Kua’s thesis suggests that there was a grander political design behind the episode, which from the beginning was intended to create a new political agenda and new leadership.
He attributes this to a younger Malay group dissatisfied with the aristocratic, pro-British the Tunku.
In any event, the Tunku effectively stepped aside as emergency powers to rule by decree were (temporarily) placed in the hands of a National Operations Council headed by his deputy Tun Abdul Razak – father of current deputy prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The Tunku remained prime minister until September 1970 but had little authority any more.
In 1971 he also stepped down as president of UMNO after virulent criticism by the Malay “Young Turks,” headed by Mahathir Mohamad, the future Prime Minister.
Extracts of Dr Kua's book 'May 13' as follows:
The King proclaimed a state of emergency. The National Operations Council headed by Tun Razak was formed. Tun Razak was still responsible to the Tunku, but all the powers under Emergency Regulations were vested in him. [...]
The new information minister Hamzah Abu Samah and Tun Razak gave a press conference pinning the blame for the riots on communist infiltration of the opposition parties. [...]
Less than a week after the riots, the reins of power had effectively passed to Tun Razak, indicating that there had been a plot to bring about the coup d’etat.
“The exact relationship between Tun Razak and the Tunku is not clear. In public Tun Razak says he is directly responsible to the Tunku but he has made it clear privately that he is completely in charge of the country. This could mean the beginning of a process of withdrawal by the Tunku as an effective PM”. [...]
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