stone and bottle- As Chinese and Indian hooligans rushed to their throwing incidents between opposing groups ten tohouses for weapons, as evident from A.S.P. Thomas fiHeen minutes before the outbreak of violence inSivanathans statement, the Malays vented their rage e n Kampong Bharu. It was news of this fight that sparkedthe windscreens of motor cars parked along the road off the clashes in and around Kampong Bharu. Theuntil they reached the Len Seng Bus dep6t where, by taunts and insults of the previous two days had onlythen, armed Chinese and Indian youths had positioned served to generate the explosive atmosphere.themselves. While a number of Malav scooterists rode /*their way through to carry the news to Kampong Bharu. /1t is clear that violence first broke out in Setapak-the majority of the Malays doubled back to Gombak I an unexpected area-at about 6.00 p.m. well before the48 49
  32. 32. By about 1850 hours I saw about two hundred to their secbnd floor windows whereupon some membersthree hundred Malays leaving the compound of the of the mob broke away, attacked these shop-housesMenteri Besars residence and moving towards Jalan and setfire to them.Tuanku Abdul Rahman. It was clear to me that they The main body of Malays were met at the round-were out to clash with the Chinese. Our calls to them about by A.S.P. Tham Kong Weng who, firing tear gasto stop went unheard." shells, turned them back. In his estimation there were one hundred and fifty to two hundred Malays As soon a s this group of Malays left for Jalan in the group. As they ran back to Kampong Bahru,Tuanku Abdul Rahman, FRU Troop 1B under the this group was "hit" by FRU Troop 1B under A.S.P.command of A.S.P. Shahriman arrived in front of the Shahriman and dispersed in smaller groups into theMenteri Besars residence and sealed the area, effec- sidelanes of Kampong Bharu. From then on Troops 1Btively preventing any more Malays from joining the under A.S.P. Shahriman and 5B under A.S.P. Thamgroup that had just left for Jalan Tuanku Abdul Kong Weng, reinforced by Troops 4C under A.S.P.Rahman. The time of his arrival was 6.50 p.m. Several Pritam Singh and 1C under A.S.P. Low Yew Hongvehicles were already overturned, pushed aside or were kept extremely busy dealing with both Malayburning. Three dead bodies were lying on the road- and Chinese rioters in the Kampong Bharu, Chow Kitside and, in one of the vehicles, a Chinese business and Jalan Raja Laut areas. Numerous arrests of armedexecutive feigned death until the Police party was rioters were made and scores of innocent persons wereclose enough, when he dashed out and placed himself rescued and protected. Both Malay rioters in theunder A.S.P. Shahrimans protection. Kampong BharuIChow Kit area and Chinese rioters in the Jalan Tuanku Abdul RahmanIJalan Raja Laut area were firmly and impartially dealt with. In the meantime, the group of Malays which hadleft for Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman marched down Some of the Malays who had gathered in KampongJalan Raja Muda towards the roundabout, throwing Bharu for the proposed procession became apprehen-sticks and stones at Chinese groups which were running sive : they were unarmed and unprepared for troublefor safety. According to a Chinese shopkeeper in the or worried over the safety of their families in thearea, he closed his steel shutters as the mob passed outlying areas, or were intent on avoiding trouble. Thusin front of his shop-house. However, some of his neigh- they ran or cycled or rode their scooters to theirbours started to throw bottles down on the mob from respective kampongs, carrying tales of the racial clashes
  33. 33. back with them. At this time the curfew had not yetbeen imposed. In this way excitement and frenzy were Thus, at about the time that violence broke out inworked up in unexpected places such as Kampong Kampong Bharu, secret society agents were ready forPandan, Kampong Dato Keramat, Kampong Kerunchi, action, leading forays into Malay kampongs andKampong Lembah Jaya, Kampong Petaling, Kawasan attacking Malays in China town areas. The first showMelayu and Karnpong Haji Abdullah Hukom. at the Rex Cinema, Jalan Sultan was stopped when secret society agents broke into the hall. They singled There was considerable anxiety in the Chinese out Malays trapped among the audience and attackedareas. Rumours were rife by noon of May 13, that them. At the Federal Cinema near Jalan Chow Kit,the UMNO procession would turn into a rampage. secret society members waited for Malays at the exitsSecret society elements were noticeably busier than of the hall at the end of the first show. At aboutusual. Weapons such as parangs, three-pointed spears. 