13 May, 2007

Today, May 13th !

Today May 13th, Sunday, is mother's day.

Do you also remember that on May 13th 1969 Malaysia witnessed the first ugly race riot ? Details for what we know ominously as the “May 13th Incident”, and are intentionally suppressed.!

The May 13 was a pretext for staging that coup… I am not the first person who said it was a coup d’etat but I am providing the documents to show how it was a coup d’etat.” (11 May 2007, “Unveiling the ‘May 13′ riots”, Malaysiakini.com)

There is a tiny story behind the ‘making-of’ Dr. Kua Kia Soong’s latest book “May 13″. Find out from Elizabeth Wong.

"May 13 - Before and After"

( Excerpts of this book by (the late) Tunku Abdul Rahman, then Prime Minister of malaysia, published in September 1969 )

"Victory" on the rampage

No one was more surprised, I am sure, than the DAP and the newly-formed Gerakan with their unexpected successes. They felt not only cocky, but downright arrogant. They lost no time in arranging to celebrate their "victories."

Dr. Tan Chee Khoon, who won his seat in Batu Selangor, with a big majority asked for Police permission to hold a procession by members of his Gerakan Party. A permit was granted on condition that it followed a route authorised by the Police.

(On 12th May) Dr. Tan's victory procession was held on an unprecedented scale, politically speaking, and was accompanied by acts of rowdyism and hooliganism and in utter defiance of the Police after the main procession had ended.

The procession went through unauthorised routes, jamming traffic everywhere as a consequence. With victory emotions on the loose and - there can be no other explanation - Communists urging them on, the victors made a serious blunder, and blunder it was.

The procession shouting its way along turned into Jalan Campbell and Jalan Hale - roads on the edge of an leading into Kampong Bahru where 30,000 Malays have lived in peace for years beneath the palms in their own settlement in the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

Jalan Hale is the main street of Kampong Bahru. There they proceeded to provoke the Malays, gibing at them and throwing their victory in their faces in the midst of what is virtually an UMNO stronghold.

On Tuesday, May 13th Gerakan Party's Yeoh Tech Chye, the President of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (who won big in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur) made an open apology in the press for his party supporters having caused such inconvenience to the public.

But the emotional damage had already been done.

I returned to Kuala Lumpur about lunchtime from Alor Star. My Principal Private Secretary informed me that he had received news that a counter demonstration was to be held on May 13th as the Malays were very annoyed.

UMNO was going to stage a procession to celebrate it's victory and that a crowd would gather in the compound of the house of the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Dato Harun bin Idris, in Jalan Raja Muda and that the procession would start from there.

I was personally worried that the procession might lead to trouble. It was not easy to stop it at this stage as the Opposition had already held processions, and permission had already been obtained for UMNO to have theirs.

May 13th

..…A phone call came through at 6.45pm that an ugly incident had taken place along Jalan Raja Muda in which some Chinese were assaulted.

Immediately afterwards Enche Mansor, the Kuala Lumpur Police Traffic Chief, and one or two others, came to see me and said that there had been killing. The city had been placed under immediate curfew as at 7 pm. The Security Forces were out, the army called in.

Naturally I could not sleep that night, my mind upset with the tragedy that had overtaken our peaceful capital and nation. I went out side my balcony outside my room looking down on the city in the valley by night. Flames were burning high in several areas, near Kampong Bharu and to the North.

Kuala Lumpur was a city on fire and it was a sight that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.

While they were gathered in the compound of Dato Harun's residence news came through suddenly that Chinese had attacked Malays in Setapak, a mile or two to the North, as they were on their way to join the procession starting from Jalan Raja Nuda.

The news created a storm of indignation; hell broke loose. Two Chinese passing by on motor cycles were attacked and killed. And so the riots of May 13th began, triggering off violence unprecedented in the history of Malaysa.

(A state of emergency was declared on May 16th and a National Operations Council set up to deal with all matters pertaining to it. The first act: round-the-clock curfew.)

..Within 48 hours it was possible for the Council to approve relaxation in the curfew in many areas of the country.

Even in the most sensitive ares, Kampong Bharu and the Jalan Chow Kit sections of Kuala Lumpur, where the violence had originated, it was possible after one week from the outbreak to announce curfew relaxations there.

There was no insecurity in the East Coast states. In Johore and Negri Sembilan no incidents had occurred at any time. In Malacca there had been a few minor troubles and they had now ceased as quickly as they had started.

There were no incidents taking place in Perak and Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

Apart from Kuala Lumpur, the only sections in the country needing the strictest vigilance were in the Betong salient, the rural areas along the Kedah and Perak borders with Thailand.

The general situation, however, was far from normal, mainly for one particular reason - rumours.

During the height of the disturbances rumour-mongering was wild and widespread as always happen anywhere in time of riot.

(From " The Race Riots of May 13th 1969 ")

Malaysiakini unveils book on May 13 riots

I really think more people should come forward and share their eye witness account on the May 1969 riots. It may help us debunk the various myths surrounding the event, it may help us refute the government’s propaganda on this unfortunate scene and probably can be a saving measure for hopes of better race relations between Malaysians in the future. Read here

May 13th documents declassified.

