"I remember how, even after the May 13, 1969 racial incident in Kuala Lumpur, a Muslim group, since branded deviant, had propagated a very restrictive interpretation of the halal doctrine so that Muslims would switch from patronising non-Muslim goods and food for those that they were selling.
At the same time, some Chinese groups propagated the boycott of Malay goods including batik shirts and durians.
Thank God, we had all come out of that post-1969 mutually destructive boycott syndrome to resume our march towards common sense and a common nationhood. We must not allow ancient animosities and fears to prejudice this march.
I was taken aback by the statement of Dr Kua Kia Soong at the launching of his new book on the May 13, 1969 incident based on the reports of British Embassy personnel to the British Foreign Office that the incident was engineered by Umno members who were out to topple Tunku Abdul Rahman. He asked for a commission to be set up to get to the truth. Shockingly he is alleged to have added that, unless this is done or unless the truth is out, there cannot be national unity, or something to that effect.
At 38 years old, I think this is too “ancient” an animosity to be allowed to hold national unity to ransom. Should the past be allowed to destroy our future? This is not to trivialise the incident, the deaths of about 189 people, mostly innocent, I believe, and the injuries to many more. The figures can be obtained from the Tun Abdul Razak, Director of Operation’s, National Operations Council (NOC) Report, The May 13, 1969 Incidents.
The report also gave the more immediate reasons why and how the outbreak started and its consequences. Actually, the racial animosity had been building up seriously from as far back as 1964 as a result of racial politics – Chinese education issues, Chinese stateless-persons issue, land titles to new villagers, land for expansion of new villages, the Malaysian Malaysia concept where non-Malay leaders challenged the bumiputra status of the Malays. Of course, Malay politicians did not take all these lying down and the debates and public accusations and counter-accusations in Parliament, state assemblies and at the open-air public rallies of those days poisoned national unity.
Is the NOC Report accurate without touching on the plot to topple Tunku? To me it is. The unhappiness that some Umno members had with Tunku by 1969 was real but it did not feature as a cause of the May 13, 1969 incident.
The incident, however, sharpened the unhappiness of the Malays with Tunku and fuelled the movement to replace him with his deputy, Tun Abdul Razak.
As the coordinator of the Special Branch investigations into the incident, and having read all the statements from eye-witnesses which formed the basis of the NOC Report, I am convinced of its accuracy.
The statistics couldn’t be wrong because Tun Razak, appalled by the casualty figures reported in foreign broadcasts and newspapers, appointed a Chinese Minister, Khaw Kai Boh, former Director of the Singapore Special Branch to be in charge of collecting and accounting for the dead bodies. The police in turn appointed Chief Inspector Pang of the KL courts to be in charge of the burials of all the dead.
When the draft of the NOC Report prepared jointly by me, Encik (now Datuk) Hamzah Majid, then seconded to NOC from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Colonel (later General Tan Sri and Chief of the Armed Forces) Ghazali Che Mat, PSO Military on NOC Staff, was first presented to the Director of Operations and members of the NOC, Datuk (now Tan Sri) Hamzah Abu Samah, the new Minister of Information and a president of the sessions court before that, expressed his reluctance to accept it. “I will not lend myself to a fabrication,” he said, because the draft exonerated Datuk Harun Idris. Tun Sambanthan supported him. The Minister of Home Affairs, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman suggested, “Since Hamzah and Sambanthan are the Doubting Thomases, let’s make them joint-chairmen to go through all the evidence with Hanif and his boys, and come up with their findings.”
This was agreed to and the drafting team found ourselves closeted with these two members of NOC.
The outcome was that the draft came out unscathed and the Doubting Thomases declared that they were happy to accept the Report as it was. Then it was shown to Eric White & Associates for advice. They suggested that certain relative adjectives such as “very” be dropped. We had no quarrel with that. They suggested that perhaps the number of dead and injured could be jazzed up to bring it closer to foreign press speculations. This, we refused to accept. Facts are facts. If people wouldn’t believe them then it was just too bad. "
Rabu, 13 Jun 2007
Tun Hanif Omar on 13 May 1969: Facts Don't Lie
Tun Hanif Omar made comment on Dr Kua Kia Soong's attempt to slant history for his racist chauvanistic purpose in his May 13 book. An extract of his June 3rd, 2007 regular column Point of View in The Star entitled Facts Don't Lie is cut and paste below:
The fascination for conspiracy theory to some is unavoidable for there exist those that believe that no event and happenings can be so obvious and in simple common sense based on facts and figures. They believe that the course of world event is determined runs in a cloak and dagger fashion. It is though events and happenings can be conveniently conjured to meet a certain pre-meditated outcome.
I was walking along the KLCC today as a young man passed by while talking aloud on his handphone. He was telling his friend to get this book and read it for he claims it to be the truth. Lets ponder this remark and the danger this book is creating. Based on documents and information with uncertain intentions, he made certain assumptions and opinion on the past without the person in question around to defend the allegation. Lets not even fathom should any racial prejudice has develop within him that an incident could conveniently turn into hate and trigger insults leading to violence towards a certain race and a group of people.
This book makes for a convenient conspiracy theory without the responsibility of its impact on society and security. It is becoming more crystal clear that Dr Kua Kia Soong is not out to pursue truth and racial unity but is a fabricator of conspiracy out to poison the public's mind to serve his own self serving chauvanistic purpose. And, it is not for National interest.