Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Gerakan stalwart backs Hadi's May 13 stand

5:04PM May 1, 2013 

A Gerakan veteran emerged today to back PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who accused Umno of masterminding the May 13 racial riots in 1969.

Hadi told a political rally in Kuala Kangsar, Perak, on Monday that the bloody racial riots 44 years ago were orchestrated by Umno to cling on to power.

NONE"May 13 was not an ethnic phenomenon. It was a political occurrence," former Gerakan leader Goh Cheng Teik toldMalaysiakini

"Only those who were members of Umno or associated with it were involved. PAS members had nothing to do with May 13."

Goh, 70, who served as a deputy minister and a Penang executive councillor 25 years, had done extensive research on the riots when he was a lecturer at Universiti Malaya and published a book, ‘The May Thirteenth Incident and Democracy in Malaysia', in 1971. 

He joined politics three years later and was appointed parliamentary secretary to then prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein.

According to Goh, the riots in Kuala Lumpur started even before the counter-procession was held by Umno in response to opposition victory marches in the wake of the unprecedented gains by PAS, DAP and Gerakan in the 1969 general election.

"Members, supporters and well-wishers of a ruling party that prides itself in upholding the rule of law rioted before the start of a ‘victory' procession in front of the official residence of the state chief minister," he said.

A day of shame and sorrow

Goh still believes there was no need for the nationwide declaration of the State of Emergency as the violence was localised, much like the recent militant incursion into Lahad Datu in Sabah, and argued that the riots were mostly politically-driven.

NONE"That is why the disturbances were not national in character, according to (then prime minister) Tunku Abdul Rahman, but virtually confined to Kuala Lumpur.

"No serious breach of the peace or act of violence took place in any other part of Peninsular Malaysia on or after May 13."

The declaration of Emergency paved the way for the suspension of Parliament.

Goh, who holds the distinction of being Malaysia's first Harvard scholar, is currently an adjunct professor with Sunway University.

Asked why he was speaking out on the issue now, he said young people today should know the truth behind May 13, an issue repeatedly raised in the ongoing campaign for Sunday's general election.

"May 13 was not a day of glory for Malaysians. It was a day of shame and sorrow," lamented Goh.

~ Malaysiakini

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