The Tunku on how "May 13" beganFrom his residence in Penang, 1972:“It was clear to me as well as the police that in the hi...
The REAL Story of May 13 (Part 1)This article by Raja Petra was first published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.UMNO is at...
history ever allowed to own a car on campus (everyone else rode bicycles). He drove a MG sports car andspent his years enj...
Your Government of mediocre people is bereft of ideas, is unable to understand the limits of their authority, and isgenera...
The move to push Tunku Abdul Rahman aside had started. They needed something to trigger off someform of resentment against...
In a meeting with Utusan Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Jaafar emphasised his disapproval of efforts made to ask MCA tore-enter th...
In a Press Statement released by UMNOs Secretary General, Senu Abdul Rahman, reported by theUtusan Melayu newspaper on 6 J...
Once more I wish to repeat that the statement I made [on the continued exclusion of the MCA from the Cabinet] is    to pre...
Tuanku Abdul Rahman) area – proof for me that the Chinese were attacked first. It was only on thethird night when the fire...
One particular Umno member went back to his home town in Kedah from Kuala Lumpur to search of his‘serempang merah’ and sub...
You will also know about Lim Mah Hui, Syed Husin Ali, a very close friend and colleague of mybrother ( I have the highest ...
Later, I heard my elder brother was in the KL theater that was sprayed by the armys machineguns. I heard about a New Zeala...
I was in class ( Form Six ) at a school in PJ, BBBS in Section 14. Totally oblivious of what washappening. This was then c...
commando style. Heard and saw an army truck ( with orders to shoot to kill ), ducked amongst thelalang and crept to the ho...
TIME MAGAZINEs Reporton Malaysia in 1969 : May23, 1969 andJuly, 18, 1969Sunday, May 13, 2007Read here earlier posting: "MA...
-The cover of Time Magazine, May 23, 1969 IssueThe World (Malaysia) : RACE WAR IN MALAYSIA: Click HERE to original article...
Malaysias 3,400,000 Chinese. There are also the 1,000,000 Indians and Pakistanis who make up the third major ethnic group....
-Cover of Time Magazine, July 18, 1969 IssueThe World (Malaysia) : PREPARING FOR A POGROM : Click HERE to original article...
band and gives credence to constant ru mors of terror. Chinese secret societies, the backbone of self-defense whenever off...
FAR EASTERN ECONOMICREVIEW sReports onMalaysias Race Riot in1969Tuesday, May 15, 2007                                 FAR ...
Exultant supporters of the Democratic Action Party and the Gerakan filled the capitals streets on Sunday and Monday night ...
Selangor. Six battalions of the Royal Malay Regiment together with Federal Reserve Units and police were spread very thinl...
Malay, Chinese and Indian -- registered at the polls.The sole rays of hope are the peace which prevailed in the former Lab...
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May 13 articles and various reports


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To learn from the Past and Never to Repeat

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May 13 articles and various reports

  1. 1. The Tunku on how "May 13" beganFrom his residence in Penang, 1972:“It was clear to me as well as the police that in the highly charged political atmosphere after the policewere forced to kill a Chinese political party worker on May 4th, 1969, something was bound to happen tothreaten law and order because of the resentment towards the Government by the KL Chinese on the eveof the general election. This was confirmed at this man’s funeral on the 9th May when the governmentfaced the most hostile crowd it had ever seen.Therefore, when the opposition parties applied for a police permit for a procession to celebrate theirsuccess in the results of the general election, I was adamant against it because the police were convincedthat this would lead to trouble.I informed Tun Razak about this and he seemed to agree. Now, without my knowledge and actually“behind my back,” there were certain political leaders in high positions who were working to force me tostep down as a PM. I don’t want to go into details but if they had come to me and said so I would gladlyhave retired gracefully.Unfortunately, they were apparently scheming and trying to decide on the best way to force me to resign.The occasion came when the question of the police permit was to be approved.Tun Razak and Harun Idris, the MB of the state of Selangor, now felt that permission should be givenknowing fully well that there was a likelihood of trouble. I suppose they felt that when this happenedthey could then demand my resignation.To this day I find it very hard to believe that Razak, whom I had known for so many years, would agreeto work against me in this way. Actually, he was in my house as I was preparing to return to Kedah and Ioverhead him speaking to Harun over the phone saying that he would be willing to approve the permitwhen I left. I really could not believe what I was hearing and preferred to think it was about some otherpermit. In any case, as the Deputy Prime Minister in my absence from KL, he would be the Acting PMand would override my objection. Accordingly, when I was in my home in Kedah, I heard over the radiothat the permit had been approved.It seems as though the expected trouble was anticipated and planned for by Harun and his UMNOYouth. After the humiliating insults hurled by the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, and after theseeming loss of Malay political power to them, they were clearly ready for some retaliatory action. Aftermeeting in large numbers at Harun’s official residence in Jalan Raja Muda near Kampong Bahru andhearing inflammatory speeches by Harun and other leaders, they prepared themselves by tying ribbonstrips on their foreheads and set out to kill Chinese. The first hapless victims were two of them in a vanopposite Harun’s house who were innocently watching the large gathering. Little did they know thatthey would be killed on the spot.The rest is history. I am sorry but I must end this discussion now because it really pains me as the Fatherof Merdeka to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live longenough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”
  2. 2. The REAL Story of May 13 (Part 1)This article by Raja Petra was first published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.UMNO is at it again! They are going round the country saying that keADILan and PAS have allowed theNational Mosque to be used by non-Muslims to attack Muslims. UMNO politicians and Pusat Islamofficials have likened the non-Muslims to “unclean” people because of their pork-eating and liquor-drinking so they should not have been allowed into the mosque.Maybe these narrow-minded people have not noticed the daily busloads of foreign tourists visiting theNational Mosque as part of their itinerary? Have these foreign (non-Muslim) tourists been screenedwhether they eat pork or drink liquor before being allowed into the mosque? I bet not!UMNO adopted this very dangerous strategy once, 30 years ago, back in 1969, which resulted in theinfamous May 13 racial riots. Now they are doing it again. It was a very narrow-minded and shortsightedstrategy then. It still is now -- maybe even more so now seeing that we have entered the borderless cyberage and are about to enter a new millennium.Race and religion should no longer be used to separate Malaysians in the divide-and-rule policy of theBarisan Nasional government. The Malays, Chinese and Indians must protest strongly and reject thisoutdated racial politics that is extremely dangerous and can disrupt the peace and stability of this multi-racial, multi-religious country of ours. UMNO is saying one thing to the Malays, and the opposite to thenon-Malays. This is the height of hypocrisy.Do any of you know the REAL story behind May 13 -- how is started, why it was started, and who startedit? If not, then let me take you down memory lane.Contrary to what the (local) history books try to tell us, May 13 was NOT about Malay and Chineserivalry. It may have eventually ended that way, but that definitely was not how it started out. May 13was basically a Malay political struggle with racialism used as a camouflage.To understand May 13, we need to go back to the pre-Merdeka days to see how independence wasachieved and how the first leaders of independent Malaya were groomed to take over running thecountry.The British knew that, one day, they would have to grant independence to Malaya. India, Indonesia,the Philippines, and many countries around this region had already gained independence from theircolonial masters. In 1946, the independence movement in Malaya had also started, giving birth to the firstMalay political party, UMNO. It was a matter of time before the British would have to give in to thedemands of the Malays.The British thought that the best way to grant independence to Malaya, yet still have some control overtheir old colony, would be to groom the leaders who would take over and educate them the British wayso that they would soon become more English than the Englishman.In the mid 1940s, the British doors were thrown open to the Malays and the first batch of Malays wasbrought over to England to receive an English education. These were mostly the sons of the elite androyalty -- Tengku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, and many more future leaders of Malaya. Tengku Rahmanwas definitely given special treatment by the British to the extent he was the only student in Cambridge
