Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Time to demystify the spectre of May 13

May 18, 2007

Instead of allowing Umno leaders to bring up the spectre of May 13 to threaten voters time and again in general elections, it’s better to demystify the bloody event and set our minds free from unjustified fears once and for all.

The Umno-led BN government must not ban the book if they have nothing to hide. Any attempt to ban the book only hardens the perception that ‘Umno was at fault and they are now afraid of the revelations.’ 

I disagree with Prof Khoo Kay Khim that ‘the Special Branch could have kept ‘more accurate information ‘on the May 13 Incident. BTW, former police top gun Yuen Yuet Leng (he was the deputy SB chief at that time) has openly said that the Special Branch was caught totally unguarded; the department did not know that such a riot will break out although they sensed that ’emotions were high’. He also said that the official records with the Special Branch may not be better or more complete than the British archives ( he was responding to Dr Kua who claimed that the police could be keeping files with better and more complete information than the British authority).

This is not the first time Prof Khoo making false and unsubstantial comments on historical events. He has made numerous blunders in the past ( such as ‘British never rules Malaya’; ‘Malay Left and CPM have no significant role in the struggle of Independence’ etc) because his mind was clouded by a seriously flawed and biased  ‘pro-establishment’ attitude. In my mind, Khoo may be regarded as a historian but he would never be able to write a book on any sensitive or controversial subject, be it the May 13 Incident or the history of independence of Malaya. A friend of mine told me this afternoon that “this chap has no guts to tell the truth”. I’m afraid that I have to agree with him.

May 13 book: Anwar says ‘No’ to ban

Malaysiakini May 18, 07 4:55pm

Banning a controversial book on the May 13 riots will violate the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Federal Constitution, said PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim. He said in an age where information flows freely, constitutional freedoms must be honoured rather than breached.

“Laws and regulations which purport to grant power to the state to proscribe publications arbitrarily must only be used under the most exceptional circumstances.

“The book may indeed be controversial but if the government does not agree with the issues raised, it should refute them in an open and transparent manner,” he added in a statement today.

Anwar, a former deputy premier, said the government cannot continually adopt strong-arm measures in an attempt to silence public discourse. “This is quite apart from the fact that the banning of any book immediately enhances its value and whets the appetite of readers. “More significantly, banning this book will reinforce its thesis that the May 13 riots were indeed caused by a coup plotted by certain leaders to oust (then premier) Tunku Abdul Rahman,” he added.

Demystifying process

The book – ‘May 13 Declassified Documents on the Racial Riots of 1969’ – was launched on May 13 this month. It was penned by academic Dr Kua Kia Soong. Since hitting the shelves, the book has been a fast seller.

On Tuesday, Internal Security Ministry personnel confiscated 10 copies for ‘studying’ sparking off concerns that a ban could be enforced. Meanwhile, Anwar said he views the book as the start of a process to ‘demystify’ the May 13 riots. He noted that nearly after four decades, the riots are still talked about in hushed tones because the authorities have not provided any conclusive answers.

“There are bound to be divergent views about this tragic episode of our history. I call on all Malaysians to have an open mind in the discourse while respecting the sensitivities of all communities,” he added.

The author of the book had spent three-months researching recently declassified documents at the Public Records Office in London. He concluded that the 1969 riots were not spontaneous racial outburst but a planned coup attempt by ‘Malay capitalists’ against Tunku.

Academics at odds over May 13 book
Andrew Ong
Malaysiakini May 18, 07 11:59am
A fast-selling new book on the May 13 racial riots has not only caused ripples among government figures, but several academics interviewed voiced varied concerns surrounding the nature of the book.Authored by Dr Kua Kia Soong, the book ‘May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969’ provides an alternative account of the tragic event and is facing a possible ban. A day after the book hit the shelves, three senators called for action to be taken against the book and Kua, while Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow said the ministry was studying the contents to decide on a course of action.
Ten copies of the book have already been confiscated for “studying” by the Internal Security Ministry from a major bookstore chain in Kuala Lumpur.In response, Prof Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the head the Ethnic Relations Module drafting committee said there was no need to jump to conclusions on the book.”They should read the book first and make judgement later. It’s a bad habit among Malaysians,” he said when contacted.

Similarly, former World Bank analyst Dr Lim Teck Ghee said the government reaction towards the book was counterproductive and that a ban would eventually be circumvented by electronic communication.

“It will further reinforce the public perception that the government has much to hide or cover up in this watershed event of Malaysian history.

“It would have been more strategic for the Government to quietly and discreetly buy up all the copies of the book and bury or burn them,” said Lim, who is also a former United Nations regional advisor.

