PETALING JAYA: Ruling politicians have never failed to remind Malaysians of the sectarian violence which rocked the nation more than four decades ago.
The spectre was often summoned to stoke fear in the hearts of the electorate and served as a convenient tool to create suspicion and animosity between the races.
And while the soon-to-be repealed Sedition Act was used against those who uttered statements of comparatively lesser evil, those who peddled the May 13 bogey were however left untouched.
With the 13th general election looming and being touted as the nation’s most pivotal political bout, the bloodletting of 1969 had cropped up with increasing frequency, especially with the Chinese having turned their backs on the Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition as evident in their voting trend.
And in the forefront of this bandwagon was Perkasa, the self-appointed vanguard of the Malay race in Malaysia.
In a recent article published on its website, the writer had accused DAP’s Lim Kit Siang of being the prime mover behind the racial riots.
The article was accompanied by a macabre montage depicting the veteran politician with a bloody hand print in the background and blood dripping over his face, with the words “13 Mei”.
The article claimed that the opposition leader later sang a different tune, saying that DAP was willing to work with BN to ensure that such a tragic episode did not recur.
“His aim was to put a lid on his cardinal sin as the main force [pengerak utama] behind May 13 and to wash his hands of the blood of the innocent victims [of the riots],” it read.
The article, titled “Kit Siang pernah halau Melayu dari Kg Baru”, was penned in reaction to Lim’s vexed response to the accusation that DAP was infiltrated by Communist elements.
Delving into the history of DAP’s formation, the article stated that since its inception, the party had close ties with Singapore’s People’s Action Party or PAP.
Following Singapore’s departure from the Federation, the article said DAP was formed with Lim, who was said to share family ties with Singapore’s first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, being one of the pioneers.
“There is not much difference between DAP and PAP. So it does not come as a surprise that the new generation of DAP leaders like Lim’s son Guan Eng continue the tradition of ‘worshipping’ PAP,” it added.
Following the 1969 general election, the article stated that DAP and Gerakan (which was then an opposition party) grew arrogant after securing a huge victory in Selangor.
“DAP used the freedom of expression without limits to condemn and insult the Malays during a mammoth rally in Kuala Lumpur which saw them bring banners and loud-hailers.
“It had only been 12 years since the Chinese were accorded full citizenship based on one of the conditions set forth by the British and they [the Chinese] had grown big headed,” it read.
Citing a report by the National Action Council then, the article said it was found that DAP’s street procession in which racist sentiments were spewed against the Malays was the catalyst behind the racial riots.
Interestingly, the article stated that 2,000 lives were lost in the riots despite official statistics placing the death toll at under 200 amidst claims that it was an attempt to downplay the incident.
According to the article, the slogan bandied about by Lim and the other Chinese leaders in DAP during their procession was “Malai si which meant ‘Mati Melayu’ [Malays are dead].”
The article also cited several other slogans purportedly chanted during the rally, which among others were: “Apa polis boleh buat, kita raja. Buang sama polis Melayu”, “KL sekarang Cina punya” and “Melayu balik kampung, Melayu sekarang tidak ada kuasa. Sekarang kita Cina sudah control.”
The fact was, claimed the article, DAP cannot change to become a party which would champion the rights of the Malays and Bumiputera “because racism runs deep in its veins”.
Frightening the Malays
Contacted later, an amused DAP publicity chief Tony Pua dismissed the article as something not even worth a response.
However, he told FMT that Malaysians would be able to judge for themselves who the real racists were.
“Lim’s story as to what he was doing on May 13 has been well documented… but these people refuse to believe that and continue to concoct wild allegations and stories,” he added.
Pua claimed that groups like Perkasa were doing this with the agenda to frighten the Malays into supporting Umno in the elections.