8.23 p.m. A.S.P. Tham Kong Weng and Troop 5C ofbottle bombs, iron pipes, were distributed among the FRU encountered and dispersed about one thousandmembers in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. Jalan Chow armed Chinese rioters in the vicinity of the CapitolKit, Jalan Ipoh, Cheras, Bungsar, Jalan Campbell. Theatre in Jalan Raja Laut. They also rescued andBukit Bintang and other parts of the Capital. sent to hospital several injured Malays in the area. An Indian assistant dispenser in a medical clinicobserved such an activity whilst walking home just In Kanlpong Dato Keramat, the nearest majorafter 6.00 p.m. on May 13, 1969. In an interview given Malay area to Kampong Bharu, the commotion in theto A.S.P. S. Dorairajah and Acting A.S.P. T. Kuru- Kampong Bahru area was heard at about 7.00 p.m.gnanam he said. by Fan Chon Chuan, a construction worker who lived "I saw a red and white bus stop between the Circular in the area. He enquired from his Malay neighbourRoad flats, and a group of Chinese, about twenty to as to the cause. In his own words, "I was told that itthirty of them, with sticks and pipes boarded the bus was only a fight. My neighbour did not tell me towith the help of the bus driver and conductor who run or hide." The situation in the Kampong then waswere also Chinese. They then moved off in the bus normal and peaceful and Fan went indoors. News ofalong Jalan Pekeliling roundabout into Jalan Pahang the nature of the "fight" soon filtered through t o thetowards Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. The bus is Kampong and the Malays there armed themselves andpossibly the Len Seng Bus, which passes this way huddled together outside their houses in anticipationdaily . . . . 9, of a Chinese attack on the Kampong.
  34. 34. At this time someone shouted the sighting of a land from Kampong Pandan Dalam. He tried bus a p p e ~ e drover loaded with male Chinese, and of a Chinese to stop it but it proceeded for another 400 yardsrunning through the Kampong from the far side, and where it was stopped by a group youths and setn chase ensued. The whole village was aflame with On fire.ruinours of an impending Chinese attack. Accordingto Fan Chon Chuan, at about 7.30 p.m. his house wasset on fire. He. and twelve other members of his family !escaped to a nearby Army Camp where they weregiven shelter. His aged father probably perished in theflames. I At about the same time, a Chinese TV repairer wasrepairing a set in a nearby house belonging to a memberof the Royal Malaysia Police Band. When the situationrelaxed on the following day, he was dressed up as aMalay, complete with songkok, and smuggled out tothe Police DepBt. In Kampong Pandan, Malay youths in a car and ontwo motor-cycles entered the Kampong a t about7.00 p.m. and shouted to everyone to get indoors andto shut the doors and windows as, "orang kita telahterkorban di-Kampong Bharu." (Our people have beenslaughtered in Kampong Bharu). About twenty minuteslater the first shop-house was set on fire. According toPolice Inspector Mohd. Hatta, he was at the KampongPandan Police Post when, at about 7.30 p.m.. one"Toong Fong" bus came from Kampong PandanDalam and he stopped it and asked the driver, con-ductor and two passengers, all of whom were Chinese,to take refuge at the post. Ten minutes later another
  35. 35. SIXTEEN by which time three persons were already dead along Jalan Raja Muda. One Troop was deployed at JalanRUMOURS AND THE UNEXPECTED Bukit Bintang, and two Troops were in readiness a t the nearby Police DepBt. The personnel of each Troop was Although by 3.30 p.m. on May 13, Selangor Police made up of forty percent Chinese and sixty percentHeadquarters had heard rumours of the possibility of non-Chinese officers.an outbreak of violence, the evidence available thenpointed to a peaceful procession, but one that could Six mobile Police vehicles were deployed: the firstrespond in kind if attacked. The rumours also indicated at Leboh Raya Foch, the second at Bulatan Rajathat there was a likelihood of the procession being Muda, the third in Kampong Bharu, the fourth inattacked by certain Chinese elements in the Jalan Chow Kampong Pandan, the fifth in Pudu and the sixth inKit and Suleiman Court areas. The Police assessed that the Jalan Pekeliling/Jalan Pahang area. In addition,trouble, if at all, would break out only if the procession ten units of Police Light Strike Forces in vehicles werewas attacked and, in any case, was unlikely to occur deployed: three