Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fears of another May 13 justified?

I refer to sweetie Jacqueline Ann Surin's post in The Nut Graph titled Wishing for another 13 May which she penned as a comment on both the film Tanda Putera or as I re-titled it, Tandas Pordah wakakaka, and the event of May 13 in 1969.

Jacqueline Ann Surin

She wrote: I watched Tanda Putera. And two years ago, I had the opportunity to research the events of 13 May 1969 for a workshop presentation. One of the texts I read was The May 13 Tragedy: A Report of The National Operations Council, published in October 1969.

Razak, who was the National Operations Council (NOC) head, said this in the preface: “The lesson of the recent disturbances is clear. This nation cannot afford to perpetuate a system that permits anybody to say or do things which would set one race against another. If the events of [13 May] are not to occur again, if this nation is to survive, we must make sure that subjects which are likely to engender racial tensions are not exploited by irresponsible opportunists.”

If Razak were alive today, I imagine he would be sorely disappointed at what his party’s current leadership has allowed to happen since 1969. Umno members and pressure groups are unafraid to threaten violence or the dismissal of rights against non-Malay, non-Muslim Malaysians. Here are some examples from seven years ago, lest we think there isn’t a pattern emerging.


I opine her assessment of what Tun Razak would have said about the current UMNO propensity to resort to racist propaganda, threats of violence against non-Malays and dismissal of rights of non-Malay Malaysians, notwithstanding what the late PM might have written on the preface of the NOC's The May 13 Tragedy: A Report of The National Operations Council (see above), may be incorrect if we read what Dr Kua Kia Siong had written in 2007, as revealed by Malaysiakini.

Dr Kua Kia Siong, political activist, author, ex-ISA detainee and at the time of the Malaysiakini report in 2007 principal of New Era College in Selangor, researched then declassified British documents including foreign dispatches and confidential reports of 1969 before he published a new book on the May 13 incident.

Dr Kua

In it he revealed that the riot was a plot to oust then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) rather than the spontaneous clashes between Malay and Chinese that some had written as official history.

And who ousted TAR? None other than his deputy Tun Razak, daddy of current PM Najib, displaying once again UMNO's often touted 'Malay loyalty' (wakakaka) and setting a trend for treachery in UMNO.

So I have great difficulty believing the sincerity of Tun Razak's message in that NOC document's preface, apart from the likely partisan nature of the NOC report.

But nonetheless, what he said about 'If the events of [13 May] are not to occur again, if this nation is to survive, we must make sure that subjects which are likely to engender racial tensions are not exploited by irresponsible opportunists' is undoubtedly correct.

And Dr Kia will no doubt tell us, quite correctly, that UMNO leaders in the years since Tun Razak and Tun Hussein have totally ignored Tun Razak's exhortation, to wit, about making '... sure that subjects which are likely to engender racial tensions are not exploited by irresponsible opportunists'.

The May 13 racial riots, according to Dr Kia, provided UMNO with a realization that the civil disorder would become for them a useful event, a precedence, to be recalled to threaten anyone who voiced opposition to their policies (eg. by waving book on May 13 and talking about tebuans, and keris dripping with blood).

Thus he very correctly concluded that the 1969 May 13 incident was in fact a boon to the party who would continuously exploit the tragedy on a “dangerous trend of fascism” which continues until this day. Indeed, and as we know, especially so in the past 5 years.

Dr Kia lamented: “It was fascism in a way how these hoodlums behaved like the fascist movement with the help of the police. It is the worst thing that could happen to Malaysian politics and society.”

I haven't had the opportunity to read Dr Kia’s book (other than what I gleaned from Malaysiakini' reports), thus I wonder whether he listed those points that I have on several occasions mentioned about the cause of May 13, that the then UMNO top echelon was so stricken with fear after the 1969 election tsunami about losing their dominant political positions that the Razak camp resorted to actions such as, firstly, initiating the riot and subsequently, removing Tunku after turning Bapa Merdeka into a convenient scapegoat for the UMNO election loss cum ensuing riot.

According to Dr Kia, the May 13 riots also brought wide-reaching impact on the position of Malay special privileges which has changed to the present “disgusting usage of ketuanan melayu (Malay dominance)”.

I had touched on ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ in my 2007 post Is God black, white, brown, yellow or green?, where I stated :

One could argue that the series of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ propaganda and assertions have been nothing more than unscrupulous avaricious posturing by politicians t
o exploit a Malay fear of being displaced (economically, politically, etc) in their own land by other ethnic groups. In other words, it’s the politicians’ grubby greedy interests.

In that statement, I voiced my belief that it has been due to the greed (for power, etc) by UMNO leaders that the supremacist concept has always been propagated, rather than a real concern for the Malay people - there are of course a few very rare sincere exceptions.

