Two personalities prompted May 13

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I refer to the malaysiakini report 'Glorious days' of Kampung Baru old timers.

The May 13,1969 incident and the massacre of the innocents in Kuala Lumpur was precipitated by two main personalities. One was a very ambitious and flamboyant minister who thought that everybody else was far below him in terms of knowledge and stature (internationally and domestically).

Whilst the other senior member was undergoing a major test of his continued credibility following a major scandal with a leading film star. The Tunku was still gloating around, enjoying the good life and his undisputed popularity with all the Malaysian races.

The two men - in a hurry to grab the reins of power - were joined by others hopefuls like the charismatic Harun Idris. Many were cajoled and driven by promises and their racial sentiments.

The incident amply demonstrated to us that Umno subscribed to a political doctrine that when their own house was in trouble or when their credibility is threatened, they would not hesitate to resort to cruel and draconian tactics to create bigger problems as a distraction and to re-establish their grip on the people and the country.

In the past, this had taken the form of the May the 13 riots and the use of the Internal Security Acts (very frequently used by 'King Ghaz' [Ghazalie Shafie] and Dr Mahathir Mohamad).

The recent waving of an unsheathed keris at the last Umno general assembly was a stern reminder of this. To be fair to them, sometimes they also apply the same doctrine on each other as they scramble for power within Umno.

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