Dispute over content

(A paper titled ‘Corporate Equity Distribution: Past Trends and Future Policy’ which Lim was involved in, was also the subject of controversy because the paper challengedgovernment data on bumiputera corporate equity ownership. Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli), where Lim headed its Centre of Public Policy Studies, later cowed to government pressure and withdrew the study. Lim resigned in protest over Asli’s move)

Lim considers the book important as he described it as “unbiased information” on the May 13 incident which the government much acknowledge.

Kua had spent three-months researching recently declassified documents at the Public Records Office in London and concluded that the 1969 riots were not spontaneous racial outburst but a planned coup attempt by ‘Malay capitalist’ against then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Reknowned historian Prof Khoo Kay Khim however expressed caution over the book and questions the validity of the sources cited.

“I don’t think he got very much. If he had access to (police) Special Branch files he might probably get more accurate information,” said Khoo.

He asserts that the 1969 riots took place after cumulative years of racial tension, while Kua’s book was mainly focused on the event itself.

Khoo also warned that the allegations made in the book could stoke racial sentiments.

“I have been told that (Kua) named certain leaders as people responsible for the riots. That of course can lead to all kind of unpredictable responses since the leaders he named were apparently not Chinese but Malay. It creates a difficult situation in our fragile society,” he added.

On possible action taken by the authorities, Khoo said the authorities should have monitored the progress of the book earlier rather than reacting after the book was published.

“But then people will be unhappy that (such actions curb) freedom of speech, which is a very relative thing. People have to be careful (in dealing with such matters),” he said.

On Sunday, former Universiti Malaya sociology and anthropology professor Dr Syed Husin Ali told a forum at the launch of Kua’s book that the riots were not a coup attempt but a result of certain Umno leaders taking advantage of the party’s weakened leadership. 

Meant for public consumption

When asked about the contribution of Kua’s book to academic discourse on the subject, Shamsul said that based purely on news reports on the matter, he did not technically consider the book academic material.

“Two conditions must be met – there must be two referees and that the book must be published by recognised publisher (of academic material).

“For me, I think he is a public intellectual concerned about issues whether (the general) May 13 interpretation is correct. I think it is a good thing to do. The real question is whether people agree or not with his analysis,” said Shamsul.

Kua when contacted said his books meets academic expectations, but it was published for public consumption.

“At the same time it needs to meet my needs of having a political position with an analysis,” said Kua, a former DAP MP for Bukit Bintang and currently principal for New Era College in Kajang.

He said his book was not meant to be an exhaustive take on the May 13 incident and that the only way to uncover the truth of the matter was through an independent inquiry

“In the postscript of my book, I appealed for eyewitness accounts, from friends and relatives of victims, with oral history and details of what happened. This is the beginning of how the people will get the bigger picture,” added Kua.

Unveiling the May 13 riots


May 13: Forgive but not forget

May 16, 2007









I hold the view that we should forgive but not forget about the May 13 Incident. All Malaysians , young and old , should know the important historical events of our land, regardless of whether it was positive or negative in nature. May 13 Incident was regarded as the darkest hours in our 50 years of nationhood. We should know who were the culprits and why it has taken place. With a clear knowledge and understanding of the ugly incident, we should know what need to be done to keep Malaysia a peaceful and prosperous nation.

It’s our common goal to keep every Malaysians happy and safe, living harmoniously together. No one (especially Umno) should use the May 13 Incident again to threaten voters.

If Umno as a party has made such a serious mistake in the past, the current leadership should be bold enough to admit it. They should even apologise for the crimes committed in the past. The last thing they should do is to prevent the younger generations from knowing the hitory by banning the book.

Columnist Yang BaiYang has a comment…


07年5月15日 下午5:37








纳吉说政府有各种管道去充分了解事件的导因。国人读历史,不只是要知道历史事件的导因。 他们不只要知道五一三事件由什么人发动,他们要知道整个事件的发生过程,最后如何收场?这段历史演变到今天,成为一种什么局面?还原事实真相是最根本的要求,如果官方的报告已经包括了一切事实真相,那么柯嘉逊的书,也只能证实官方的报告是真相罢了。反之,国人应该感谢他补充或者纠正的事实。




May 13 books confiscated by the authority

May 16, 2007
The authority confiscated some 10 copies of the book on May 13 by Dr Kua at the MPH bookstore in Midvalley yesterday, claiming that the book may be banned under the 1984 Printing & Publication Act. This is an abuse of power and the action of the authority must be condemned.

Ministry seizes controversial May 13 book
May 15, 07 8:56pm


The Internal Security Ministry confiscated 10 copies a controversial book with new claims on the May 13 racial riots from a major bookstore in the Midvalley shopping centre today.

According to the publishers of ‘May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969′, a team of ministry officers visited the MPH bookstore this afternoon.

The officers advised the popular bookstore not to sell the book as it may be banned.

According to a letter issued by the ministry officers to the bookstore, the books were confiscated from the shelves for suspicion of being an “undesirable publication” based on Section 7 of the Printing Press and Publications Act 1984.

