As a Malay and a retired soldier, I must confess that I hate to talk about the May 13, 1969 racial riots that will long remain a 'dark spot' in the annals of this nation. I was then a 26 year old soldier serving in Tawau, Sabah, and I only knew about the riots from the mainstream media that reaches Tawau sometimes a day too late. There was no TV then, and my immediate concern was towards my parents and my siblings who were residing in Kg. Datuk Keramat, Kuala Lumpur. Incidentally, May 13, 2010 is just a day away.
Making a call home from Tawau those days was extremely difficult and in fact, throughout the period of the rioting, I never got to call home, even from the Telecom office in Tawau. My only hope is that my parents and my siblings are all safe, and that nothing untoward will happen to them. I managed to returned home about a month after the riotings, and on the way to my parents home, I passed Kg. Baru and witnessed the destruction of some rows of shops caused by the rioting. There were a number of people killed during the riotings, and I was told that army units were deployed to Kg. Baru and Kg. Datuk Keramat to maintain the curfew. I personally do not know if the soldiers had shot and killed civilians to enforce the curfew, but if they did, I think what the soldiers did was wrong.
My parents must have lived in a state of fear in the days following the riots and food was in shortage. My father worked in the hospital, and the nature of his job requires that he be present for work everyday, and he therefore had to be escorted daily to his place of work, especially during the curfew hours. It was during his travel to work that he would stop to buy food for the family.
A few days ago we hear of a politician from Penang making reference to May 13 to the Penang Chief Minister, for reasons best known to him. Today, we read in the papers that some Malay NGOs will be holding a gathering in Kuala Trengganu tomorrow May 13, and the theme of the gathering is “Bangkit Melayu'. It was reported too that Tun Dr. Mahathir will be present at the gathering.
I do not know what is the purpose of the gathering and why the date chosen is May 13. The theme 'Bangkit Melayu' itself can give rise to lots speculation and interpretation. And it would not be wrong for one to speculate that the theme has racial under tones, and is a warning of sorts to the other races. If this is the reason for the gathering, than I think it is wrong for it will only create further mistrust and hatred of the Malays by all other races. This is a dangerous precedence, and I think it will not do any good for race relations and racial harmony among all races. My personal view of this gathering is one of lack of tolerance, insensitive and a show of arrogance to the other races. I despise such acts and my only hope is to see that the sponsors of this gathering return to their senses, and to accept that what they do will only create greater disharmony, intolerance and hatred among the various races of this country, and where the Malays will then be blamed.
I feel ashame too that Tun Dr. Mahathir; a person that I have my highest respect and regards is being dragged into this mess by an undesirable group of Malay NGOs. And this gathering too will distort and not do any good for PM Najib's 1 Malaysia.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION