May 13: Official Version Vs Declassified Documents Version
Reading the Malaysiakini report dated Oct 12, 07 entitled ‘Malay capitalists’ not behind May 13′ I can’t help but wonder how the powers-that-be took great pains to rebut the allegations and accusations that the riots were planned by Malay capitalists as concluded by Suaram’s director Dr Kua Kia Soong’s in his book May 13 – Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969.
In fact the Utusan Group has republished first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s book, May 13: Before and After and its obvious that the publication of this book was to dispel Dr. Kua’s conclusions.
However this book ‘Before and After’ was written by Tunku shortly after the May 13 incident and what was never reveal was Tunku’s statement from his residence in Penang, 1972, what Asiaweek’s M.G.G Pillai had alleged in the 17 February 1978 issue of that magazine and Tunku’s interview with Asiaweek, published on 10 May 1985.
The writer wishes to present all three articles here, one by Malaysiakini at attempts to potray Tunku’s book ‘Before and After’ as official facts and excerpts from an article written by Fan Yew Teng, former DAP Acting SG entitled ‘Some UMNO Myths Young Malaysians Should Know About’ and Tunku’s statement in 1972 for readers to make an informed conclusion.
‘Malay capitalists’ not behind May 13′
Oct 12, 07
Utusan Group has republished first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s May 13: Before and After book to rebut the allegations and accusations that the riots were planned by Malay capitalists.
It is obvious that the publication of this book was to dispel conclusions found in Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong’s May 13 – Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969.
In his book, Kua (right) said the May 13 incident was a coup d’etat against Tunku by Malay capitalists surfacing that at time to grab power from the old aristocrats to execute a new Malay agenda.
He drew his conclusions based on a three-month research into various sets of foreign dispatches and confidential reports from that time – which were declassified recently by the Public Records Office in London after 30 years.
However, the official version by the government states that the riots were caused by predominantly Chinese opposition supporters who provoked the Alliance party by celebrating their election victory by parading on the streets.
The reason for the republication of Tunku’s book was noted clearly in the foreword written by academician Prof Dr Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud who is based in the history, politics and strategy department under Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s social science and humanities faculty.
He said the republication was timely “in light of recent attempts by parties who were trying to twist the facts and cause confusion over the bloody May 13 riots.”
‘Cause of the tragedy’
He wrote: “In mid-May, a book about May 13 was published. However, the approach used clearly rejected the belief that the riots were caused by the socio-economic imbalances between the races in the country.
“Instead, the writer presented a new thesis that the Malay capitalists let by Tun Abdul Razak tried to topple Tunku as the cause of the riots.”
However, Nik Anuar did not expressly acknowledge that the aforesaid book was the book written by Kua but the references were clear.
The academician elaborated that despite it being difficult to discover the real motive for that book, there is a current trend to besmirch the country’s past leaders including, Abdul Razak, Harun Idris, Mohamad Ghazali Shafie and security officers.
He said the approach was clearly prejudiced – and if not refuted – would lend credence to the Malay capitalist takeover claim.
Hence, Nik Anuar said the publication of Tunku’s book would satiate all allegations against national leaders especially those directed at Abdul Razak.
In the 195-page book, Tunku summarised that the racial riot was the work of extremists and communists.
According to him, these two group of people have been attempting to start riots even before independence.
Tunku said they started tensions in the economic boycott (Hartal) in 1967, the death by hanging incident (1968), elections boycott (1969), corpse parade (May 9, 1969) and the victory march by opposition parties on May 12, 1969 causing racial tensions and riots.
Based on this, Nik Anuar ruled out the role of the Malay capitalists because Tunku has never viewed the incident as a move to seize power.
He did note that Tunku (left) admitted that the bloody incident was due to a few Umno members who were not happy that he remained as PM..
“But their dissatisfaction did not cause the riots itself. This has been explained by Tunku in Chapters 15 and 16 of the book,” Nik Anuar stated.
He added that Tunku’s book should be read and studied by the people especially the youths “so that they would not be caught in the accusations of parties trying to twist facts and defame leaders that have sacrificed for their race, religion and country.”
“Tunku’s book is based on documents procured from the Royal Malaysian Police. This different from the book published before this that are based on diplomatic and foreign journalist sources that are not reliable,” Nik Anuar wrote.
Excerpts from ‘Some UMNO Myths Young Malaysians Should Know About’ by Fan Yew Teng
“After Merdeka in 1957, the public perception of the Tunku as prime minister and Abdul Razak as his deputy was that their relationship was one of great harmony. Some even characterised it has a father and son kind of relationship. But it was only valid for a while.
For none other than the Tunku himself had exploded the myth that his relationship with Razak was as harmonious as commonly believed. Writing in the 29 August 1983 issue of The Star (and later reproduced in his book Contemporary Issues in Malaysian Politics), the Tunku related a telling incident in this vein: “Once at the Residency, Khalid Awang Osman, the former High Commissioner to India, mentioned in front of Tun Razak that he (Razak) would have to wait for a long time before he could become the Prime Minister. I could see the shocked surprise on the face of Tun Razak. As it happened, after that day I noticed his attitude took a change.”
