A guest writer over at Malaysia-Today blog, Nurihsan Majid in an article titled Time for a non-race based agenda, which basically is a political plug for the PKR approach towards the National Economic Policy (NEP), wrote the following:
“The NEP was launched to remedy the socio-economic inequality that led to the May 13, 1969 racial riots.”
Well, that’s patently incorrect!
While socio-economic inequality regrettably did exist, what had led to the May 13 racial riot was not that. It was true that the Malays grew disenchanted with then Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Perikatan (Alliance) party, resulting in massive losses for his coalition.
The true reason leading to the riots was the ruling Perikatan party, or to be more specific, its dominant component, UMNO, losing so many seats that it was on the verge of surrendering Selangor to the DAP, and very nearly losing Perak to the PPP of the Seenivasegam brothers.
That was what caused the riots!
The Selangor UMNO could not cope with the thought of losing Malaysia’s premier state (at that time) to the Chinese-Indian parties …..
Well, in malaysiakini, Dr Kua Kia Siong, political activist, author, ex-ISA detainee and now principal of New Era College in Selangor, has published a new book on the May 13 incident arguing that the riots was a plot to oust then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman rather than the spontaneous clashes between Malay and Chinese that some had written as official history.
I wonder whether Dr Kia’s book would list those points that I highlighted, that the UMNO top echelon, was so stricken with fear that they would lose their dominant political positions. The Tunku became a convenient scapegoat for the Tun Razak camp.
In writing his book, Dr Kia had researched newly declassified British documents including foreign dispatches and confidential reports of 1969, now made available in the Public Records Office in London.
The May 13th racial riots, according to Dr Kia, has provided UMNO with a realisation that the civil disorder would become for them a useful event, a precedence, to be recalled to threaten anyone who voices opposition to their policies (eg. by waving book on May 13 and talking about tebuans, and keris dripping with blood). With that 1969 tragedy, the party embarked on a “dangerous trend of fascism” which continues until this day.
He 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.”
According to our learned doctor, 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’ recently in 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 to 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 sincere exceptions.
Unfortunately the kampong folks have bought that polemical propaganda of bangsa wholesale, which explains in some measure why most Malays would vote for UMNO.
For example, recall the *9.2* million reasons why the Chinese Malaysians were insultingly 'accused' of wanting to 'divide' the Malays! And the man who would never apologise because he 'fought' for bangsa and agama! Wonderful teflon-ising formula!
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 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 Chadra Muzzafar, and some token BN small frys?
I wonder who was the acting PM in 1996 when UMNO released its hoodlums on the Apcet II conference at a KL hotel to physically abuse and intimidate international and local delegates? [note: Dr Mahathir was away then on a visit to Ghana].
May 13, Ops Lallang, Aptet II, Mat
* I've to admit I wasn't sufficiently clear on this - after visitor gua bay song commented on it, I realise I hadn't clarify that it's not the Mat Rempit in general but those converted into Mat Cemerlang to act as someone's Brown Shirts