KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil insisted today that she had not committed any wrong in raising the spectre of the May 13 riots at the Wanita Umno assembly and instead accused the media of lacking “professionalism” for reporting that portion of her speech. The Wanita Umno chief pointed out that she had raised many other pertinent issues during her opening address at the assembly yesterday, but it was her mention of the racial riots that was highlighted.
“I want to say back to them (media), ask them — are they going to incite tension?
“Because that was not my intention… they are going to incite racial tension by purposely and deviously taking out a statement of that part of my speech,” Shahrizat (picture) told reporters when approached on the sidelines of the Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here.
Shahrizat said she was a “child of May 13” who had seen citizens become “victims” right in front of her, citing the incident as the reason why she decided to join Umno.
“I’m a child of May 13. The reason why I wanted to join Umno is because (it) happened in front of my house. I saw all the races become victims in my own time. And I joined Umno, I want Barisan to win because we bring people together and not kehancuran (destruction),” she said.
Shahrizat added she saw nothing wrong in referencing and quoting a part of history, calling May 13 an incident of “black history”.
The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Shahrizat had raised the May 13 riots during the opening of the Wanita Umno general assembly here to encourage delegates to work harder for Umno’s victory.
The politician told nearly 1,000 delegates at PWTC that a weak Umno would spread uneasiness among the Malay community and possibly invite the same racial conflict that caused the bloodshed during the 1969 tragedy.
“Do we want to such a terrible situation repeated in our country? Of course we do not,” she had said, according to the text copy of her opening address to those gathered at Dewan Merdeka here.
Shahrizat said Umno must overcome five key challenges to strengthen itself ahead of the coming polls, including fighting off its foes in PAS, attracting more young voters and ensuring that the Malays continue to hold political power.
“If we no longer have power, then the country’s political stability will be affected.
“I fear that this could lead to a racial tension that could invite the same tragedy of May 13, 1969,” she said.