Well, well, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The myth of an almost perfect political and working relationship was, well, just a myth. In an article published in The Star on 20 February 1978, the Tunku said that Asiaweek’s M.G.G Pillai had alleged in the 17 February 1978 issue of that magazine that “many political figures still insist privately that the Tunku stepped down unwillingly in 1970 and that he was in fact pushed aside by Tun Abdul Razak.”
The Tunku commented: “As regards the late Tun Razak pushing me aside, he made no attempt openly to do so but it must be admitted that he felt a bit small to be my deputy for so long, and being an ambitious man, he would no doubt have liked to take over as prime minister. Only those around him wanted to take over dramatically and with a blare of trumpets.”
It may be true that Tun Razak made no attempt openly to push the Tunku aside. But did he make any attempt secretly to do so? And who were those around Razak?
Mahathir, Musa Hitam, Harun Idris, Syed Jaafar Albar? And some other Umno extremists or ultras?
It is interesting to note that the Tunku, in reference to what Khalid Awang Osman said, as mentioned earlier, had added: “I took the remarks as a joke, but soon after things began to happen.”
What things began to happen?
Well, in an interview with Asiaweek, published on 10 May 1985, exactly 16 years to the day after the fateful general elections on 1969, the Tunku actually blamed Tun Razak and other colleagues for his political downfall. In relating the charged atmosphere just before the 1969 general elections, the Tunku said: “It started when one of them (alleged communists) was killed near the airport, and they asked for a funeral procession to bury the dead. I would never have allowed that. But I was not there. I was away campaigning. But my colleagues, who were trying to make trouble for me, gave permission, and so when the communists carried the body, they stopped at every corner to harangue the people, to curse the government, to curse me…”
Responding to further questioning, the Tunku actually said that “My deputy allowed it”, meaning the procession.
To another question, the Tunku said: “I couldn’t have stayed on. To stay, you have to be sure of the loyalty of your friends and colleagues. I wasn’t sure. In fact I was very, ah, frustrated with the behaviour of some.”
The Tunku had often said that he wanted to be the “happiest prime minister in the world” – but how could he be happy when some of his friends and colleagues wanted to stage a coup against him?
In order to get rid of the Tunku politically, some criminal elements and over ambitious leaders in Umno orchestrated the bloody May 13 Massacre which killed a few hundred Malaysians, maimed a few hundred more other Malaysians, burned down a few hundred shophouses and homes and looted some of them and burned scores of cars and other vehicles. All crimes against humanity.
No inquiry after 38 years. Who says law is law? Why then no rule of law as far as the May 13 Massacre is concerned? Why is this continued rape of law being allowed? In whose interests?”
And another article from Malaysia Today blog…..
From his residence in Penang, 1972:
“It was clear to me as well as the police that in the highly charged political atmosphere after the police were forced to kill a Chinese political party worker on May 4th, 1969, something was bound to happen to threaten law and order because of the resentment towards the Government by the KL Chinese on the eve of the general election. This was confirmed at this man’s funeral on the 9th May when the government faced the most hostile crowd it had ever seen.
Therefore, when the opposition parties applied for a police permit for a procession to celebrate their success in the results of the general election, I was adamant against it because the police were convinced that this would lead to trouble.
I informed Tun Razak (pictured right) 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 to step down as a PM. I don’t want to go into details but if they had come to me and said so I would gladly have 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 given knowing fully well that there was a likelihood of trouble. I suppose they felt that when this happened they 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 agree to work against me in this way. Actually, he was in my house as I was preparing to return to Kedah and I overhead him speaking to Harun over the phone saying that he would be willing to approve the permit when I left. I really could not believe what I was hearing and preferred to think it was about some other permit. In any case, as the Deputy Prime Minister in my absence from KL, he would be the Acting PM and would override my objection. Accordingly, when I was in my home in Kedah, I heard over the radio that the permit had been approved.
It seems as though the expected trouble was anticipated and planned for by Harun (shown left) and his UMNO Youth. After the humiliating insults hurled by the non-Malays, especially the Chinese, and after the seeming loss of Malay political power to them, they were clearly ready for some retaliatory action. After meeting in large numbers at Harun’s official residence in Jalan Raja Muda near Kampong Bahru and hearing inflammatory speeches by Harun and other leaders, they prepared themselves by tying ribbon strips on their foreheads and set out to kill Chinese. The first hapless victims were two of them in a van opposite Harun’s house who were innocently watching the large gathering. Little did they know that they 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 Father of Merdeka to have to relive those terrible moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens killing each other.”
[From Raja Petra Kamarudin’s blog, Malaysia Today]
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