KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Human rights watchdog Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) director and author Kua Kia Soong today urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to declassify the secrets of May 13 racial riots.
“Perhaps now that the supposedly ‘new’ PH government is in power, it is time to act like a mature and enlightened democracy and declassify the official secrets in the vaults of the Cabinet and the Special Branch department.
“We will then be able to get to the full story of the May 13 incident now that it is already fifty years ago when it happened,” said Kua in a statement today.
He had in 2007 written a book titled May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969.
Kua said his book had attracted many Malaysians’ attention when it was published in 2007 as many of them did not find the official explanation at that time credible.
“I may not have been there but my brother-in-law was a professor at the University Hospital at the time and my brother was a medical student at Universiti Malaya. A neighbour who was a medical student at the time had to help to deal with the corpses,” he said.
Kua added that since the publication of his book, he had received many more eye-witness accounts, who had claimed that the number of bodies, allegedly tarred to conceal their ethnicity exceeded the official figures.
Kua had recently republished a 50th-anniversary edition of the book with a new preface on the contemporary political scenario in Malaysia.
“We owe it to those who perished during the pogrom to at least register their unfortunate demise and grant some reparation to their loved ones.
“Where are the mass graves besides those at Sungai Buloh?” he asked.
Kua also suggested that it was time that the government erect a memorial to those who perished in the May 13 incident.
The racial riots which occurred from May 13 to July 31, 1969, had claimed the lives of 196 people even though certain quarters estimated the number to be higher.
It is reported that the tragedy, which occurred after the country’s third general election, had also left 6,000 people homeless and at least 211 vehicles and 753 buildings damaged or destroyed in fire.