The act empowers the minister to ban any publication which is “prejudicial to or likely to be prejudicial to public order, morality, security, the relationship with any foreign country or government, or which is likely to alarm public opinion”.

The book is penned by academic Dr Kua Kia Soong as a result of a three-month research at the Public Records Office in London to study records and declassified documents on the May 13, 1969 communal riots.

Based on official correspondences and intelligence reports by British officers, Kua argued that the riots were not random acts of communal violence but a coup d’etat attempt by a faction within Umno.

He asserts that the coup attempt against then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman was also backed by the police and army with the intention of forging a new Malay agenda.

Kua said official records show was evidence that portrayal of the event in history books were heavily distorted, which blamed the riots on opposition parties “infiltrated by communist insurgents”.

Senators want book banned

Official figures said the May 13 riots claimed 196 lives, 180 were wounded by firearms and 259 by other weapons, 9,143 persons were arrested out of whom 5,561 were charged in court, 6,000 persons rendered homeless, at least 211 vehicles and 753 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Following this, Malaysian government embarked on an affirmative action policy, the New Economic Policy, to uplift the economic standards of the Malays, which objectives have been kept in place up to today.

Yesterday in the Dewan Negara, three senators have called for the book to be banned.

In response, Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow today said that the ministry would study the contents of the book and take action soon, according to the evening edition of China Press today.

Related reports
Unveiling the May 13 riots


■日期/May 15, 2007   ■时间/09:46:32 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/Merdekareview记者
【本刊记者撰述】国内安全部今天派出一组官员到吉隆坡谷中城(Midvalley)的MPH书局充公新纪元学院院长、人权工作者柯嘉逊的新著《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》(May 13 – Declassified Documents on the Malaysia Riots of 1969),并向该书局发出公函,劝告他们勿公开摆卖本书。根据《当今大马》报道,国安部发给MPH书局的公函宣称,该部扣押柯嘉逊的新著,是因为该书被怀疑是一本可能会在1984年印刷机与出版法令第七条款下被查禁的书籍。




本书前天在吉隆坡举行新书发表会,作者柯嘉逊呼吁我国政府成立独立的“还原513事件真相”委员会,展开公开听证会收集目击者的口供和看法,还原这个历史事迹的真相。【点击:513事件是推翻东姑政变 学者促政府还原历史真相】




与此同时,副国安部长胡亚桥今天在上议院总结感谢最高元首施政御词时透露,国安部将尽快研究《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》的内容,并采取适当行动。


巫统党籍的上议员赛阿里阿巴斯(Syed Ali Syed Abbas)和莎丽法阿兹莎(Sharifah Azizah)昨天在上议院放话要政府查禁《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》及对付作者柯嘉逊。【点击:批柯嘉逊新著不符官方说法 上议员要政府查禁对付作者】

至本文截稿时,《独立新闻在线》仍无法联络上《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》的总代理文运企业的负责人。

点击购买《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》

Book on May 13 were selling like hot cakes!

May 15, 2007

 All 1,000 copies of the controversial book on May 13 by Dr Kua Kia Soong were sold out within two days! The publisher told me that the new prints can only be out next week. Meanwhile, DPM Najib has openly said that no one should touch on the sad episode in our history anymore. He has forgotten that it was people like him who time and again use the ugly incident to threaten the Malaysian voters in every general elections! BTW, Najib’s father was regarded by the Late Tunku Abdul Rahman as the No.1 culprit that capitalised on the bloody incident to topple him.

May 13: A coup to oust Tunku

May 13, 2007
I bought some copies at the book launch this morning. The declassified documents were sufficient to help readers to understand what has taken place in 1969. But I was a little disappointed that there was no solid and concrete records on the actual number of casualties (total deaths and injuries).

The publisher of the book, Suaram, has suggested to establish a commission of truth to get to the bottom of the May 13 Incident.

Both panelists (Dr Syed Husin Ali and Dr S Nagarajan) agreed with the findings and conclusion made by Dr Kua Kia Soong, that May 13 was not a spontaneous racial outburst but a coup staged by the Malay ultras at that time.

The biggest beneficiary of May 13 was Razak. He practically controlled the country through the National Operation Council (NOC), the new powerhouse of politics in Malaysia. 

Who were those involved besides Razak? Tunku himself has alleged : ” You know Harun was one of those-Harun, Mahathir, Ghazali Shafie-who were all working with Razak to oust me, to take over my place…”

I foresee that this book will inevitably kick up a storm in the national political arena. Umno is now under pressure to explain its role during the darkest hours of our nation. Umno leaders who were being mentioned in the book would most likely be the first to rebut vehemently (or at least give their sides of the story). 

The 134-page book was sold at only RM20 per copy. Grab a copy before it was banned by the Umno-led BN goverment.


