KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P. Ramasamy has challenged Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to “bring May 13” after the deputy prime minister reportedly warned that a repeat of the 1969 race riots could not be ruled out.
Saying that Malaysians in general did not wish to see a recurrence of the deadly inter-ethnic clashes, the Penang lawmaker criticised “irresponsible” leaders for fomenting the religious and racial tension currently stewing in the country.
“MIC might be scared, Gerakan might be scared, MCA might be scared, but I tell you, if you want to bring May 13, you bring it,” Ramasamy told a press conference here yesterday.
“Don’t talk. All the time talking May 13, May 13. Bring-lah May 13. You start May 13. This will be the first time the government starts May 13. You think what? You think we’re scared ah?” he added.
Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, reportedly said on Friday that a repeat of the May 13 race riots could occur if the country’s ethnic communities continue to criticise one another.
Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia reported Muhyiddin as saying in Johor that ethnic tensions that were allowed to simmer would lead to unrest when the various communities start to eye each other with suspicion.
“Because of that, there exists all kinds of assumptions when ethnic ties become strained and unhealthy. This can cause that event and I do not want to mention the particular date,” he was quoted as saying.
Muhyiddin did not mention the date specifically but Utusan Malaysia inserted May 13, 1969 to his quote in parentheses.
The Umno deputy president also said he has been receiving text messages from those expressing concern about the welfare of the Malays, the country’s dominant racial group, and Islam.
Muslims and Christians have been pitted against one another due to the government’s decision to prohibit the Catholic Church from using “Allah”, the Arabic word for God, in its weekly newsletter.
Malay concerns over the Bumiputera special privileges have also bubbled to the surface in recent months after Putrajaya’s National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) proposed three draft bills to replace the Sedition Act.
Among others, the laws and the members of the NUCC responsible for drafting them have been accused of being anti-Malay.
Hundreds of Malaysians are believed to have died during the May 13, 1969 clashes between the Malays and the Chinese. Although ostensibly triggered by the results of Election 1969, it was rooted in ethnic tensions between the two communities.