Recently, I have been informed that there is now an attempt by some retired military officers to document their experiences and personal involvement during the racial riots of May 13, 1969. I believe, the outcome of this document will reveal to the public, the entire May 13 episode from the perspective of the military, of which the public has very little knowledge. It will be interesting to see how the public will react to this revelation.
Every Malaysian who were witnessed to this tragic incident dubbed as the darkest spot in our history, will vouched never to witness such an orgy of killing and destruction again. For those who had lost their loved ones, the tragedy would not be easily forgotten, and it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
But following the tragedy, Malaysians today has become more tolerant of each other, and accepts that the diversity in our society is unique. Such diversity shall remain so for many more generations to come.
I was not involved in the pubic order operations during May 13, because I was than serving in Tawau, Sabah. Tawau had no TV than, and we relied entirely on the local dailies for news concerning the tragic events looming in Kuala Lumpur. Even making a phone call to my parents who were residing in Datuk Keramat was difficult. In fact, I never got to call them at all.
I believe, what will come out of the document, written by retired military officers who were at the frontline of the entire tragedy, will serve as an important lesson for all, and in particular to our national leaders ‘that the use of the Armed Forces in public order duties, must be made with full responsibility, accountability and complete restraint’, a view that I have always held throughout my military years.
We hope to see many more military officers write their military experiences or memoirs, that will be useful reading for the future generation of military officers. Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail (retired) who now has two published books to his credit, Gen Tan Sri Hashim Hussein (retired) and Maj Gen Dato Nordin Yusof (retired) with one published book each, and few others have set the pace for more books to be published by military officers in the future.