  3. 3. history ever allowed to own a car on campus (everyone else rode bicycles). He drove a MG sports car andspent his years enjoying the lifestyle of the rich and famous.Eventually these young graduates of an English education were brought back to Malaya and givengovernment posts as part of their training to one day take over the reins of power. As an example Tengkubecame a District Officer in Kedah, a post normally reserved for the "white man".Needless to say, these English educated Malays enjoyed all the trappings of England including cricket,rugby, tea-at-four, brandy-after-dinner, and so on, not to mention a day at the dog races.Eventually, Merdeka was won and, in 1957, the local Malays took over running the government. But itwas merely a changing of the skin colour. The management style remained the same. It was Merdekawithout losing the English influence. In fact, as mentioned earlier, the Malays of this era tended to bemore English than even the Englishmen.The REAL Story of May 13 (Part 2)This article by Raja Petra was first published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.It was now twelve years after Merdeka and the "young Turks" in UMNO were getting restless andwanted a change of leadership. These young Turks such as Hussein Onn and Dr Mahathir Mohamad hadno sentimental attachments to the British, as they were educated in India and Singapore respectively.They were also angry that Tengku Abdul Rahman surrounded himself with Chinese businessman.Mahathir made this point very clear in his letter to the Tengku which goes as follows:"You have become so powerful, both by virtue of your office and by popular acclaim, that UMNO has becomesubservient to you. UMNO is being held together, not because the members share your ideas on politics, butthrough a system of patronage and disguised coercion based on Government rather than party authority.A feeling of power normally grips those who wield patronage, a feeling that they can mould and shape people andopinions any way they please. The leaders of UMNO, the senior partners of the Alliance Government, havesuccumbed to this disease and, believing that they no longer need to heed the opinions of their supporters, theydisregard them at every turn.Laws have been hurriedly passed without prior consultation with the representatives who have had to "sell" theselaws to the people. Tax innovations have been made and discarded with complete disregard for the disrupting effecton the public. In the main, Parliamentary sittings are regarded as a pleasant formality which afford members anopportunity to be heard and quoted, but which have absolutely no effect on the course of the Government. Thesittings are a concession to a superfluous democratic practice. Off and on, this strength is used to change theconstitution. The manner, the frequency, and the trivial reasons for altering the constitution have reduced thissupreme law of the nation to a useless scrap of paper.Your Ministers and the Cabinet are vested with this decision-making authority. It is obvious that only the mostcapable and experienced should be made Ministers and be in the Cabinet. But independentMalaysia has chosen totreat membership of the Cabinet as a reward for loyalty to party chiefs and acceptability to the Prime Minister. Onceappointed, no amount of dereliction of duty could affect the position of a Minister. On the other hand, even if theMinister performs well, failure to remain on good terms with the Prime Minister means removal from the Ministry.
  4. 4. Your Government of mediocre people is bereft of ideas, is unable to understand the limits of their authority, and isgenerally unable to rule. All the while, however, your Government is busy on devices to perpetuate itself. Thesedevices are so transparent and so lacking in subtlety that they achieve just the opposite effect.May I remind you, Merdeka has brought power and wealth to the new Malay elite. Politics is found to be thepanacea. It provides a shortcut to everything. It makes possible the attainment of positions of immense power. TheseMalays are in a position to acquire riches.At first, this might seem grossly unfair. These few Malays - for they are still only a very few - have waxed riches notbecause of themselves, but because of the policy of a Government supported by a huge majority of poor Malays. Itwould seem that the efforts of the poor Malays have gone to enrich a select few of their own people. The poor Malaysthemselves have not gained one iota. With the existence of the few rich Malays, at least the poor Malays can say thattheir fate is not entirely to serve the rich non-Malays. From their point of view of racial ego, and this ego is stillstrong, the unseemly existence of Malay tycoons is essential.The various races in Malaysia are differentiated not merely by ethnic origin, but also by many other characteristics.These characteristics are important. How these characteristics develop is another matter, but when races compete ina given field, these characteristics play an extremely important role. The Jews, for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.The possession of these characteristics means little until different races come into contact with each other. Jewishstinginess and financial wizardry gained them the commercial control of Europe and provoked an anti-Semitism,which waxed and waned throughout Europe through the ages.The first thing that comes to mind is that the vast majority of Malays are feudalistic and wish to remain so. Arevolution, which starts off by preaching the destruction of the established monarchical order, will therefore fail. Itwill not win the support of the majority of orthodox Malays. In any case, the monarch has done no real harm to theMalays or to anyone else. The maintenance of the system is no doubt costly, but being separated from power, theruler cannot constitute a tyranny. Besides, aMalaysia without rulers would mean the complete eclipse of theMalays. It is the rulers who have in the past furnished and continued to present the Malay character of Malaysia.Remove them, and the last vestige of traditional Malaysia would disappear. It is essential therefore that themonarchy remains.To take on an adversary when it seems to be beyond ones capacity is courageous. To calculate and assess oneschances first is to exhibit cowardice. Time and again this inability or unwillingness to measure the odds againstthem has led to defeat and disaster for the Malays. The courageous or brave Malay is usually foolhardy, and becausehe is likely to do things without thinking of the consequences, the average Malay treats him with fear and respect.The ordinary man knows that it is not worthwhile to incur his displeasure and that it is safer to let him have hisown way. The ordinary man therefore represents the other extreme when principle is easily set aside for the sake ofsafety.Even feudalism can be beneficial if it facilitates changes. The political Rajas of today can, therefore, institute changeif they themselves are willing to change. Such a change would spread rapidly. If the indications are that there shouldbe a change in the value system and ethical code, then the leaders can lead the way with the certainty that they willbe followed by the masses. In a feudal society, if the leaders fail, then there is little hope for the masses."The REAL Story of May 13 (Part 3)This article by Raja Petra was first published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.
