Just as Malaysians have arisen above two ignominies in its history, the May 13, 1969 racial riots and being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy, Malaysians must continue to aim high and be a top world class nation for harmony, freedom, integrity and excellence
I first visited Kota Kinabalu 50 years ago on the day of infamy for Malaysia – the May 13, 1969 racial riots.
I left Kuala Lumpur for the flight to Kota Kinabalu on the morning on May 13, 1969 to help the independent Kota Kinabalu parliamentary candidate as polling in Sabah and Sarawak in 1969 were to be held after Peninsular Malaysia, which was held on May 10, 1969.
I was just elected Member of Parliament for Bandar Melakja and it was in answer for the SOS call from the Independent Parliamentary candidate for Kota Kinabalu that I flew to Kota Kinabalu that morning – not realising that May 13, 1969 was to be a day infamy for Malaysia.
It was only at the Kota Kinabalu public rally that evening, I learned that racial riots had broken out in Kuala Lumpur as a result of the general election results three days earlier.
I left Sabah on May 15, and was arrested when I left Singapore for Subang on May 18, which started my first Internal Security Act incarceration.
I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the May 13, 1969 riots, but I have been accused of leading the illegal assemblies in the streets in Kuala Lumpur, shouting anti-Malay slogans and causing the May 13, 1969 racial riots – lies which we resurrected again and again in the last five decades.
The May 13, 1969 racial riots demonstrated the importance of racial and religious harmony in our multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation – that we must not allow the opportunists and desperados in our midst to polarise racial and religious problems for their own ends, which could only result in Malaysia becoming a divided and a failed state.
For the past five decades, the May 13, 1969 racial riots were exploited by irresponsible politicians to frighten Malaysians from peacefully exercising their democratic rights, but Malaysians rose above two national ignominies in the historic result of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 – firstly, the ignominy of the May 13,1969 racial riots and secondly, the ignominy of being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy – to tell the world not to lose hope in democracy as a form of government.
Just as Malaysians have arisen above these two ignominies in its history, the May 13, 1969 racial riots and being condemned by the world as a global kleptocracy, Malaysians must continue to aim high and be a top world class nation for harmony, freedom, integrity and excellence to build a New Malaysia, where Malaysians can hold their heads high because they come from a country which not only tolerate, but accept and respect racial, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity as well as a country which is a leading nation of integrity in the world.
The Kepayang DAP Chinese New Year Open House, hosted by the Sabah Assemblywoman and Assistant Minister for Law and Native Affairs, Jannie Lasimbang is a testimony we have great potential to put these two national ignominies behind us.