By Lim Kit Siang
For four decades, the police, the security forces and the government could not pinpoint who caused the May 13 riots in 1969, but suddenly, somebody knew who caused the May 13 riots – and I have been accused in this House of having caused May 13.
Lies and falsehoods that I had incited and sparked the May 13 riots, particularly in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969 had been blazoned on the blogs of UMNO cybertroopers.
I was not even in KL during the riots…
In fact, I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969. I contested in Bandar Melaka, was in the counting centre in Malacca until the early hours of May 11 , 1969 for the results, returning to my family in Petaling Jaya later on May 11 (Sunday).
On Monday, May 12, 1969, I returned to Bandar Melaka constituency for a thank-the-voters procession in the evening and a thank-the-voters public rally on Monday night, both of which were peacefully conducted.
I was speaking at a public rally in Kota Kinabalu on the night of May 13 when I first learnt of May 13 troubles in Kuala Lumpur.
Irresponsible and despicable lies of UMNO-BN
To accuse me of inciting the May 13 riots with racist outbursts and abuses in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13 are the most irresponsible and despicable of lies.
In my first speech in Parliament on Feb 23, 1971 after my release from my first Internal Security Act detention and the restoration of Parliament, on the Constitution Amendment
Bill 1971, I called for the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission, which should include non-MP Malaysians eminent in their respective fields, to among other things, “find out the cause of the May 13 racial riots” and “to make recommendations as to how to prevent a recurrence of May 13 racial riots and arrest the racial polarisation in Malaysia”.
This was what I said in July 1969 in response to my detention under the Internal Security Act, record of which I am sure are still in the Home Ministry archives:
“My every public statement and stand was motivated by my sense of Malaysian nationalism and patriotism. I was born in Malaysia and I shall die in Malaysia. I have no other land as my home. I have children who are growing up in Malaysia and who are going to live in Malaysia. I feel it is my duty to do my part to build a multi-racial and harmonious Malaysia for, without such a society, all Malaysians will suffer.
“I believe that the policy followed by the Alliance is not producing or generating a sense of Malaysian consciousness and identity transcending all racial language and cultural differences. I believe that the only formula to build a Malaysian nation is to give every Malaysian regardless of his race, language or culture, a stake in the political economic social and cultural development of the country, where no group feels that ti is being discriminated against on racial, cultural, language or religious grounds. It is this philosophy which guided all my public actions and utterances.”
This was my statement of love, loyalty, commitment, nationalism and patriotism when I was 28 years old. I am proud to say that I have stood by this statement.
My children are all in Malaysia, making their contribution towards the building of a modern, progressive, competitive, democratic and just Malaysia.
The next general elections will be a great test for Malaysia whether we can become a normal democratic country, where Malaysians have the right and power to peacefully effect a change of power and government through the ballot box.
I invite the Prime Minister and all Barisan Nasional leaders to join Pakatan Rakyat to prove that we are all Malaysian nationalists and patriots who could work together by establishing a Joint Commission to ensure that the 13th General Elections is the most clean, free and fair in the nation’s history in the process to prove to the world and ourselves that we have graduated to become a normal democratic country. -The Rocket