  5. 5. The move to push Tunku Abdul Rahman aside had started. They needed something to trigger off someform of resentment against the government. They needed the Malays to rise, and what better platform toexploit than a racial platform?Prior to that, 11 Chinese prisoners were sentenced to death for killing a Malay prison warden in PuduJail. This was subsequently turned into a Malay-Chinese issue.The Malays wanted the 11 Chinese punished. The Chinese wanted their death sentence commuted. Anddemonstrations were held in the Chinese dominated areas around Kuala Lumpur to pressure thegovernment to pardon the 11. In one large demonstration outside Pudu Jail, the riot police had to becalled in the break up the demonstration with teargas. That was my first experience with teargas, and Iwas only 19 then.The government had no choice but to back down, thereby angering the Malays.In another incident, some Chinese demonstrated in front of the United States Information Service (USIS)office and one demonstrator was shot dead by a panicking Malay policeman -- interpreted as anotherMalay-Chinese thing.The Chinese wanted a funeral procession but the police would not grant them permission as they knew itwould attract a huge crowd and the funeral would be turned into a demonstration instead. Tun Razak,however, told the police to grant them permission and ordered the police off the streets. The resulting"giant" parade built up tensions further.The May 1969 General Elections were held soon after and the Alliance Party won only 40% of the votesresulting in it losing its two-thirds majority in Parliament. It also lost a couple of states to the oppositionplus its two-thirds majority in others.The opposition parties held "victory parades" which turned into a mud-slinging and name-callingsession. The Malays were now really angry and decided to hold a victory parade of their own. DatoHarun, the then Chief Minister of Selangor, was given the task of managing this "event".On May 13, the entire cabinet withdrew to Frazers Hill while the Malays prepared for trouble. People inthe top echelon of the government and commerce were tipped off to get out of town or go home earlyand, by 3.00pm, the city was quite deserted of the elite except for the unknowing rakyat.That same evening, racial riots exploded. Parliament was dissolved, thereby savingthe Alliancegovernment that no longer had a majority in Parliament, and power was transferred toDeputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak under the National Operations Council (NOC).The Tunku was now powerless.Mahathir then increased his attacks on the Tunku using race as his platform. He also called for MCAsexpulsion from the Alliance to "punish" the Chinese. Instead, Dr Mahathir was expelled from Umno asthe Utusan Malaysia newspaper report of 6 June 1969 reveals:KUALA LUMPUR 5 June - Some leading members of UMNOs Supreme Council have voiced their support for thedecision by MCA leadership to exclude themselves from the Cabinet. Among them are Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar,Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad and Syed Nasir bin Ismail.
  6. 6. In a meeting with Utusan Malaysia, Tan Sri Syed Jaafar emphasised his disapproval of efforts made to ask MCA tore-enter the Cabinet."I do not agree with the way some Chinese chambers of commerce have stated their confidence and support of TunTan Siew Sin and their asking him to reconsider MCAs decision to withdraw from the Cabinet," he said.According to him, the problem now was not the question of confidence towards Tun Tan Siew Sin as the MCAleader, but whether the Chinese supported the present policies of the Alliance."This is the matter that should be considered by these people who are making a big fuss about giving their supportto Tun Tan Siew Sin today," he added.Tan Sri Jaafar Albar also stated that the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese Chambers of Commercewas not sufficient because support had to come from the majority of the Chinese population.He stated that discussions about MCAs inclusion in the Cabinet should not be confined to the newspapers or toMCA alone because UMNO, as the backbone of the Alliance party, had not decided yet if MCA and MIC should beincluded in the Cabinet or if the Alliance should remain as it was then.He said: "It is not only the duty of MCA to discuss this matter as if it is its own peculiar problem, but it should bethe responsibility of all the Alliance leaders from the UMNO, MCA, and MIC."However, he did not want to give his final views before the party met to discuss the matter.Mahathir, who supported Tan Sri Syed Jaafars statement, stressed that MCA leaders had to adhere to their earlierdecision of not wanting to be included in the Cabinet.He said that he agreed with the view of MCA leaders that they could not actually represent the people they claimedto represent.According to Mahathir, the support given to Tun Tan Siew Sin by the Chinese chambers of commerce and otherChinese organisations could not be taken as support from the Chinese community as a whole to MCA because thoseorganisations did not represent the desires of the Chinese community as a whole."If MCA wants to know whether they have the support of the Chinese, they have to wait for the next generalelection. Since this will take quite some time, it is no longer necessary for MCA to remain in the Cabinet," heemphasised.Mahathir also said that MICs position in the Cabinet should also be reconsidered.Syed Nasir stressed that on the whole, the relationship between UMNO, MCA and MIC had to be reviewed to takein the changes which had taken place after the general elections."The people have expressed their needs and desires, and there is little point in pretending that the policies ofthe Alliance party are the best acceptable to them," he said.The REAL Story of May 13 (Part 4)This article by Raja Petra was first published in Harakah on 24 September 1999.
  7. 7. In a Press Statement released by UMNOs Secretary General, Senu Abdul Rahman, reported by theUtusan Melayu newspaper on 6 June 1969, it said:"Mahathir Mohamad ceases to be a member of the UMNO Supreme Council with effect from today, 12 July 1969.This decision was taken following the wide distribution to the public of Mahathirs letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman,President of UMNO Malaysia.Letters containing important matters should first be discussed by UMNOs Supreme Council, especially in view ofthe present situation in the country.The action taken by Mahathir is seen to be in breach of the partys etiquette and is capable of damaging partysolidarity and the government which the party supports."Mahathir replied to this in his letter to the Tengku dated 17th June 1969."Your opinions were based on stories you heard from people who surround you, and who tell you only what theythink you like to hear or should hear. Permit me to tell you what the position, the thoughts and the opinions of thepeople are really, so that you can understand my motive for making that press statement.You yourself told me that you have prevented a riot by commuting the death sentence of the 11 subversive Chinese.In truth this very action sparked the riots of 13 May, which resulted in the deaths of many, many more.Your give and take policy gives the Chinese everything they ask for. The climax was the commuting of the deathsentence, which made the majority of the Malays angry. The Chinese on the other hand regarded you andthe Alliance government as cowards and weaklings who could be pushed around.That was why the Chinese and the Indians behaved outrageously toward the Malays on 12th May. If you had beenspit in the face, called dirty names and shown obscene gestures and private parts, then you could understand howthe Malays felt. The Malays whom you thought would never rebel went berserk, and they hate you for giving toomuch face. The responsibility of the deaths of these people, Muslim or Infidels, rests on the shoulders of the leaderwho holds views based on wrong assumptions.I regret writing this letter, but I have to convey to you the feelings of the Malays. In truth the Malays whether theyare UMNO or PMIP supporters really hate you, especially those who had lost homes, children and relatives,because of your give and take policy.They said you wanted to be known only as The Happy Prime Minister even though others are suffering. They saidthat although the country was in a state of emergency you were engrossed playing poker with your Chinese friends.Even the policemen said that you were using official cars and police escorts to contact your poker gang.Lately, another disturbing factor came to light. The Malays in the Civil Service, from Permanent Secretarydownwards, Army Officers and the Malays in the Police Force have lost faith and respect for you. I know that themajority of them voted for the PMIP through mail ballots....I wish to convey what the people really think, that is that it is high time you resign as our Prime Minister andUMNO leader.I am fully aware of the powers you still hold and I remember too well the fate of AZIZ ISHAK. But I would beirresponsible if I do not explain what I have said earlier. Even if I am jailed, I have to say what I have already said.