■日期/May 13, 2007   ■时间/03:28:24 pm
■新闻/家国风云   ■作者/ 陈慧思
【本刊陈慧思撰述】在“513事件”遭“神话”了整整38年的今日,学者兼民权工作者柯嘉逊试图还原“513事件”的真相,为这个困扰我国各族人民38年的历史事迹去神话。发生在1969年5月13日的“513事件”38年来被官方定论为“种族冲突事件”,柯嘉逊(右图)根据史料挑战这项说法。他根据英国解密史料分析出,这宗困扰改变我国政治生态的历史大事件并非一起种族冲突事件,而是一起巫统精英策谋的政变!鉴于官方说法已经站不住脚,马来西亚人民之声(Suara Malaysia,简称“SUARAM”)和柯嘉逊呼吁我国政府成立独立的“还原513事件真相”委员会,展开公开听证会收集目击者的口供和看法,还原这个历史事迹的真相。柯嘉逊从伦敦西郊国立植物公园(Kew Gardens)的公共档案舘发掘了一批解密文件;这批解密文件显示,“513事件”并非突发事件,反之是一次有计划的行动,目的是推翻第一任首相东姑阿都拉曼(Tunku Abdul Rahman)的政权。


配合“513事件”的周年日,马来西亚人民之声(Suara Malaysia,简称“SUARAM”)今日上午在隆雪中华大会堂,为柯逊博士新著《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》举办推介礼暨举办“回顾513事件:独立后的种族关系与国家团结”讲座会,邀请柯嘉逊、学者兼人民公正党署理主席赛胡先阿里(Syed Husin Ali)和学者那卡拉贞主讲,吸引约120人与会。


柯嘉逊指出,“513事件”是新兴马來官僚资产阶级推翻马來贵族阶层的政变;依照东姑阿都拉曼的说法,政变的主事人很可能就是当时的副首相阿都拉萨(Abdul Razak)和雪兰莪州州务大臣哈伦依特里斯(Harun Idris),其同谋尚包括了在位22年的前首相马哈迪。

马来亚大学前社会学教授的赛胡先(Syed Husin Ali)和甘榜美丹事件研究学者纳嘉拉贞(S. Nagarajan)皆认同,“513事件”乃一起由巫统内部斗争所策划的事件,甚于一起民间种族情绪高涨所引发的暴动。





柯嘉逊是在其新书《513 – 1969年暴动之解密文件》(左图)中作出上述披露。他在书中把“513事件”喻为“关鍵性的政治起义”。他指出:“它改变了马来西亚政治史,确保新兴马來资产阶级的崛起,并通过‘新经济政策’,鞏固他们的政治势力。”










Book launch and Forum on May 13

May 12, 2007

Book Launch and Public Forum: “May 13 – Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969”  

Sunday May 13 2007 @ 10am-12pm @ Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese  Assembly Hall

Organised by Suaram

07年5月11日 晚上9:41 Malaysiakini





























不过,被询及是否担忧有关当局将会采取类似宣布描述甘榜美丹(Kampung Medan)械斗事件一书《3月8日》为禁书的手段来禁止其新著的流传时,柯嘉逊丝毫不畏惧地表示,“在网络时代,禁书还有什么意思?我们可以把它放在网上流传,你根本无法做什么。”

May 13: A coup d’etat

May 11, 2007
Declassified documents have shown that May 13 was not a spontaneous racial riot; it was a political plot planned by certain Umno leaders to oust Tunku Abdul Rahman. According to a reliable source, the MCA leadership was alerted by its partner in the Alliance coalition about the incident before hand and its headquarters in Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur was ordered to shut down on Friday May 13 and the entire staff were sent to Fraser Hill for a short ‘vacation’. 

All these years, the opposition parties have been accused by the authority as the responsible party for the riots but the authority has no proofs whatsoever to support their claim. I have written several statements in the past to defend the opposition when the opposition was under attacked.

Congratulations to Dr Kua for his new book. Malaysians have the right to know the truth about the ‘darkest hours of our nationhood’.

Unveiling the ‘May 13’ riots

Beh Lih Yi
May 11, 07 12:52pm
“While people were still assembling for this parade, trouble broke out in the nearby Malay section of Kampung Baru, where two Chinese lorries were burnt…By 7.15pm, I could see the mobs swarming like bees at the junction of Jalan Raja Muda and Batu Road. More vehicles were smashed and Chinese shophouses set on fire.The Chinese and Indian shopkeepers of Batu Road formed themselves into a ‘district defence force’ armed with whatever they find – parangs, poles, iron bars and bottles…When the Malay invading force withdrew as quickly as it had arrived, the residents took their revenge. Shop-fronts and cars suspected of being Malay-owned were smashed or burnt…The police arrived at about 9pm but did not remain in the area. Later, truck-loads of Federal Reserve Units (riot squads) and the Royal Malay Regiment drove past…”(Excerpts taken from a dispatch by Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent Bob Reece narrating his eyewitness account on May 13, 1969 after a group of young Malays gathered outside the Selangor Menteri Besar Harun Idris’ residence in late afternoon)

It has been almost four decades since the May 13 racial riots broke out.

