Saturday 21 July 2012

Moving on from May 13 — The Malaysian Insider

JULY 21 — May 13, now that's a date that keeps cropping up although the racial clashes on that date happened in 1969, 43 years ago.

Can we ever let it rest? Can we ever move on? Can we ever get politicians to stop saying they don't want it repeated, yet bring it up every now and then?

May 13 keeps popping up as a scaremongering tactic to keep various demographics united to support political parties facing an election, especially Umno.

There used to be some reverence and remorse for the darkest day in Malaysian history when blood spilled on the ground among us.

Now it is used with utmost disrespect by Umno strategists who believe that fear of trouble will persuade them to support the status quo - keeping Barisan Nasional (BN) in control of Putrajaya.

Here's the rub. BN can keep Putrajaya as long as it fulfils its promises. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has toured the country countless times, fixing problems and issues with his grand programme under the New Economic Model (NEM), Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and Government Transformation Programme (GTP).

So, why do we still hear about May 13?

Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang commented on the latest May 13 reference made by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, asking the Umno deputy president if he had meant to assure Malaysians that a similar clash would not repeat or warn them otherwise.

"I confess I am concerned at the way Muhyiddin raised the spectre of May 13, which had been used in the past decades to create fear among voters as part of the scare tactics to force voters to vote for Umno and BN," the Ipoh Timor MP said last night.

According to news reports yesterday, Muhyiddin asked the country's youths to stand united to avoid a another bloody racial clash like the 1969 riots, which is said to have claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 Malaysians.

"We don't want May 13 repeated," the deputy prime minister had said.

But Lim said Malaysia's political and social landscape have changed significantly since the clash, pointing to the birth of Pakatan Rakyat (PR), a coalition of three parties - DAP, PKR and PAS - which he said promotes multiracialism.

"So could there be another May 13 in the next general election? My answer would be a strong 'No'," he said.

That is something that all Malaysians should believe. That there will not be another May 13 ever. And shame the politicians who keep bringing it up.

Some of us have moved on to be the Bangsa Malaysia that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dreamt. We just have to make sure the laggards who want to cause mischief are not allowed to do so.

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