  8. 8. Once more I wish to repeat that the statement I made [on the continued exclusion of the MCA from the Cabinet] is to prevent the Malays from hating the Government more and to stop the Chinese from abusing the dignity of the Malays. A bigger riot will occur if this is allowed. The military itself will be beyond control. I pray to God it will open your heart to accept the truth bitter though it may be." Soon after, the Tengku stepped aside and Tun Razak took over as Prime Minister. The opposition parties were invited to join the government and the Alliance gave way to the Barisan Nasional giving the government back their two-thirds majority in Parliament. Later on, of course, PAS left the BN to stay on as an opposition party. This was a conspiracy at the highest level and nothing short of a power struggle with the "Young Turks" then forming the pressure group. To achieve their ends, they very cleverly used race to make the Malays rise and push Tengku aside. Today they are doing it again, but this time to try to push keADILan and PAS aside. This is dangerous politics. It may backfire and, instead, it may make the Malays rise against the non-Malays, like what happened in 1969 -- a fire raging out of control and no fire extinguisher in sight. We must never allow our country to be turned into a racial battlefield again. Let politics be issues concerning policies, civil rights, good governance and justice. Let us not allow anyone to bring race and religion into our politics lest we suffer the fate of many countries around us where mass murders of entire families are made in the name of “bangsa” and “agama”. May 13, 1969 Race Riots: Personal Accounts and Reflections of What Happened in 1969 Tuesday, May 15, 2007 Read below related article:• "TIME MAGAZINEs Report on Malaysia in 1969 : May 23, 1969 and July, 18, 1969"• FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEW s Reports on Malaysias Race Riot in 1969 By "young witness", Read here in Malaysiakini."Truth of May 13 long overdue" Finally, there are official documents to back up what I’ve always believed. I was then a nine- year-old son of an FRU policeman. We lived at the Police Depot at Jalan Gurney, Kuala Lumpur. Even at my age then, it was clear to me that larger forces were at work in this terrible incident. From our house in the Depot, we saw fires burning on the first two nights in the Batu Road (Jalan
  9. 9. Tuanku Abdul Rahman) area – proof for me that the Chinese were attacked first. It was only on thethird night when the fires appeared in a different part of the sky – over the Datuk Keramat andKampung Baru areas.Anyway, as we grew up, this subject came up many times and it was always clear to most people Imet that the Chinese were attacked first.I was also witness to another phenomenon that backs up an observation in the documents.Around May 13, the older sons of many of my Malay neighbours were not be seen and they onlyreturned days later. It was all hush-hush but their younger brothers told me that they were askedto assemble at residence of Harun Idris. From the way they behaved when they returned, I was ledto believe that they had participated in the riots.My father spoke harshly of the soldiers too. When the FRU men were sent out, many of the areasthey went to had earlier been visited by the soldiers and the residents (or what were left ofthem) tearfully told stories of how the soldiers joined the Malays in attacking them.Friends I met years later in Malacca also told me that soldiers had fired into shophouses inJalan Bunga Raya for no reason. I have heard lots of other anecdotes too. Many Malaysians wouldhave been personally affected by this tragedy. Maybe this would a good time for them to comeforward and share their recollections.The publication of these truths is long overdue. I hope it will lead to the different races ofthis country becoming more aware of how they are being manipulated to keep a select group ofpeople in power.So many innocent people died during those tragic days just so that power remained in the hands ofthe perpetrators. Datuk Harun (and I always believed this was due to divine retribution) neverled a happy life after that incident. That fact is well-documented. I’m sure God would havepunished the others too, whoever they are.p By "Teropong Negara", Read here in Malaysiakini - "Sacrifice of the innocents"Firstly, I would like to congratulate Dr Kua Kia Soong for his efforts to dig out the truthsurrounding this watershed of modern Malaysian history. My hope is that his work would befollowed up by scholars like Prof Khoo Kay Kim.I was then an undergraduate and had the opportunity to demonstrate together with others in theUniversity of Malaya campus in clamouring for the Tunku to step down.Allegations that the May 13, 1969 incident was planned by Umno are not new. The first time theMalaysian public heard about this was when Marina Yusof as a staunch member of the then Semangat46 made the allegation openly, attracting wide media coverage. Of course, it was categoricallydenied by Umno leadership then.Others remembered seeing smoking guns such as the Tanjong Karang Silat Sri Gayong Associationsuddenly undertaking intensive special exercises a few weeks before the incident.
  10. 10. One particular Umno member went back to his home town in Kedah from Kuala Lumpur to search of his‘serempang merah’ and subsequently was heard reciting the ‘ayat empat kerat’, the mantra ofwarriors after every prayer. The Kampong Baru mosque in Kuala Lumpur suddenly attracted biggercrowds then ever before even during mid-day prayers.On another perspective, the Tunku was busy courting his second wife-to-be who was presented tomembers of the public as his personal assistant. This against background rumours that he hadsuddenly become obsessed with mahjong.The Tunku was already clearly overstaying his welcome. His love for drinking and too frequent‘ronggeng’ sessions and love for horses were eroding away Umnos credibility among conservativeMalays. On being interviewed by the Far Eastern Economic Review of what he thought of theproposal that adulterers be stoned to death, he replied that: ‘I fear that there would not beenough stones left to construct our roads’.Some speculated that in order to contain the endemic rot within Umno, it was decided by theparty’s inner circle that it was imperative to create a major incident as an excuse to clean,consolidate and restore Umno and thence the Malays to their rightful places. Hence, the sacrificeof the innocents on the streets of Kuala Lumpur at the first instance of provocation on thefateful day of May 13, 1969.The fire of the incident was lit when a procession of lorries loaded with the members of theopposition parties celebrating their election victory passed by Kampong Baru boisterouslydemonstrating how they would ‘sweep’ Umno out of power with brooms. It all started somewhere nearthe official residence of the then mentri besar of Selangor which was then in Kampong Baru.The rebellious position taken by Harun Idris from then onwards towards the main party leadershipwas also very telling as to who were the main sponsors of the drama. He was not sufficientlyrewarded and was protesting emotionally for his unrewarded role in the incident. They had yet tofind other ways to tame him and being a very charismatic leader of the time, it was no easy task.f By "anon" - Reader in Malaysia-Today. Read hereDear Rustam Ali,Dr Kuas conclusion is not quite right. Partly right perhaps. The Opposition took over Penang andSelangor was 50-50 .... to give just two examples.Now how could any extremist ( note the word extremist ) Malay accept that result? No way Jose.You mentioned Dato Harun, now there lies the root cause of the incident.No, I dont believe it was planned but as far as I know and heard, it was this person who managedto spark off the incident. Perhaps I should say, planned this .... after Penang was wrested fromthe ruling party and Selangor was divided, 50% Opposition.You were a member of the Socialist Party in MU so you must have heard or perhaps even a goodfriend of my brother .... the person who founded Speakers Corner. He graduated in 1968 and wentabroad to further his education. He was championing the cause of a "Malaysian" Malaysia.
