'Initiate a Royal Commission on the May 13 riots’

Boo Cheng Hau

Modified 13 Sep 2018, 9:28 pm

LETTER | I urge the Pakatan Harapan government to initiate a Truth and Reconciliation Royal Commission composed of civil society representatives and independent legal experts to seek truth on the nation's tragic May 13 racial riots in order for Malaysians to be able to move forward as a nation without any baggage of past history.

I praise DAP's Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh's courage in admitting his error in challenging the authorities to charge former IGP Hanif Omar under the Sedition Act for accusing DAP and Lim Kit Siang of “asking to split peninsular Malaysia into East Coast for Malays and West Coast for Chinese" during the May 13 mayhem.

DAP has always stood for a united, non-racial Malaysian Malaysia which opposes any division of Malaysian citizens along racial lines. Malaysians have all the right to know the truth about what actually triggered the May 13 racial riots so that they can move forward as a nation with a clear picture of the actual history in order not to repeat the same mistakes.

Instead of charging the former IGP for sedition or any other criminal offence, or suing him for defamation in court, it is of the utmost importance for the Harapan government to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Royal Commission to seek the truth on the May 13 racial riots, towards aiming for reconciliation among all parties involved and forge institutional and constitutional reforms.

The narrative on mayhem in the past should not be dictated by a few in power, but put through a judiciary process where truth could be made to prevail. I believe Lim Kit Siang would agree with having an independent royal commission, not just to clear DAP and himself of any wrongdoing but to also bring those responsible to justice. Ultimately, that has utmost historical and constitutional importance, rather than suing the former IGP for defamation.

I hold the view that DAP cannot be seen to be vindictive now that it is in power. Instead, it should be seen as the pioneer in forging for institutional and constitutional reforms. Therefore, I fully support DAP Deputy National Chairman Gobind Singh Deo's reiteration of the party's stand on repealing draconian laws such as the Sedition Act.

I also hope that Gobind will propose the Freedom of Information, Speech and Multimedia Act to replace draconian legislation such as the Official Secrets Act, the Anti-Fake News Act and the Sedition Act to protect Malaysians' constitutional right to free speech and free access to information.

The writer is DAP Taman Ungku Tun Aminah (Skudai) branch publicity secretary.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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