What actually happened during the 1969 tragedy
May 11, 07 1:11pm

The series of events surrounding the 'May 13' riot has been documented by Dr Kua Kia Soong in his latest book May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969 which will be launched on Sunday in conjunction with the 38th anniversary of the tragedy.

This compilation, based on various sets of foreign dispatches and confidential reports at the time - which were declassified recently and made available at the Public Records Office in London - has been dubbed as the first credible account on the incident.

"The real circumstances surrounding the worst racial riot in the history of Malaysia have so far not been made available to the Malaysian public. The official version is fraught with contradictions and inadequacies to which few pay credence," Kua wrote in the book.

Excerpts and summary of the chronology of events based on the declassified documents taken from Kua's book here.



Blogger J.T. said...

I almost forgot about this significant day until you mentioned it. I was too young to know what was happening.
I was told that we were living in Ipoh. From what I can remember of mum's experience - she said that the PM made an announcement of TV about the unrest. Mum ran out to tell dad, who was talking to our neighbour, at that time. As dad and neighbour were walking into the house to catch the PM's speech, a phone call came in. Dad was deployed to KL immediately. We did not see dad for a few weeks. He was missing us. We went up to KL (relatives house in Brickfields) on his request but mum took us back to Ipoh soon enough. We were miserable because we could not go out and play as much as we did in our own home. Curfew hours continued for awhile.
Dad told mum that when he was in up in the air, in a helicopter, he saw KL on fire. Bodies were floating in the Klang river. A very sad state.
Thanks for the excerpt of "May 13 - Before and After" and the link to Susan Loone's blog. Gives me more info.

May 13, 2007 5:22 PM  
Blogger Billy said...

That evening, I was attending a class on journalism at the Commercial and Technical Institute in old PJ town, just behind the bus depot. At about 7.30 pm, the principal came hurriedly into our class to tell us to go home immediately. We went down to the bus depot and as we arrived there, three buses drew up. After switching off the engine and the lights, both dirver and conductor ran helter skelter away into the dark. Sensing that there would be no buses coming our way, we, the seven students comprising of Chinese, Malays and a Sikh, of the class, decided to take a long walk to town using the Old Klang Road. Until then, we were still not aware of what was happening in the city. As we approached the Puchong police station, we heard shouts coming from both sides of the road and these appeared with parangs, iron bars and sticks. They were the Chinese residing in that area. Although I told them that we were Chinese, they were hell bent on getting at us. At that very moment, a police jeep appeared and a corporal told us to get into the jeep immediately. We squeezed into the vehicle and I could hear the other policemen in the jeep cocking their rifles to shoot at the crowd. The crowd retreated into the darkness. As we were approaching the police station, we suddenly heard bottles being thrown on the road. We suspected that the crowd's intention was to puncture the tyres of the jeep to get at us. Fortunately, the driver was skilful to manouver the vehicle away from the broken bottles and glasses. We felt so safe once we checked into the station. By then we could see the city skyline orange red in colour and it finally dawned upon us that something worse has taken place. At about 10.30 pm, a police land rover pulled up into the station. At the back of the vehicle was a Chinese lady in yellow cardigan cradling the head of a man (husband) who was fatally shot in the chest. I was told he was going to work (night shift) and had not realised that a curfew was in place. After cycling some distance, a soldier shot him point blank. By midnight, more and more people arrived to take refuge at the police station. Needing to sleep, I sought the permission of a police sergeant to sleep in an old VW parked alongside the road just outside the station. At about 6.30 am, I was awaken by heavy engine sounds. I rose up to have a look and next to the VW, was a convoy of 4 military trucks. From the back of the trucks, jumped a number of Malay youths, with cloth tied around their foreheads and carrying spears and parangs. One of them came to where I was resting. He looked into the car from the side window, saw me and gave me the cold stare. For a moment, I thought this was it. After a couple of seconds, he walked away, went into the station to have his coffee with his friends. After the "breakfast", the youths boarded the military trucks and were transported away.

At about 11.00 am, a police told the crowd that one of the jeeps was heading for Pudu and would like to know whether anyone would like a lift. The stop would be at the Pudu Police Station, and I was one of them who was lucky enough to be given a ride.

Along the way, at the ceramic factory at the 3rd mile old klang road, I witnessed first hand, two soldiers kicking an old Chinese man lying on the road. And they did it relentlessly.

More crowd awaited me at the Pudu Police Station. At about 2.30 pm, I was told that should anyone wish to have a lift to Jalan Cochrane, I was to inform a certain officer to arrange for transportation. I stayed in this area and by the time I reached home, it was close to 4.00 pm.

May 14, 2007 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was 6 yrs.old and my dad a student at MU. We stayed in Malacca, remembered my mum worried about his safety. He ride his bike all the way from PJ and told us he was stopped by both Malay and Chinese. God saved him! He is a fair Malay and able to converse in Chinese.
For me this a lesson for both race and what is needed is tolerance for all of us.

May 15, 2007 5:56 PM  

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