  11. 11. You will also know about Lim Mah Hui, Syed Husin Ali, a very close friend and colleague of mybrother ( I have the highest regard for him ) and a few other lecturers mostly from the Dept. ofAnthropology and Sociology who spoke out against the govt in Great Hall ( DTC ) and werearrested. Well, Mah Hui managed to to to Thailand after hiding in a good friends house. Thesewere all academicians of high calibre.The students who were active members of the Socialist Club were all caught except for H. Rais whoalso managed to go to Thailand, then to Australia then to Afghanistan and on to ( Belgium? ) andEngland.Only one active socialist student was not caught ( excluding Rais ), a bloke whose brother wasa cop in the Special Branch at that time. I leave the rest to you to speculate and arrive at aconclusion. I believe you know and I also believe the rest of the Malays found out much later asto why and how he escaped.A very sad day for the country.Dato Haruns ( you know his name ) son was a very close friend of my brother and family. A goodperson. I remember how with just one call late at night, he rushed over to my place to take myfather to the clinic to treat his gash in his leg.Btw Rustam, whatever happened to Wazir? Last I heard she migrated to Sweden. by "LCHUAH", Reader of Malaysia-Today. Read HereAll oldtimers know it was a coup by the ultras. They dont need Marina Yusoff to tell them that(when she was still in Keadilan). The Far Eastern Economic Review did report on the assembly infront of Dato Haruns residence, I think. Race was used as an instrument: religion was notinvolved.I was teaching in the Klang valley at the time, and was returning home after a badminton gamewhen I saw the Tunku wept on TV. My heart went out to him. I noticed the tearful eyes of myroommate, a teacher from Kedah.Some local gangsters came to our house to advise us to be ready with any weapon we could find,such as iron pipes. We were to signal any attack by beating pots and pans. That night I heard thesecurity forces shouting at someone at the end of our block, asking him to "keluar."The next day I heard gunshots somewhere near a theater: someone with a gun was holed up in hisroom. He later shot himself, I think.The Malays were also frightened: parents arrived at the urban school wanting to take theirchildren back because of a rumor that the Chinese were going to attack their children. The HM wasabsent and I refused their request. So did my Chinese and Indian colleagues until the lessonswere over and then, as promised, we escorted the children passed the mainly Chinese shops to thecity bus station. For the first time I was scared my own people would do something stupid.A few days later a Chinese bus driver was stabbed to death somewhere near Shah Alam. Some housesnear Meru, some miles from Klang, were burned and looted.
  12. 12. Later, I heard my elder brother was in the KL theater that was sprayed by the armys machineguns. I heard about a New Zealand nurse raped by some kampung hot heads - wondered if they wereHaruns people. Things quietened down when the troops were replaced by the Sarawak Rangers.In the aftermath I told my largely kampung students that while the communities were attacking oneanother, their leaders were having durian parties. But stupid people, especially the townChinese, were talking about boycotting the Malay durian sellers. I told the few Chinese studentsto realize that this was a struggle between politicians and they should not be used as pawns.The entire government since Merdeka was formed by the elite among the various races: these peoplehad little to do with the person in the street, or in the kampung - hence their willingness tosee the country in flames while they sat in their aircon rooms. The working class of all racesshouldve never allowed themselves to be used by their unscrupulous "leaders."s by "SKiasu". Reader in Malaysia-Today; Read hereI witnessed the event with my own eyes.I was 11 years then.For 3 days in a row the Chinese provoked the Malays. They came to our kampung ( keramat )blaringhorn on their lorries.There was big "penyapu" on the lorries , they shouted they chanted andbehaved like hooligans.My late father said they have won the Kuala Lumpur and wishes to "halau" the Melayu from KL.Malays just stood by the road looking.And on the 12th Mei the Malays have had enough. And on the morning of 13th Mei , my fathersharpend the parang as well as all the neioghbour.But still the Chinese wanted to celebrate onthe maghrib but was blocked by police.On the evening of 13th Mei Malays gathered at Balai Datuk Harun ( somewhere near present THSelborn) I was 11 yrs and was still on the street witnessing the event.Then someone shouted that Malays was attacked at Setapak , and the rest is history.If anyone were to check on 13th Mei , please do check on the 10, 11 and 12 mei, and why thelorries with DAP Rockets were free to raom into Malay kampung doing a Kurang ajar.They pushed Malays to the walls and expected flowers.Whn the Malays retaliated they cannot accepted it.Malays did not go to chinese villages to provoked ( any one there to challenge me on this) It wasthe chinese who showed no respect.If there is any death , I might just say it as "deserving death"I By "anon". Reader in Malaysia-Today: Read here
  13. 13. I was in class ( Form Six ) at a school in PJ, BBBS in Section 14. Totally oblivious of what washappening. This was then called FEC or Further Education School. Not one of us knew what was justabout happening.After class, I walked with my sisters, as usual, to the bust depot, about a 10-minute walk. Thatwas when things didn’t seem right. There were no buses there. But we, along with others, waited,not long though. Nightfall was approaching.It was the weirdest feeling I had ever felt …. All very quiet. No buses, then I realized therewere no cars on the roads too!Then the first bus came …. And as far as I can remember, the only noise was the sound of the bus.We saw the passengers in the bus …. All with blood, some on their faces. To this day I can stillpicture a Chinese woman, in her 40s I believe, in the bus, holding some kind of a cloth on herface. Her face was covered with blood and all of them were rushing out of the bus.We still did not know what the heck was happening. Then the passengers told us … still notknowing it was a racial clash between the Malays and the Chinese.All innocent people in vehicles coming from Bangsar to PJ ….. no chance for them …. As they werestopped by the Kampung Kerenchi mob. Some who knew just zoomed past. Others were all slaughtered.One pregnant woman was massacred. No one was spared by these angry mob.Kampung Kerenchi was like 10 minutes away from the bus depot. I don’t know how that bus went pastbut windows were smashed and people in it were hurt . I guess the driver rammed through the mob,only way to get past.You could not escape going through the Federal Highway without passing and facing the wrath ofthe inhabitants of Kampung Kerenchi.It took us all quite a while to realize what exactly was happening. It was a horrible sight. Mysisters were there and we had no transport …. The mob may arrive …. All kinds of thoughts racedacross my mind. I told my sisters to wait in a hidden place while I ran …. non-stop ( about 4-5miles ) back home to tell and ask my father to pick them up.I will never forget that run. As I ran, I started looking everywhere, behind, sideways, in front,to see if there was a mob of any kind.We didn’t have the luxury of owning a cell phone then.I managed to reach home and my father drove immediately to the place with me, to pick up mysisters. I thank God all of us were safe.I think it was a couple of days later when a Curfew was imposed. Shops closed. Then after a fewdays, the curfew was lifted for an hour for all to get provisions.I was living in Jalan Gasing at that time. Imagine, curfew and some of us got together andsneaked to another friend’s place, across the road …. Just to play gin rummy! We went there
