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COMMENT | 53 years after May 13 – what have we learnt?

COMMENT | Fifty-three years ago today, on May 13, 1969, Malaysia lost its racial harmony.

Racial riots rocked Kuala Lumpur and hundreds of people were killed, vehicles torched and buildings destroyed. The nation built on the promise of a shared future after its independence would never be the same again.

The skirmishes were between the Malays and Chinese and to a degree, Indians. Author and academic Dr Kua Kia Soong claimed Umno political conspiracy in his book, 'May 13', significantly based on declassified British documents. But academic Dr Syed Husin Ali disagreed. The consensus though is Umno leaders were involved to oust their leader, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman.

The internet has abundant archives of May 13, 1969, the day the nation was consumed by violence and blood-letting. It was a tragic time for a nation that has yet to resolve in a historic, constructive and moral sense, its bloody and shameful past, even if it is a conciliatory and historic denunciation of racial violence.

Even today the spectre of unscrupulous, evil and opportunistic politicians and their sycophants stirring the race embers for an insidious political agenda and unsavoury gain is real.

There is no disagreement however that Malaysia subsequently went on the road to...

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