in the Jalan Bandar area, two in theuntil the procession had moved out of Jalan Raja Muda PuduiCheras area, two in the Jalan Campbell area,at 7.30 p.m. that evening. Accordingly, Police deploy- one in the Jalan Pekeliling area and two in the Brick-ment was geared to prevent any attack on or by the fields area. It was assessed that with these forcesprocession from 7.30 p.m. in the sensitive areas. In stringed out in these areas from 7.00 p.m., no mischief-this way it was assessed that the procession could makers would dare attack the procession or attack fromcomplete its route without any mishap, provided that the procession. The tragedy was that the first incidentsufficient Police forces were deployed before 7.30 p.m. occurred both outside the expected areas and long before the expected time. By 7.00 p.m. a full half-hour before the scheduled The Police decision not to cancel the licence issuedprocession, Federal Reserve Units were positioned in for the proposed UMNO victory procession was notthese areas. One Troop of these riot control experts easily made. It was based on three principal considera-was in position on Jalan Tuanku Abdul RahmanIJalan tions. The DAP and the Gerakan had both held theirChow Kit junction by 6.35 p.m.. having passed the licensed as well as unlicensed processions from 11th toMenteri Besars residence at 6.30 p.m. and noting no 12th May, 1969, extending into the early hours ofacts of violence there at that time. Another Troop May 13. Secondly, Malay feelings in the Capital, as aarrived a t the Menteri Besars residence a t 6.50 p.m. result of two days of racial insults were running high,
  36. 36. and to cancel the licence at that stage would inevitably some Chinese crowds-an attitude nurtured by irres-precipitate to racial trouble. Finally, it was assessed ponsible non-Malay Opposition politicians during thethat the best guarantee against an cutbrzak of trouble long election campaign.was in a properly controlled procession. Based on Police assessment, Headquarters of the Once violence broke out, Police action was prompt. Kuala Lumpur Military Garrison (which is responsibleEvery available man was mustered, detailed and for the security of the Capital) was alerted fromdeployed, including the Federal Police Headquarters 3.30 p.m. The Battalion Commander first came to knowand Federal Dep8t staff. Recruits under training relieved of the disturbances, and of the "Security Red" situation experienced DepBt guards who in turn were deployed in Kuala Lumpur at 6.47 p.m. Curfew was declaredon the ground. Even members of the Royal Malaysia at 8 . 0 p.m. Due to the gravity of the situation, thePolice Band were re-equipped for a Public Order role Military had to be called in to assist. Permission forand rushed to the scenes of disturbances. However, due troops to be engaged was personally given by theto the fact that incidents were scattered in various parts Honble the Deputy Prime Minister.of Kuala Lumpur, the Police were fully stretched When the Army was first called in, it deployed aparticularly before the deployment of the Army in company of the Royal Malay Regiment for stationarysensitive areas a t 10.00 p.m., and the arrival of Police duty to man three Road Control Points. They were notreinforcements from Ipoh in the early hours of 14th involved in a mobile law enforcement role. Subsequently,May. A large pcrtion of available Police resources was another company was brought in. On its way thiscommitted to rescue work, the escort of stranded persons company had to relieve the Salak South Police Stationin sensitive areas and the guarding of vital installations from a large force of armed Chinese who attemptedagainst sabotage. A thousand and one errands of mercy to overrun it. After relieving the Station from siege.were run, hampering lo some extent the efforts to deal and on the arrival of Police reinforcements a sub-unit ofwith the actual outbreak of lawlessness. this company was directed to Pudu Lane to rescue a Police Light Strike Force which was under attack by a Police movements to deal with the rioters and protect large force of Chinese. The Chinese mob refused tothe population were not made easier by the erection of disperse and gun fire had to be directed against themstrong road barriers by some Chinese in various parts of before they finally dispersed.the City, affected and unaffected alike, as well as by the In the meantime, the areas of Kampong Bharu andinitially hostile attitude adopted towards the Police by Jalan Chow Kit were getting out of control and the

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