What had prompted the worst riots in Malaysia’s 50-year history that cost the lives of 196 persons (according to official records) however remained shrouded under a veil of secrecy, although there are several versions on the matter so far.

The ‘official version’ of it has always been the violence was triggered off by the Chinese-dominated opposition supporters’ provocation in celebrating their electoral victory which saw the ruling Alliance Party suffered a major setback.

‘Full of nonsense’

This version, however was consistently rebutted by the opposition group who claimed otherwise. Other theories also suggested that the riots was rather a planned attack to oust then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The lack of accessible information in the public domain has been a stumbling block for those who intend to uncover the episode but a set of newly-declassified documents in London gave sociologist Dr Kua Kia Soong a thorough glimpse of the event.

Late last year, the principal of New Era College took a three-month sabbatical leave to the Public Records Office in London to study records and declassified documents on the May 13 incident after a 30-year secrecy rule over these documents lapse.

His findings based on the declassified documents – which have been compiled into a new book to be launched on Sunday – found the entire May 13 riots were by no means a spontaneous outburst of racial violence, as it has been portrayed to the Malaysian public.

“The (official) history of May 13 is full of nonsense, it doesn’t reveal anything. It pins the blame on the opposition party which was not true, they were not the responsible party,” Kua told malaysiakini in a recent interview.

“My book shows the responsible party were those ascendent state capitalist class (in Umno), elements within that gave rise and implemented this plan. There was a plan based on the people who assembled at the (Selangor) menteri besar’s house.

“There are correspondences and intelligence reports which showed that. Official history has to reveal that truth and not to pin the blame on everybody around who are not to be blamed,” the educationist and social activist stressed.

Kua maintained the May 13 incident was a coup d’etat against the Tunku by the then emergent Malay state capitalists – backed by the police and army – to seize control of the reign of power from the old aristocrats to implement the new Malay agenda.

A plot to oust Tunku

He opined the riots were works of “Malay thugs” orchestrated by politicians behind the coup.

For instance, he said the “group of hoodlums suddenly appeared from all over the place” on the day of May 13 to gather at Harun’s residence and the questionable conduct of the police and army to just stood by and watch.

He added that documents showed less than a week after the riots, then deputy premier Tun Abdul Razak who headed the National Operations Council was already in full control of the country – an indication that there had been a plot.

On top of that, discussions for future plans had already been carried out.

“For example the National Cultural Policy (announced in 1971) burst in the 80s, it was already been thought of one week after (the May 13 incident),” Kua noted, referring to the controversial policy which placed emphasis on the ‘indigenous culture’ and Islam.

A secret document from the British cabinet office featured in the book showed that barely a week after the riots broke out, the Central Intelligence Agency had figured out what Tun Razak was planning – “to formalise Malay dominance, sideline the Chinese and shelve the Tunku”.

The role of the security forces in the May 13 bloodshed was also questioned in Kua’s findings.

“Even at that time, people in the diplomatic core (were wondering) how come the day the riot broke out, Razak met with the chiefs of the police and army but they did not do anything,” he said.

Interestingly, Kua pointed out the Malaysian security forces had been tested and tried during the war against the communist insurgency between 1948 and 1960 and earned their reputation.

“They are one of the most effective in putting down the communist insurrection that is a far, far more difficult operation than putting down riot, but they could not put down (such riot) in 1969 for days, for weeks,” he questioned.

It thus brought to Kua’s conclusion: “The May 13 was a pretext for staging that coup… I am not the first person who said it was a coup d’etat but I am providing the documents to show how it was a coup d’etat.”

Exact fatality number unknown

The declassified documents have included reports fielded by foreign correspondents who were in Kuala Lumpur at the time, dispatches by the British High Commission personnel who closely followed the event and various other confidential reports from the diplomat circle.

It is considerably the first time a complete recount of the tragedy is made available to the Malaysian public, as many foreign correspondent reports were previously banned while local documents are inaccessible.

However, what could not be established in the book is another secrecy, the real number of deaths.

Official figures said the May 13 riots claimed 196 lives, 180 were wounded by firearms and 259 by other weapons, 9,143 persons were arrested out of whom 5,561 were charged in court, 6,000 persons rendered homeless, at least 211 vehicles and 753 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

The declassified documents and international correspondents at the time nevertheless have calculated a much higher number of fatalities but an exact number could not be ascertained, although it was common knowledge the victims are majority ethnic Chinese.

Kua said it is his hope to smash two myths with the publication of the book.

“One is racial riot will occur when the Malays are not happy, that’s why you need the New Economic Policy, affirmative action policy et cetera, otherwise the Malays will be unhappy and there will be riot.

