13 - Before and After"
Excerpts of this book by (the late) Tunku Abdul Rahman,
them Prime Minister of malaysia, published in September
May 13, 2003
on the rampage
was more surprised, I am sure, than the DAP and the newly-formed
Gerakan with their unexpected successes. They felt not only
cocky, but downright arrogant. They lost no time in arranging
to celebrate their "victories."
Tan Chee Khoon, who won his seat in Batu Selangor, with
a big majority asked for Police permission to hold a procession
by members of his Gerakan Party. A permit was granted on
condition that it followed a route authorised by the Police.
12th May) Dr. Tan's victory procession was held on an unprecedented
scale, politically speaking, and was accompanied by acts
of rowdyism and hooliganism and in utter defiance of the
Police after the main procession had ended.
procession went through unauthorised routes, jamming traffic
everywhere as a consequence. With victory emotions on the
loose and - there can be no other explanation - Communists
urging them on, the victors made a serious blunder, and
blunder it was.
procession shouting its way along turned into Jalan Campbell
and Jalan Hale - roads on the edge of an leading into Kampong
Bahru where 30,000 Malays have lived in peace for years
beneath the palms in their own settlement in the centre
of Kuala Lumpur.
Hale is the main street of Kampong Bahru. There they proceeded
to provoke the Malays, gibing at them and throwing their
victory in their faces in the midst of what is virtually
an UMNO stronghold.
May 13th Gerakan Party's Yeoh Tech Chye, the President of
the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (who won big in Bukit
Bintang, Kuala Lumpur) made an open apology in the press
for his party supporters having caused such inconvenience
to the public.
the emotional damage had already been done.
to Kuala Lumpur about lunchtime from Alor Star. My Principal
Private Secretary informed me that he had received news
that a counter demonstration was to be held on May 13th
as the Malays were very annoyed.
was going to stage a procession to celebrate it's victory
and that a crowd would gather in the compound of the house
of the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Dato Harun bin Idris,
in Jalan Raja Muda and that the procession would start from
personally worried that the procession might lead to trouble.
It was not easy to stop it at this stage as the Opposition
had already held processions, and permission had already
been obtained for UMNO to have theirs.
phone call came through at 6.45pm that an ugly incident
had taken place along Jalan Raja Muda in which some Chinese
afterwards Enche Mansor, the Kuala Lumpur Police Traffic
Chief, and one or two others, came to see me and said that
there had been killing. The city had been placed under immediate
curfew as at 7 pm. The Security Forces were out, the army
I could not sleep that night, my mind upset with the tragedy
that had overtaken our peaceful capital and nation. I went
out side my balcony outside my room looking down on the
city in the valley by night. Flames were burning high in
several areas, near Kampong Bharu and to the North.
Lumpur was a city on fire and it was a sight that I never
thought I would see in my lifetime.
they were gathered in the compound of Dato Harun's residence
news came through suddenly that Chinese had attacked Malays
in Setapak, a mile or two to the North, as they were on
their way to join the procession starting from Jalan Raja
news created a storm of indignation; hell broke loose. Two
Chinese passing by on motor cycles were attacked and killed.
And so the riots of May 13th began, triggering off violence
unprecedented in the history of Malaysa.
of emergency was declared on May 16th and a National Operations
Council set up to deal with all matters pertaining to it.
The first act: round-the-clock curfew.)
48 hours it was possible for the Council to approve relaxation
in the curfew in many areas of the country.
in the most sensitive ares, Kampong Bharu and the Jalan
Chow Kit sections of Kuala Lumpur, where the violence had
originated, it was possible after one week from the outbreak
to announce curfew relaxations there.
was no insecurity in the East Coast states. In Johore and
Negri Sembilan no incidents had occurred at any time. In
Malacca there had been a few minor troubles and they had
now ceased as quickly as they had started.
were no incidents taking place in Perak and Penang, Kedah
from Kuala Lumpur, the only sections in the country needing
the strictest vigilance were in the Betong salient, the
rural areas along the Kedah and Perak borders with Thailand.
general situation, however, was far from normal, mainly
for one particular reason - rumours.
the height of the disturbances rumour-mongering was wild
and widespread as always happen anywhere in time of riot.
May 13, 2003