Selasa, Mei 13, 2008

May 13, 1969

May 13 Incident
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Events leading to 13 May 1969

The May 13 Incident followed the release of results for the 1969 general election, which campaign was bitterly fought among various political parties prior to polling day on 10 May 1969, and party leaders stoking racial and religious sentiments in order to win support. The Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) accused the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) of selling the rights of the Malays to the Chinese, while the Democratic Action Party (DAP) accused Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) of giving in to UMNO. The DAP promoted the concept of a "Malaysian Malaysia", which would deprive the Malays of their special rights under the Constitution. Both the DAP and Singapore's People's Progressive Party (PAP) objected to Malay as the national language and proposed multi-lingualism in its stead.

Senior Alliance politicians, including Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, accused Singapore-based People's Action Party of involvement in the campaign, as it had done during the 1964 general election campaign (at the time when Singapore was part of the Malaysian federation between 1963 and 1965).

The run-up to the election was marred by two deaths: that of an UMNO election agent, who was killed by a group of armed Chinese youths in Penang and that of a member of the Labour Party of Malaya (LPM), who was killed in Kepong, Selangor.[1]



There was a contrast in the handling of these two deaths. The UMNO worker was buried without publicity, the LPM casualty was honoured at a parade on 9 May when some 3000 LPM members marched from Kuala Lumpur to Kepong, violating regulations and trying to provoke incidents with the police. Participants sang Communist songs, waved red flags, and called upon the people to boycott the general election. Amidst this tension, the general election was held on 10 May 1969. Election day itself passed without any incident and the result shows the opposition had tied with the Alliance for control of the Selangor state legislature.

On 12 May, thousands of Chinese marched through Kuala Lumpur, parading through predominantly Malay areas which hurled insults that led to the incident.[1]

The events of 13 May

Members of UMNO Youth gathered in Kuala Lumpur at the residence of Selangor Menteri Besar, Dato' Harun bin Haji Idris, on 13 May and demanded that they too should hold a victory celebration; at the national level the Alliance had gained a majority in Parliament, albeit a reduced one, and in Selangor it had gained the majority by cooperating with the sole independent candidate.


Declaration of emergency

Many people in Kuala Lumpur were caught in the racial violence. Dozens were injured and some killed, houses and cars were burnt and wrecked. The violence was largely limited to Kuala Lumpur although there were isolated outbreaks in Melaka, Perak and Penang.

The government ordered an immediate curfew throughout the state of Selangor & Kuala Lumpur. Security forces comprising some 2000 Malay Regiment soldiers and 3600 Police officers were deployed and took control of the situation. Over 300 Chinese families were moved to refugee centres at the Merdeka Stadium and Tiong Nam Settlement.

On 14 May 1969, a state of emergency was declared throughout the country, and on 16 May the National Operations Council (NOC) was established by proclamation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) headed by Tun Abdul Razak. With Parliament suspended, the NOC became the supreme decision-making body for the next 18 months. State and District Operations Councils took over state and local government.

The NOC implemented security measures to restore law and order in the country, including the establishment of an unarmed Vigilante Corps, a territorial army, and police force battalions. The restoration of order in the country was gradually achieved. Curfews continued in most parts of the country, but were gradually scaled back. Peace was restored in the affected areas within two months. In February 1971 parliamentary rule was re-established.

On its formation in 1963, Malaysia suffered from a sharp division of wealth between the Chinese, who were perceived to control a large portion of the Malaysian economy, and the Malays, who were perceived to be more poor and rural. This was the common perception even though the British left all of their conglomerates (mostly plantation sectors) into the hands of the ruling Malays. These already successful companies started by the former colonial masters were the economy of this new born nation which are still going strong till this day.

The 1964 Race Riots in Singapore contributed to the expulsion of that state from Malaysia, and racial tension continued to simmer, with many Malays dissatisfied by their newly independent government's perceived willingness to placate the Chinese at their expense.