In recent times, we witness continuing exploitation of Malay fears for those UMNO leaders own greed. And why would UMNO ever discard a winning formula?

Unfortunately the kampung folks have bought that polemical propaganda of bangsa terancam wholesale, which explains in some measure why most Malays would vote for UMNO.

Dr Kia reminded us: “We saw it not only in 1969, but in 1987, 1996 etc. It is the biggest destruction of our society."

He was referring to UMNO Youth’s role in the ‘Operasi Lalang’ clampdown in 1987 and the mob which stormed into an international conference on East Timor in 1996.

I wonder who was the Education Minister in 1987 (wakakaka) who sparked off the events with a grossly insensitive policy, leading to the necessity for ‘Ops Lalang’ which saw the incarceration of many opposition party leaders, political activists like Dr Kia and Dr Chandra Muzzafar (wakakaka), and some token BN small frys?

And I wonder who was the acting PM in 1996 (wakakaka again) when UMNO released its hoodlums on the Apcet II conference at a KL hotel to physically abuse and intimidate international (and local) delegates?

Anyway, back to sweetie Jacqueline Annn Surin - firstly, sweetie lamented the fabrications in the Tandas Pordah of Lim Kit Siang urinating at the flag post in the Selangor MB's mansion in 1969. As we now know, the director of Tandas Pordah had apologized to Lim Kit Siang for that bullshit which we knew all along for its unmistakable UMNO-ish stench.

She also criticized the director for omitting those "reports that the violence was part of an orchestrated move by certain elements within UMNO, which encouraged the violence to bring about Tunku Abdul Rahman’s downfall”, as revealed by both Dr Kia and also John G Butcher's May 13: A Review of Some Controversies in Accounts of the Riots.

Sweetie said that "These facets, including that of a “regime crisis”, are unfortunately and perhaps predictably missing from Tanda Putera’s screenplay." But of course, my dear, considering who the director is, wakakaka.

Finally she concluded: History shows us that when minority groups are repeatedly demonised, it becomes that much easier to provoke violence against them. What’s also clear in Malaysia is that when minority groups are threatened, there is little chance the state will proffer much protection.

Utusan Malaysia repeatedly gets away with malicious lies and sedition unless it is sued in a civil suit. And until today, Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali has yet to be charged for exhorting the burning of Malay-language bibles, while Jakim uses the Friday sermon to call for a “holy struggle” against non-Muslims who use “Allah”.

In its 18 July 1969 edition, TIME magazine wrote the following in Malaysia: Preparing for a Pogrom: “… Malaysia’s minorities are preparing for a pogrom … The majority of Chinese and Indians have come to believe, as a result of the riots, that they cannot expect government protection from Malay mobs.”

Forty-four years down the line, the signs point to elements in Malaysia wanting to create another 13 May. And from the government’s behaviour thus far, it would seem that minority groups would have reason to doubt that their government would protect them from any such attack.

While it's true that the state apparatus will be unlikely or reluctant to protect non-Malays should there be a racial riot, I respectfully disagree with Jacqueline on the likelihood of another May 13, recalling Sun Tzu's dictum 'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.' 

What I mean is that UMNO has successfully got away with its various threats of violence and thus its party objectives (getting its own way be that political, economic, educational or social structuring, etc) without the need to perpetuate another May 13 violence, as mentioned by Dr Kia in 1987 and 1996, and as we all are only too well aware, in recent times.

UMNO has in accordance with Sun Tze's dictum successfully subdued its enemy without fighting. So why would there be a need for it to initiate another May 13 riot when it has been getting its way all along?

If we recall, the May 13 riot came about because UMNO was politically threatened (incidentally, for the first time) and it felt there was a need to remove an obstacle (TAR) from its path towards how it (UMNO) should strategize to remain in power and stay dominant in politics, economy, education and social structuring, etc.

Look, if there ever was a time for another May 13, it should have been on 08 March 2008 when it lost even more than it had in 1969.

Thankfully for our nation, the AAB-Najib team (notwithstanding an Old Man of the Sea seating sinisterly on their collective shoulders, wakakaka) must have assessed UMNO's position rather differently from the Razak camp of 1969, and that day (08 March 2008) passed by peacefully. Obviously the UMNO of 2008 felt differently from the UMNO of 1969.

Since then UMNO has had 5 years of experience on opposition rule in Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Kelantan and for a while, Perak. Thus 2013 wasn't felt as a humongous loss, and in fact in some cases, even an improved win for PM Najib.

Today UMNO is stronger than ever, in full control of the police, military and civil services, and I cannot see it wishing to initiate another civil riot. 