“This is the first myth we should dismantle as documents showed some people were involved in making it (the May 13) happened with the connivance of the police and army,” he stressed.

The second myth, Kua said, is academicians and pluralist theorists who uphold the views that riots and conflicts will occur naturally in multi-racial country.

“I am questioning this. The role of the state is very important at a particular historical conjuncture. Malays, Chinese and Indians don’t suddenly decide to fight in conflict, it doesn’t happen like that,” he said.

Asked on whether there is any fear that the authorities might move to ban the publication of the book, as in the case of a recent ban slapped on a book about the Kampung Medan clashes, Kua responded:

“In the age of the internet, what does banning a book mean? We can put it on the Web, you can’t do anything.”

‘May 13’: The first credible account

What actually happened during the 1969 riots
May 11, 07 1:11pm Malaysiakini
The series of events surrounding the ‘May 13’ riot has been documented by Dr Kua Kia Soong in his latest book May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969 which will be launched on Sunday in conjunction with the 38th anniversary of the tragedy.This compilation, based on various sets of foreign dispatches and confidential reports at the time – which were declassified recently and made available at the Public Records Office in London – has been dubbed as the first credible account on the incident.

“The real circumstances surrounding the worst racial riot in the history of Malaysia have so far not been made available to the Malaysian public. The official version is fraught with contradictions and inadequacies to which few pay credence,” Kua wrote in the book.

Below are excerpts and summary of the chronology of events based on the declassified documents taken from Kua’s book:

May 10:

The ruling Alliance Party suffered a major setback in the general election although it had managed to retain a simple parliamentary majority. They had lost Penang to the Gerakan Party; Kelantan to the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party while Perak and Selangor were at the brink of falling into the opposition’s hands.

May 11 and May 12:

On both nights, the opposition celebrated their victory. A large Gerakan procession was held to welcome the left-wing Gerakan leader V David back from winning the federal seat in Penang.

May 13:

The MCA which had suffered badly at the polls, announced that it would withdraw from the cabinet while remaining within the Alliance.

A dispatch from a foreign correspondent showed it is evident that there was a plan for youths mobilised by Umno elements to assemble at then Selangor menteri besar Harun Idris’ residence in the late afternoon. A retaliatory march had been planned although police permission was withheld.

When people were still assembling for the parade, trouble broke out in the nearby Malay section of Kampung Baru, where two Chinese lorries were burnt. The ensuing carnage at Kampung Baru and Batu Road quickly spread elsewhere in Kuala Lumpur.

The foreign correspondent noted the curfew that was imposed was not fairly applied to all.

“In the side streets off Jalan Hale, I could see bands of Malay youths armed with parangs and sharpened bamboo spears assembled in full view of troops posted at road junctions. Meanwhile, at Batu Road, a number of foreign correspondents saw members of the Royal Malay Regiment firing into Chinese shophouses for no apparent reason.”

Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman immediately attributed the violence as triggered off by the behaviour of opposition supporters after the election result announcement while his deputy Tun Abdul Razak pinned the blame on the communists.

May 14:

The riots continued but on a smaller scale. The curfew was only lifted in staggered hours in various districts to allow people to buy food. The police called out all possible reserves and handed over the northern part of the city to the army.

Police put casualties for the previous night incident at 44 killed and about 150 injured. Another dispatch showed the casualties were mainly Chinese as it stated that out of 77 corpses in the morgue of the General Hospital on May 14, at least 60 were Chinese.

The government’s attempts to blame the communists for the riots were however not taken seriously by the officials at the British High Commission (BHC) who could see that the Tunku was not prepared to blame his own people for the riots, nor was he going to blame it on the Chinese “as a whole”.

May 15:

The King proclaimed a state of emergency. The National Operations Council headed by Tun Razak was formed. Tun Razak was still responsible to the Tunku, but all the powers under Emergency Regulations were vested in him.

The curfew had been lifted temporarily in Kuala Lumpur that morning but the situation had rapidly worsened and more sporadic fighting had broken out. Curfews were re-imposed but food was very short.

The local press was suspended until censorship regulations could be drawn up but no attempt was made to supervise reports sent out by foreign correspondents.

May 16:

The situation was still tense in Selangor with cars and houses being burned and fatalities rising. Death tolls had risen to 89 with over 300 injured. 24 hour curfew remained in force in Selangor and had also been imposed in Malacca. In Penang and Perak, the situation had improved although the curfew remained in force.

Tunku made a broadcast in which he announced the setting up of a National Defence Force to be manned by volunteers. The new information minister Hamzah Abu Samah and Tun Razak gave a press conference pinning the blame for the riots on communist infiltration of the opposition parties.

There were reports of looting by the largely Malay military and their bias against the Chinese Malaysians. Number of refugees were increasing.