Politics in Malaysia at this time were mainly Malay-based, with an emphasis on special privileges for the Malays — other indigenous Malaysians, grouped together collectively with the Malays under the title of "bumiputra" would not be granted a similar standing until after the riots. There had been a recent outburst of Malay passion for ketuanan Melayu — Malay supremacy — after the National Language Act of 1967, which in the opinion of some Malays, had not gone far enough in the act of enshrining Malay as the national language. Heated arguments about the nature of Malay privileges, with the mostly Chinese opposition mounting a "Malaysian Malaysia" campaign had contributed to the separation of Singapore on 9 August 1965, and inflamed passions on both sides.

The causes of the rioting can be analysed to have the same root as the 1964 Race Riots in Singapore. The event started from sentiments before the election, for example, at a parade on 9 May some 3000 LPM members marched from Kuala Lumpur to Kepong, violating regulations and trying to provoke incidents with the police. Participants sang Communist songs, waved red flags, and called upon the people to boycott the general election. Amidst this tension, the general election was held on 10 May 1969. Election day itself passed without any incident and the result shows the opposition had tied with the Alliance for control of the Selangor state legislature. On 12 May, thousands of Chinese marched through Kuala Lumpur and parading through predominantly Malay areas which hurled insults that led to the incident.

In addition, Malay leaders who were angry about the election results used the press to attack their opponents, contributing to raising public anger and tension among the Malay and Chinese communities.[citation needed]

1969 riots

In the May 10, 1969 general elections, the ruling Alliance coalition headed by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) suffered a large setback in the polls. The largely Chinese opposition Democratic Action Party and Gerakan gained in the elections, and secured a police permit for a victory parade through a fixed route in Kuala Lumpur. However, the rowdy procession deviated from its route and headed through the Malay district of Kampung Baru, jeering at the inhabitants. [2] Some demonstrators carried brooms, later alleged to symbolise the sweeping out of the Malays from Kuala Lumpur, while others chanted slogans about the "sinking" of the Alliance boat — the coalition's logo.

While the Gerakan party issued an apology the next day, UMNO announced a counter-procession, which would start from the Selangor Chief Minister Harun bin Idris' home in Jalan Raja Muda. Tunku Abdul Rahman would later call the retaliatory parade "inevitable, as otherwise the party members would be demoralised after the show of strength by the Opposition and the insults that had been thrown at them."

Shortly before the procession began, the gathering crowd was reportedly informed that Malays on their way to the procession had been attacked by Chinese in Setapak, several miles to the north.[citation needed] The angry protestors swiftly wreaked revenge by killing two passing Chinese motorcyclists, and the riot began.

The riot ignited the capital Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding state of Selangor — according to Time, spreading throughout the city in 45 minutes[4] — but except for minor disturbances in Melaka the rest of the country stayed calm. A nationwide state of emergency and accompanying curfew were declared on May 16, but the curfew was relaxed in most parts of the country for two hours on May 18 and not enforced even in central Kuala Lumpur within a week.[citation needed]

However, incidents of violence continued to occur in the weeks after May 13, with the targets now not only being Malay or Chinese, but also Indian. Time argued that this showed that "the struggle has become more clearly than ever the Malay extremists' fight for total hegemony." Although violence did not occur in the rural areas, Time found that ethnic conflict had manifested itself in subtler forms, with Chinese businessmen refusing to make loans available for Malay farmers, or to transport agricultural produce from Malay farmers and fishermen.

According to police figures, 196 people died and 149 were wounded. 753 cases of arson were logged and 211 vehicles were destroyed or severely damaged. An estimated 6,000 Kuala Lumpur residents — 90% of them Chinese — were made homeless. Various other casualty figures have been given, with one thesis from a UC Berkeley academic, as well as Time, putting the total dead at ten times the government figure.

Despite the opposition of the DAP and PPP, the Alliance government passed the amendments, having maintained the necessary two-thirds Parliamentary majority. In Britain, the laws were condemned, with The Times of London stating they would "preserve as immutable the feudal system dominating Malay society" by "giving this archaic body of petty constitutional monarchs incredible blocking power"; the move was cast as hypocritical, given that Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak had spoken of "the full realisation that important matters must no longer be swept under the carpet..."

The Rukunegara, the de facto Malaysian pledge of allegiance, was another reaction to the riot. The pledge was introduced on August 31, 1970 as a way to foster unity among Malaysians.