  14. 14. commando style. Heard and saw an army truck ( with orders to shoot to kill ), ducked amongst thelalang and crept to the house and we did the same thing returning home!What I wrote is a summary. What is more important is, I too, as everyone else do not know whostarted it all.Some would say, the idiots in politics.S by "terang bulan2007": Reader in Malaysia-Today: Read hereLong before the launch of Dr Kuas book, it had already been an open, though unconfirmed secret,that UMNO was behind the May 13 riots.Shortly after the riots, British observer wrote a book on the May 13 riots called "Death of ademocracy". He gave graphic descriptions of Malay soldiers attacking the Chinese, arson, etc,etc. which is likely to be confirmed by Dr Kuas book based on reports and memos filed by Britishdiplomats, correspondents, etc, which have now been de-classified following the 30 year embargoby the British Public Records Office.Subky Latif, now retired former PAS commissioner for KL, wrote an academic piece for thepublication SEAsian Affairs published by the Institute of SEASIAn studies, Singapore in the late70s. Subky was a journalist then and was very close to Razak and Harun, former MB of Selangor andone of the key figures of the May 13 riots.Subky wrote that the riots were definitely a coup to topple Tunku Abdul Rahman who was seen bythe Malay ultras (Mahathir was one of them) to have sold Malay rights to the Chinese.Subky said the riots were planned quickly and purposefully though the identity of the realculprits could not be accurately ascertained.But the riots achieved their main purpose of toppling the Tunku because after that he lost hispower and Razak took over, first as NOC director then PM.And with Razak at the helm, Mahathir who was sacked by Tunku rejoined UMNO, where his MalayDilemma thesis soon became the key fundamentals of the NEP.By the way, the name of the British observer was John Slimming. He was a retired British policeofficer from Hong Kong, was then in KL and he was right in the middle of the riots when ithappened. He thus gave a critical birds eye view of the riots, giving graphic details as he sawthen.Slimming also said he checked and cross checked to have his observations verified. When his bookwas banned, he had read the NOCs white paper on the riots published in the Straits Times a fewmonths after the riots. The govts white paper put the entire blame of the riots on theopposition parties, particularly DAP and Gerakan, and absolved UMNO.Slimming said after reading the NOCs account of the riots, he concluded that it was nothing buta pack of lies and that he would stand by his book aptly called "Death of a democracy".
  15. 15. TIME MAGAZINEs Reporton Malaysia in 1969 : May23, 1969 andJuly, 18, 1969Sunday, May 13, 2007Read here earlier posting: "MAY 13 : Dr. Kuas Latest Book Based on Declassified Documents - Deconstructing the Mythsand the Official Version " FOR THE RECORDS: This was how Time Magazine reported on the May 13, 1969 Race Riots in Malaysia in its May 23, 1969 Issue and the aftermath in the July 18, 1969 Issue MAY 23, 1969
  16. 16. -The cover of Time Magazine, May 23, 1969 IssueThe World (Malaysia) : RACE WAR IN MALAYSIA: Click HERE to original articleMALAYSIAS proud experiment in constructing a multiracial society exploded in the streets of Kuala Lumpur last week. Malaymobs, wearing white headbands signifying an alliance with death, and brandishing swords and daggers, surged into Chinese areasin the capital, burning, looting and killing. In retaliation, Chinese, sometimes aided by Indians, armed themselves with pistolsand shotguns and struck at Malay kampongs (villages). Huge pillars of smoke rose skyward as houses, shops and autos burned.Firemen drew sniper fire as they attempted to douse the flames, and outnumbered police watched helplessly at times as thestreet gangs rampaged. One man, trying to escape from his burning car, was thrown back into it by a howling mob, and died. Bythe time the four days of race war and civil strife had run their course, the General Hospitals morgue was so crowded thatbodies were put into plastic bags and hung on ceiling hooks. Government officials, attempting to play down the extent of thedisaster, insisted that the death toll was only 104. Western diplomatic sources put the toll closer to 600, with most of the victimsChinese.No Longer Satisfied. From its inception, Malaysia has been haunted by racial divisions. By tacit agreement, the Federations4,300,000 Malays under Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman wielded political power. Economic power was largely in the hands of
  17. 17. Malaysias 3,400,000 Chinese. There are also the 1,000,000 Indians and Pakistanis who make up the third major ethnic group.What made it all work was the Tunkus Alliance coalition, in which Malay, Chinese and Indian parties participated. But for sometime the Chinese and Indians had feared that eventually they would be pushed out as laws favoring Malays for schools and jobsbore fruit.The trouble began two weeks ago, when newly formed Chinese opposition parties cut heavily into the Alliances majority inparliamentary elections. It became suddenly apparent that many Chinese were no longer satisfied with just economic hegemony,but wanted a protective share of the political power as well. Nothing was more surely calculated to frighten the Malays, inparticular the Malay "ultras" (right-wingers), who have long preached the doctrine of Malaysia for the Malays. Alarmed, the ultrasbegan to discuss ways of retaining control. At a Malay post-election meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Chinese onlookers began to tauntthose in attendance. Infuriated, the Malays attacked. At least eight Chinese were killed and within 45 minutes fast-spreadingriots forced the Tunku to clamp a 24-hour curfew on the capital.Returning to Singapore. Struggling to restore order as the fighting mushroomed, the Tunku and Deputy Prime Minister Tun AbdulRazak took power into their own hands. Parliament was suspended, as were constitutional guarantees. Total administrativepower was taken by the newly formed, all-powerful National Operations Council headed by Razak, which proceeded to suspendpublication of all Malaysian newspapers for several days. Arrests began. Ninety-three alleged terrorists were bagged in a swoopon a Chinese apartment building in Kuala Lumpur, and Razak reported that all Communists and known sympathizers were beingrounded up. Razak and the Tunku blamed all the troubles on Communist China, which, they charged, had funneled large sums ofmoney to Communist agitators in Malaysia. Later, however, the Tunku backed off slightly, and praised "loyal Chinese elements,"adding that he had been mistaken when he blamed Chinese Communists for all the troubles.As tensions eased late in the week, curfews were lifted long enough to allow householders to go out and buy food. The firesburned on, however, and there were still occasional racial clashes. For some time to come, Malaysia would be a bitterly dividedsociety. Already many Chinese have given up hope: one senior government official spoke of abandoning everything in KualaLumpur and returning to his native Singapore. There was no doubt that if many others followed his example, severe damage toMalaysias once-prospering economy would result. Beyond that was the question of whether the wounds opened last week wouldever sufficiently heal to permit Malaysias diverse peoples to resume their quest for a working multiracial nation.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JULY 18, 1969