May 17:

There were skepticism among British officers toward the official figures for fatalities and the preponderance of Chinese casualties among the dead. The police estimated the deaths at about 100 now while British officers estimated the proportion of Chinese to Malay casualties is about 85:15.

The press censorship invited criticism not only from the local press but also in diplomatic circles especially when official statements lacked clarity and credibility.

In a confidential BHC memorandum to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the coup d’etat has been acknowledged and it has effected the transfer of power not only to “Malay hands” but also to the security forces. The latter’s professionalism is questioned.

The BHC also noted the Federal Reserve Unit, which at the time was multiracial in composition, was the more impartial of the security forces while the Malay troops were discriminatory in enforcing the curfew.

“Discriminatory takes the form, for example, of not, repeat not, enforcing the curfew in one of the most violently disposed of the Malay areas in Kuala Lumpur (Kampung Baru) where Malays armed with parangs, etc continue to circulate freely; with the inevitable result that gangs slip through the cordon round the area and attack Chinese outside it. In Chinese areas, the curfew is strictly enforced.”

May 18:

The Tunku qualified his earlier assertion that the disturbances were caused by communists, putting the blame instead on assorted “bad elements”. He also announced the deferment of the Sarawak elections and the continuance of the restrictions on the movement of foreign journalists.

The situation was still unsettled in some parts of the capital city.

May 19:

Less than a week after the riots, the reins of power had effectively passed to Tun Razak, indicating that there had been a plot to bring about the coup d’etat.“The exact relationship between Tun Razak and the Tunku is not clear. In public Tun Razak says he is directly responsible to the Tunku but he has made it clear privately that he is completely in charge of the country. This could mean the beginning of a process of withdrawal by the Tunku as an effective PM”.

There are some 10,000 reported refugees. The local press was allowed to publish under censorship while foreign journalists had their curfew passes withdrawn. Some opposition politicians were arrested.

May 20:

In a meeting, an Australian High Commissioner had suggested the opposition leaders should be given a role as peace maker but Tun Razak and Ghazali Shafie were firmly against this. “They considered opposition leaders would simply use such an opportunity to promote their own political views.”

The Malaysian Red Cross Society is continuing its daily feeding programme for refugees in various places and over 5,000 had received food supplies.

May 21:

The official statistics of casualties at this juncture were 137 killed (18 Malays), 342 injured, 109 vehicles burned, 118 buildings destroyed and 2,912 persons arrested who were mostly curfew breakers.

May 23:

The declassified documents reveal that Malay troops were not only fraternising with the Malay thugs but were discharging their firearms indiscriminately at Chinese shophouses as they went through the city.

“When confronted by foreign correspondents with reports of racial discrimination, Tun Razak flatly denied them. Following this, curfew passes issued to foreign journalists were withdrawn and reporters were ordered to remain indoors ‘for their own safety’.”

A foreign correspondent’s report showed the Malay hooligans were detested by the law-abiding Malays of Kampung Baru.

Internal security and home minister Tun Dr Ismail indicated that the Internal Security Act would be in future amended to “counter changing communist tactics”. It was disclosed that of the 3,699 arrested during the crisis, 952 were members of secret societies.

May 24:

Law and order has been re-established in Kuala Lumpur and the atmosphere in the town had improved. People were going back to work (in non-curfew hours) and the government offices were limbering into action. The curfew remained in force (from 3pm to 6.30am of the following day). The government was not ready to admit that it was armed Malay youth who had caused the disturbances.

May 27:

The Tunku was under pressure to resign as he was clearly incensed by foreign journalists’ speculations about his weakening position and got his private secretary to write a protest note to the BHC.

May 28:

A confidential report by the BHC to the FCO on this day observed the government’s attempts to blame the communists for the disturbances were an attempt to justify their new authoritarian powers.


The riots had been under control but they were still sporadic outbreaks of civil disturbances. A BHC report noted violence erupted again in one part of Kuala Lumpur on the night of June 28 and 29, a number of houses were burnt and the casualties were officially given as five killed and 25 injured. Some disturbances toward the end of June also involved ethnic Indians.


Renewed trouble in which one policeman was killed was quickly stopped from spreading in Kuala Lumpur by positive police action.

Tun Ismail’s firm stand in ordering the security forces to act firmly ‘without favour or discrimination’ to any communal group and the Tunku’s announcement of a National Goodwill Committee made up of politicians of all parties went some way toward allaying the fears of the people.

Tun Ismail also revealed the total arrests since May now stood at 8,114, comprising people “from all the major racial groups”. Of these, 4,192 had been charged in court, 675 released on bail, 1,552 unconditionally released and 1,695 preventively detained.

Situation in the Peninsula had improved substantially but tension remains high in sensitive areas of Malacca, Perak and Selangor.

Tension had begun to ease until Malay agitation connected with Tunku’s return to a position of influence and the removal of Dr Mahathir Mohamad from Umno’s general committee on July 12 had heightened it again. Malay university students petitioned for Tunku’s resignation and demonstrated on the campus.