The chaos of a civil riot a la May 13 will not just be felt socially and politically but more importantly, in Malaysia's commerce, economy and development. These will bring disaster to Malaysia. Would UMNO want that?

Additionally, today's greater globalization will not leniently allow an UMNO government to get away with condoning or even covertly supporting/sponsoring a civil riot against some sectors of its citizens.

Much as I love sweetie Jacqueline, I have to disagree with her on her fears of UMNO wishing for another May 13, as UMNO will have more to lose than to gain.


  1. For those fat cats within umno, another May13 is definitely a no no. They have MORE to loose.

    For the up & coming mid-level race champions within umno, another May13 is a distinct possibility. 1st they can re-enact Razak' putsch to remove Tunku, ie remove unwanted top echelon leaders. 2nd create an ketuanan champion image for themselves within the umno followers, vis-s-vis the water-skipping mamak. Any bloodshed is ONLY a unfortunate collateral damage!

    For the majority of the lower level umno die-hards, blur-sotongs & pemerkasa ketuanan, another May13 is a must to teach those pendatang about who is the boss of the country. Most of them r dying for a fight, after GE12. Bloodshed is the price worth for its implementation!

    So, which group within umno, would prevails. KT?

  2. 'The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.'
    So UMNO is putting into the public at large fears of another May 13. They don't have to start another May 13, just the fear of it will be equally effective to drive the Malay flocks towards UMNO in the polls.
    How many more GE's can they last using this strategy? It all depends on how the Malays at large can become dumb, dumber and dumbest.

  3. Also now, the Malay are owners of businesses in town and cities and workers in the many shops etc, and when there is a riot like May 13, all races will lose now.

    Zuo De

  4. It is not so much that Umno will actually start another May 13 now when most of the economy is already in their hands, because this will be in effect cutting off their own nose just to hurt the non Malays.

    It is this...."when minority groups are repeatedly demonised, it becomes that much easier to provoke violence against them." So when will be that point in time when such invocation comes to a boil ? When our country faces the spectre of bankruptcy.....that's when the minority group will be scapegoat-ed as the evil, greedy pendatangs who had been sucking dry the wealth of the country and responsible for the bumiputera masses unable to make ends meet and in destitute. The real thieves and robbers will very conveniently point the fingers at this minority group and it will be convincing as this group had been repeatedly demonised for decades.

  5. Hydrogen bombs are the ultimate lose-lose weapon, and all during the height of the Cold War, that prevented their use. However, nobody could be sure that accidents, misunderstandings and tit-for-tat escalations would not spiral out of control.

    We assume UMNOites will act and react rationally because their extensive business interests now mean that they will have more to lose than gain from doing a May 13. However, people don't necessarily think rationally, and miscalculations do happen.

    After 56 years in power, UMNO has acquired all the mentality of "divine right to rule".
    March 8, 2008 didnt' come close to UMNO actually losing power. The acid test will be if and when , in spite of all their gerrymandering, machinations and manipulations UMNO actually looks like losing Putrajaya.
    At that point, the "nuclear bomb" option may well look attractive to UMNO.

    Ubah 2013 was our best shot. Frankly, I don't see any likelihood of a change of government in my lifetime. Opposition fortunes may ebb and flow, but the will remain the Opposition.

    Penang may last out a bit longer, but will throw in the towel eventually as the cost of cold-fridge treatment accumulates.


    Al Shabaab strikes...

    In the name of Allah, the Compassionate and the Merciful.....
    Yeah, Right....

    One thing I realised days after the crisis broke....a lot of ordinary peaceful, non-violent Muslims privately sympathise with these Jihadists...

    Yeah, they may not actively support terrorists, but they sure do empathise with these killers of women and children.

    But Chin Peng's ashes cannot come back, even 24 years after the Peace Agreement.......

    hmmm..... I suppose one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter...


    Kedah Chinese who voted BN to "punish" PAS are now beginning to regret it as "1Malaysia" BN Administration bares its Agama dan Bangsa fangs.

    1. Between the devil and the deep blue.......hehehe.....what's the difference when in the frying pan or when into the fire ....? hehehe. Writing on the wall.....gird our loins and work like crazy to accumulate enough to the their famous refrain...kalau tak suka, KELUAR lah....

    New detention without trial legislation bulldozed through Parliament.

    For me, that pretty much shuts the argument about "good" BN or "good" UMNO MPs.

    There is no such thing as a Good BN or Good UMNO MP.

    Even someone like Saifuddin Abdullah or Ong Tee Kiat, that Ktemoc has offered as BN MPs we should support, if they had been in Parliament, would have voted with the rest of BN to pass the unjust law without batting an eye.

    ABU !