  18. 18. -Cover of Time Magazine, July 18, 1969 IssueThe World (Malaysia) : PREPARING FOR A POGROM : Click HERE to original articleResidents of Kuala Lumpur, both rich and poor, used to congregate by the thou sands each night around long rows of food stallsthroughout the city. Many were there for their evening meal of satay (meat roasted on a short skewer of cane and dipped incurry sauce). Others stopped off on their way home for a bowl of soup. In the polyglot capital of Malaysia, this nightly relaxationattracted not only Malays but also citizens of the large Chinese minority and the smaller Indian and Pakistani groups.For the past two months, however, Kuala Lumpurs food stalls have closed early and the street crowds that usually mingledpleasantly now scatter for cover at any unusual sound. In the wake of bloody race riots that may have claimed 2,000 lives,Malaysias peoples have bro ken little bread together; they have probably broken any hope for multiracial harmony for manyyears to come.Last week, though no further rioting occurred, Kuala Lumpur was a city of mounting tensions and widening divisions. In theweeks since the first riots—which terrified primarily the Chinese, since they were the main victims—new incidents have centeredon Indian communities as well. With both minorities now targets for mob attack, the struggle has become more clearly than everthe Malay extremists fight for total hegemony. Whether or not the Malay-controlled police force and emergency governmenthave actually stirred up some of the house-burning, spear-carrying mobs, they seem unwilling to clamp down on them. Strictgovernment censorship has created a news void that forces panicked citizens to keep their transistor radios tuned to the police
  19. 19. band and gives credence to constant ru mors of terror. Chinese secret societies, the backbone of self-defense whenever officialsare distrusted, are flourishing and, justifiably or not, Malaysias minorities are preparing for a pogrom.Benefits at the Top. Malaysias working arrangement for the past 20 years has always kept political power in the hands of Malaysbut allowed the more commercially aggressive Chinese and Indians to accumulate much of the economic power. Outwardly, thiscombi nation brought twin blessings. Malaysia developed a thriving modern economy that produced one of the highest per cap itaincomes in Asia, and at the same time enjoyed the personal freedoms of a liberal democracy. Presiding over the hopefulexperiment was the avuncular figure of 66-year-old Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. His Alliance coalition, dominated byMalays but including both Chinese and Indian parties, won control of Parliament during the election of 1955, two years before independence, and has kept it ever since.For all its practical success, Malaysia never really managed to overcome racial enmities. The Chinese and Indians resented Malay-backed plans favoring the majority, including one to make Malay the official school and government language. The poorer, morerural Malays became jealous of Chinese and Indian prosperity. Perhaps the Alliances greatest failing was that it served to benefitprimarily those at the top. It was not unheard of for a government official to discover a new car in his garage, its donor amystery until a Chinese towkay (rich merchant) mentioned it offhandedly—and then perhaps asked for a favor. For a Chinese orIndian who was not well-off, or for a Malay who was not well-connected, there was little largesse in the system. Even for thosewho were favored, hard feelings persisted. One towkay recently told a Malay official: "If it werent for the Chinese, you Malayswould be sitting on the floor without tables and chairs." Replied the official: "If I knew I could get every damned Chinaman out ofthe country, I would willingly go back to sitting on the floor."Lip Service. Malaysias democracy has been suspended as a result of the riots. Three days after they began, both the Tunku andthe constitutional monarch handed over all their powers to the ambitious Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak. He nowpresides over a state-of-emergency ruling group called the National Operations Council. Heavily dependent on the military andMalay extremists for support, the N.O.C. government today is run by men who believe that Malaysias only hope is to find asolution to the minority "problem"—and are willing to accept a lower standard of living, or even shed the federations non-MalayBorneo states to find it. This month Razak, who as a former Minister of National and Rural Development became committed toprograms for Malay supremacy, announced a new economic program. Though he has not yet given militants free reign and stillmanages to pay lip service to the notion that "prosperity must be spread throughout the nation," his proposals for newgovernment-run industry, rural development and industrial training courses all seem designed solely to benefit the Malaycommunity.Malays could not take over the economy within the foreseeable future. They simply do not have the capital or the know-how tomanage it, especially in the field of rubber production, in which Malaysia is the world leader. However, they do have the powerto wreck the economy—and seemingly the hatred that could make them use it. The majority of Chinese and Indians have come tobelieve, as a result of the riots, that they cannot expect government protection from Malay mobs.In retaliation, Chinese merchants have already raised prices on many goods to Malay buyers and cut off paja (credit), by whichmany a Malay farmer buys seed for his next crop. More ominous still, the conflict, at first only an urban affair, is spreading to thecountryside. Chinese-owned pickup trucks have ceased collecting the fishing catch from the Strait of Malacca. The eagerlyawaited season for durian, a large and delectable strong-scented fruit grown only in Asia, is now at its peak. In any other year,Malay farmers would make small fortunes on this rare fruit. Last week durians were rotting by the roadside because Chinesetrucks were not sent for them—as they are not being sent anywhere in Malaysias rice bowl. Economies will not long endure thatkind of standoff, and the result is likely to be fresh explosions of racial strife.
  20. 20. FAR EASTERN ECONOMICREVIEW sReports onMalaysias Race Riot in1969Tuesday, May 15, 2007 FAR EASTERN ECONOMIC REVIEWVol. 64, No. 21, 18/24 May 1969, 437MALAYSIA: Requiem for Democracy?BYBOB REECEKuala Lumpur: "Democracy is dead in this country. It died at the hands of the opposition parties who triggered off the eventsleading to this violence."Such was the epitaph delivered last week by Tun Dr Ismail, Malaysias new Minister for Home Affairs, after the worst racial riotingthe country has ever experienced. Hatreds flared up in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of May 13, and by early this week, theofficial number of dead stood at 137, with more than 300 injured, hundreds of houses gutted and scores of vehicles burnt.In the early hours of Sunday last week, it had become obvious that the ruling Alliance Party had received a major setback in thegeneral election although it had managed to retain a simple parliamentary majority. Penang had been lost to the Gerakan Party;Kelantan had been held by the PMIP (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party), and the Alliance was struggling to retain control of Perak andSelangor.The Alliance had almost certainly lost its old two-thirds majority which had enabled it to amend the Constitution; three of itsministers and two parliamentary secretaries had lost their seats; its share of the valid votes had dropped by 9% since 1964 to49%; and it faced the prospect of a vociferous and effective (largely Chinese-based) Opposition in the Federal Parliament for thefirst time since Independence.Foreign correspondents in Kuala Lumpur who had observed the elections filed despatches praising the Malaysian democraticprocess and predicting five years of peace, prosperity and more efficient government. The Tunkus initial reaction was naturallyone of disappointment, but he conceded that the people had wanted a strong opposition, which they had now got.