Unveiling the ‘May 13’ riots

MCA- “Father of Money politics”

April 7, 2007

In recent ground-breaking book entitled “The Finest Hour”: Malaysian-MCP Peace Accord in Perspective” Dr Collin Abraham made certain observations on the MCA based on his research findings. The Book itself had Forewords written by two of the most brilliant Malay politicians, Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Zaid Ibrahim

From what he says,the DAP can challenge the claim of the MCA to represent the Chinese in this country.The Party was conceived by the British and the founder members were almost entirely Chinese Nationals from the Kuomintang Nationalist Party of China, some even from the Chinese Army! It also had the full support of Secret Societies among whom were some noted gangsters.

Also because UMNO was startrng from scratch and its early members were farmers and fishermen the Party seriously lacked funds for political campaigns. Dr Abraham’s work seems to show that early MCA officials ‘overwhelmed’ UMNO by contributing huge funds and thereby unfairly obtained political representation to contest seats in the Alliance. It can be said therefore that the origins of “Money Politics” in concept and application today arose from the MCA.

The present composition of the Party leaders clearly shows its ‘elite’ class-based leadership tht has arisen from “Money Politics” and the Party therefore CANNOT AND DO NOT represent the Chinese people of Malaysia.”

– Comment made by a learned academician.

The world is watching…

December 23, 2006

This article appeared in The Age, Australia.

Model’s murder raises explosive questions for Malaysian minister 

Connie Levett
December 14, 2006 Altantuya Sahriibuu, the murdered Mongolian beauty. Some 40 NGOs in Mongolia have wanted Malaysia not to cover up the case. The Mongolians are having serious doubt in the way Malaysian courts handle the matter. And the whole is watching us. Justice must be done and seen to be done. We have suffered a great deal in the eyes of the world. The damage caused by this atrocious murder must not be underestimated. We cannot afford another international debacle.

THREE men will appear in Malaysia’s Shah Alam High Court today in a case that has riveted the country’s media and political classes.

The murderous drama involves a beautiful Mongolian model, a Muslim political analyst with friends in the highest places, and an explosive cover-up — the body was blown to bits.

Altantunya Shariibuu, a 28-year-old mother of two, was kidnapped on October 19. She was allegedly shot twice in the head, and her blown-up remains were found in forest at Shah Alam, south of Kuala Lumpur. She was identified by DNA taken from bone fragments.

Respected political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 46, who was allegedly her lover, has pleaded not guilty to abetting murder, a charge that carries the death penalty.

The prosecution case hinges on an alleged meeting between Abdul Razak and two elite police officers at his Kuala Lumpur office the day before the kidnapping. The two officers, special taskforce Chief Inspector Azhila Hadri, 30, and Corporal Siral Azhar Umar, 35, are also charged with murder. They have not entered a plea.

Abdul Razak is a confidant of Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Najib Abdul Razak.

Although Mr Najib has not been formally implicated in the case, questions have been raised about the alleged involvement of special taskforce police and whether the apparent use of C4 explosives points to an abuse of Defence Ministry power.

Malaysia’s elite has not seen anything like it since former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was falsely accused of sodomising his driver.

Unlike Mr Anwar, who was beaten up by the police chief and jailed for six years, Abdul Razak was charged and then released on health grounds in late November, on an unguaranteed bail bond. This had never been allowed before in a Malaysian murder trial, but there was no protest from prosecutors.

The victim’s father, Setev Shaariibuu, travelled from Mongolia to Malaysia to seek justice for his daughter.

“This is an international case, this is a brutal murder,” he told reporters after Abdul Razak was released. “It was all about releasing him, all about his family, and his background … I hope justice will be served.”

Early in the case, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi promised there would be no cover-up, but the Government has since refused to comment, saying the case is before the court.

That has not stopped opposition politicians. In Parliament, Karpal Singh of the Democratic Action Party has claimed the C4 explosives could only have been found in the Defence Ministry.

“So what was the link of the Defence Ministry (with the case)?” he reportedly asked Parliament this month. “Why was Altantunya’s body exploded? Was she pregnant? Are the police afraid to investigate because it involved a highly placed minister?”

Another opposition politician, Syed Husin Ali of the People’s Justice Party, said: “Should the Government continue to be silent, rumours will spread even further and will eventually be accepted as the truth by the public.” The trial is expected to begin next year.

Book launch “The Finest Hours”: The Malaysian-MCP Peace Accord in Perspective by Dr Collin Abraham

November 15, 2006

All readers of Colour-blind are invited to the book launch on Saturday 2 December 2006 to be held at the Royal Selangor Club at 11am (till 1 pm). The book will be launched by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has penned a forword for the new book by Dr Collin Abraham, a reknown social scientist with vast experience in field works. C U There!