ABOUT THE BOOK
Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong has called for the declassification of the official documents on the May 13, 1969 riots. In 2007, Kua had written a book titled “May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969.” He republished the book this year to commemorate the dark history. The tragic May 13 broke out three days after the 1969 general election where the Chinese-dominated opposition parties DAP and Gerakan had made electoral gains. Official reports claimed a total of 196 were killed, but British diplomats at the time estimated it to be around 800.
This is the first credible account of the May 13, 1969 racial riots/program in Malaysia using documents recently declassified at the Public Records Office, London after the lapse of the 30-year secrecy rule.
Since local sources remain classified or have been destroyed, these documents provide the only available confidential observations and memoranda by British and other foreign embassy operative. They include dispatches by correspondents which were then banned in Malaysia.
A social scientist, Kua Kia Soong provides a fresh political analysis of this “May 13 Incident”. In his view, the riots were by no means a spontaneous of violence between Malays and Chinese but rather an orchestrated coup d’etat by the ascendant state capitalist class against the Tunku-led aristocracy. He discusses the contradictions of the post-independence Alliance racial formula and traces the rise of the Malay state capitalist class in UMNO which has ruled Malaysia since 1969.
With this publication, the frequently raised “spectre of May 13” by the Barisan Nasional government to deter any challenge to the status quo has been forever put to rest and the political tsunami of 2008 is proof that Malaysians are finally free from the fear of fascism.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Kua Kia Soong is a director of human rights organization SUARAM. He was arrested under the Internal Security Act during “Operation Lalang” in 1987 and detained for 445 days without trial. Upon his release in 1989, he helped to found SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia), a leading human rights organization in Malaysia.
Together with other civil rights activists, he joined the Opposition Front in 1990 and was elected Opposition Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya from 1990 to 1995. He was a prisoner of conscience for a second time in 1996 when he spent seven days in prison with other activists for organizing the Second Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor which was disrupted by a mob from the ruling coalition.
He was the Principle of the New Era College, a non-profit tertiary-level institution run by the Chinese education movement (2000-2008); Director of Huazi Research Center set up by the Malaysian Chinese community (1985-90) and Academic Adviser to the Independent Chinese Secondary Schools (1983-85).
Kua received his BA Econ (1975), MA Econ (1976) and PhD in Sociology (1981) from Manchester University, UK. He was a lecturer in sociology at the National University of Singapore in 1978-79.
PREFACE TO THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
FOREWORD: ‘HIDDEN HANDS’ BY SAID ZAHARI
INTRODUCTION: QUESTIONING OFFICIAL HISTORY
- THE ALLIANCE RACIAL FORMULA
- THE 1969 GENERAL ELECTIONS
- RECORD OF THE RIOTS
- FOREIGN ASSESSMENTS OF THE REGIME CHANGE
- THE NEW UMNO RULING CLASS
- CONCLUSION: TOWARD NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE BOOK…
“A day after the book hit the shelves, three senators called for action to be taken against the book and Kua, while Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow said the ministry was studying the contents to decide on a course of action. Ten copies of the book have already been confiscated for “studying” by the Internal Security Ministry from a major bookstore chain in Kuala Lumpur.”
-Andrew Ong, Malaysiakini 18 May 2007
“The allegations made in the book could stoke racial sentiments… I have been told that (Kua) named certain leaders as people responsible for the riots. That of course can lead to all kinds of unpredictable responses since the leaders he named were apparently not Chinese but Malay. It creates a difficult situation in our fragile society… Khoo said the authorities should have monitored the progress of the book earlier rather than reacting after the book was published… But then people will be unhappy that such actions curb freedom of speech, which is a very relative thing. People have to be careful in dealing with such matters.”
-Prof Khoo Kay Khim, Malaysiakini 15 May 2007
“Banning a controversial book on the May 13 riots will violate the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Federal Constitution… In an age where information flows freely, constitutional freedoms must be honoured rather than breached. Laws and regulations which purport to grant power to the state to proscribe publications arbitrarily must only be used under the most exceptional circumstances…The book may indeed be controversial but if the government does not agree with the issues raised, it should refute them in an open and transparent manner…More significantly, banning this book will reinforce its thesis that the May 13 riots were indeed caused by a coup plotted by certain leaders to oust (then premier) Tunku Abdul Rahman.”
PKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysiakini 17 May 2007
– Free Book Giveaway