  21. 21. Exultant supporters of the Democratic Action Party and the Gerakan filled the capitals streets on Sunday and Monday night withtheir flag-waving cavalcades of vehicles. Their delight in breaking the Alliances myth of invincibility inevitably irritated Malaysupporters of the Government. Malays were also alarmed by boasts that the Chinese had now achieved some measure of politicalpower.By 2pm on Tuesday, the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association), which had suffered badly at the polls, announced that it wouldwithdraw from the Cabinet while remaining within the Alliance.Tun Razak pronounced sentence on the Chinese voters who had been warned before the elections that unless they voted MCA,they would forfeit all Chinese representation in the Government. At UMNO (United Malay National Organisation) headquarters inBatu Road, the feeling was that democracy had gone too far -- in other words, that the political hegemony of the Malays,papered over in the Alliance by the multi-racial front of MCA and MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress), was in real danger. A non-Malay Mentri Besar in both Selangor and Perak seemed dangerously likely.Late on Tuesday afternoon, young Malays from the whole of Selangor began to assemble outside the residence of the SelangorMentri Besar, Dato Harun. A retaliatory march had been planned by the UMNO youth to end in a rally at Suleiman Court near BatuRoad, but police permission was withheld. While people were still assembling for this parade, trouble broke out in the nearbyMalay section of Kampong Bahru, where two Chinese lorries were burnt. By 6.30 pm, a crowd was raging down Jalan Raja Mudatowards Batu Road. Another group came out of Kampong Bahru into Jalan Hale, another exit from the Malay section into theChinese areas.By 7.15pm I could see the mobs swarming like bees at the junction of Jalan Raja Muda and Batu Road. More vehicles weresmashed, and Chinese shop-houses set on fire. The Chinese and Indian shopkeepers of Batu Road formed themselves into a"district defence force" armed with whatever they could find -- parangs, poles, iron bars and bottles.I watched one old man pathetically grasp a shovel. Men, standing in the back of a truck travelling up and down the road, urgedthe people to unite. A 16-year-old boy tore strips from a piece of cloth to be used for identification.When the Malay invading force withdrew as quickly as it had arrived, the residents took their revenge. Shop-fronts and carssuspected of being Malay-owned were smashed or burnt. Several attempts were made to set fire to the nearby UMNOheadquarters where three propaganda jeeps had already been set on fire. A bus, whose Malay driver had allegedly knocked overtwo Chinese on a bicycle, was also attacked.The police arrived at about 9pm but did not remain in the area. Later, truck-loads of Federal Reserve Units (riot squads) and theRoyal Malay Regiment drove past. The Chinese in the street ran into their shop-houses as soon as the convoy came into sight, butwere quickly out on the greets again when they had passed. By midnight, I found the street almost deserted but sounds ofgunfire and the glows of fires showed that trouble had flared up elsewhere.From my own observations, the curfew was not imposed on Tuesday night with equal rigidity in all areas. In the side streets offJalan Hale, I could see bands of Malay youths armed with parangs and sharpened bamboo spears assembled in full view of troopsposted at road junctions.Meanwhile, at Batu Road, a number of foreign correspondents saw members of the Royal Malay Regiment firing into Chineseshop-houses for no apparent reason. The road itself was completely deserted, and no sniping or other violence by the residentshad been observed by the journalists.On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, troops and police were in effective control, although incidents were still taking place. Atone point, Malay youths came out of nearby kampongs to drop bricks on passing cars from a footbridge on the Federal Highwaywhich leads to the airport. Another nasty scene saw groups of armed Chinese youths attempting to make their way to Malaykampong areas.By Friday, curfews had been imposed in Malacca, Negri Sembilan, parts of Perak, southern Kedah, and Penang as well as
  22. 22. Selangor. Six battalions of the Royal Malay Regiment together with Federal Reserve Units and police were spread very thinly overthis large area, and all army and police reserves were mobilised.The formation of a Civil Defence Corps was announced, and "loyal" youths were asked to volunteer. Hundreds of houses, desertedduring the panic, were set on fire, but by Thursday the Fire Brigade appeared to be on the job. The presence of the police andthe army had restored a measure of confidence by Saturday morning, although the Government ignored earlier offers byopposition party leaders to co-operate in damping down the violence.In a speech on Wednesday last week, Tunku Abdul Rahman said the riots were due to an attempt by disloyal elements tooverthrow the Government by force of arms: "The terrorists, under the cover of political parties, are trying for a comeback."This interpretation of events was repeated by the new Minister for Information, Enche Hamzah, and by Tun Abdul Razak at pressconferences on Friday. According to Deputy Prime Minister Razak, the Labour Party boycott of the elections had only been afeint.The real strategy of the communists had been to "intimidate" people into voting for the opposition parties. "The unseen hand ofcommunism," elaborated Tun Ismail, "had manoeuvred events using the opposition parties as its tools."In a second speech, the Tunku said that a great deal of money had been poured into the country by communist agents: "Theybranded the MCA as pro-Malay... it was astounding to see the response they got through intimidation and threats." By contrast,the Tunku added that the communists had earlier tried to prevent the elections and took the opportunity of parading in theirarmed thousands for the funeral procession of a youth reported to have been killed in self-defence by police when he wasdiscovered pasting up anti-election posters.While it was true that some Mao-slogans and flags were seen during this parade, the discipline of the 14,000-strong crowd intheir eight-mile march may have been due to genuine restraint rather than to communist organisation.The violence, which the Tunku described as triggered off by the behaviour of opposition supporters after the announcement ofthe election results, had provided, he said, a situation which the communists "had always tried to create". As if to demonstratethis, it was announced on Friday night that "93 hardcore terrorists" had been arrested in a building in Batu Road with home-madearms and were alleged to have confessed to the intention of attacking innocent people. Another 60 "armed communists" weretaken into custody over the weekend.A day earlier the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had proclaimed a State of Emergency under Section 150 of the Constitution. This gavethe Government powers similar to those which it assumed in 1964 during the Indonesian confrontation. On Thursday afternoon,the local press was suspended until censorship regulations could be drawn up but no attempt was made to supervise reports sentout by foreign correspondents. (However, on Saturday, some overseas journalists had their curfew passes removed by armedtroops.)Straits Times editor-in-chief, Tan Sri Hoffman, made an impressive plea against these official moves both editorially and at apress conference. (This was particularly significant both because of the standing of his newspaper and because of his ownreputation -- especially for courage during the Japanese occupation.) He remarked to Information Minister Hamzah that onlyMalaysians were to be prevented from finding out what was going on. In reply, Hamzahs explanation was that the ban was due tothe inflammatory nature of articles printed by the local press, before and during the elections. Hoffman protested: "Is a civilservant going to tell me what is inflammatory and what is not inflammatory?"Tun Razak revealed that the National Operations Council, of which he is the head, would consist of the Ministers for Informationand Home Affairs as well as representatives of the police and the armed forces. A mini-cabinet was also to be formed, includingMCA ministers Tan Siew Sin and Kaw Kai Bo, but it was not clear what its relationship would be with the Council. Tun Razak isstill responsible to the Tunku, but all the powers under Emergency Regulations are vested in him. The Council has responsibilityfor restoring law and order and will be built on a hierarchy of councils at state and district levels.It is too early to write an obituary for Malaysian democracy -- all the facts are not yet known. However, since they may nevercome to light, speculation is inevitable. It seems that the Alliance was unable to accept the criticisms which the electorate --
  23. 23. Malay, Chinese and Indian -- registered at the polls.The sole rays of hope are the peace which prevailed in the former Labour Party stronghold in Penang where Dr Lim Cheong Euhas been sworn in as Chief Minister, and in cholera-stricken Kelantan, where PMIPs Dato Asri announced immediately after theelection results that people of all races in his state were to be considered to be"Kelantanese".