The May 13, 1969 racial riots has been recorded as a dark spot in the annuls of our nation’s history. It was an event that had brought unreasonable hardship and misery to many, and caused fear that still lingers in the minds of those who were directly affected by the riots.
It was politics and politicians that had caused the racial riots, and it will be politics and politicians that will be the instigators to any future ‘disaster’ in this country.
When the racial riots occurred in Kuala Lumpur 40 years ago, I was then serving in Tawau, Sabah. We had no excess to TV, and the radio broadcast was vague and intermittent. Newspapers come in rather late, and from reports received through our own military radio network, we knew that something horrendous was brewing in Kuala Lumpur. And when they say that is was a fight between the Malays and Chinese, I thought it was merely a street fight, kind of a thing. But when images of troops being deployed, and the burning of shop houses appeared in the local daily, I realized that this is no ordinary street fighting.
I was deeply concern for the safety of my parents who were residing at Kg. Datuk Keramat, Kuala Lumpur. I tried calling them through the telephone several times, but the line does not seemed to connect. When I finally reached them, I was so pleased to hear the voice of my mother who sounded calm and settled. I enquired about my father who though retired, was asked to continue working on a contractual basis. He worked at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, and the riots gave him no respite, but had forced him to remain on standby at the hospital, to attend to the casualties that flowed in.
There was nothing I could do to assist my parents, and to be granted leave was out of the question. In fact, no one was allowed to take leave, until we all finally returned to our home base in Kluang, Johor around November 1969.
I took whatever days I had for disembarkation leave, to return to my parents. I was glad that they were all well. They recounted how difficult it was for them during the curfew period, and they had to store up sufficient food for the days ahead. My mother also recounted that there were soldiers patrolling the roads around the house, and some were kind enough to extend food to the house. From the description that my mother gave, the soldiers were either from the Ranger Battalion or the Recce Squadron. My mother would have easily recognized a soldier from the Royal Malay Regiment if she sees one, because she also had a son from the same regiment……...and that was me.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION