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COMMENT | Yesterday marked the 55th anniversary of the riots of May 13, 1969, in Kuala Lumpur. It happened three days after the May 10 election of that year, the third after Malaysia’s independence on Aug 31, 1957.

Most Malaysians, over 90 percent, have no memory of it - it was that long ago. But it remains etched indelibly in the psyche of the nation with unprecedented racially motivated killings. Official figures count 196 dead, unofficial ones at several hundred.

It was an epic tragedy for the nation, less than a dozen years old, paving the way for sweeping controversial political and economic changes which are still the topics of intense, emotional debate today. 

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