05. COMMUNIST COMEBACK | The May 13 Tragedy

Since it was driven underground several years ago, the Malayan Communist Party had remained dormant as a militant force. Its members hod not. however, given up hope of seizing power. In recent years they have quietly been re-organising themselves for a political come-back. MCP activities show a definite strategy: to weaken the nation by exploiting every sensitive and divisive issue, mainly economic and racial, in the country in a long-term "softening-up" process. Following are some examples:
  1. In 1967 when the old currency was devalued, known Maoist agents exploited the issue by spreading anti-devaluation propaganda, conducting illegal demonstrations and fomenting discontent. They chose Penang as their target because of the sensitive racial situation on the island. Their skilful exploitation of the situation precipitated widespread Sino-Malay clashes on 24th November. 1967. resulting in the death of several persons. Many more were injured, and several houses and vehicles were burnt. Following these incidents, suspicion and uneasiness lingered on for a long time.
  2. In the middle of 1968, thirteen Malaysian saboteurs—two Malays and eleven Chinese— were sentenced to death for treasonable acts [11] during the Confrontation. Maoist agents mounted an intensive propaganda campaign in favour of the eleven condemned Chinese by selectively inciting racial passions and humanitarian feelings. So effective was the propaganda campaign that it not only aroused local Chinese support but also attracted international sympathy. Apart from appeals from local community leaders. His Holiness the Pope cabled the Prime Minister, on humanitarian grounds, for the lives of the condemned men. Feelings in Malaysia were running high, and serious racial clashes were only obviated through the efforts of the Prime Minister who obtained the consent of Their Royal Highnesses the Sultans of Johore and Perak to commute the death sentence of all thirteen prisoners to life imprisonment.
  3. On 24th April. 1969. about a fortnight before the General Elections, an UMNO party worker in Penang was murdered by subversive elements. These elements with known Maoist links were then actively agitating for a boycott of the General Elections. Racial tension was generated to a dangerous level, and a serious clash was averted at the last moment when UMNO leaders instructed their supporters to bury the dead man quietly and in a dignified manner so as to deny the Maoist elements of an opportunity to precipitate a racial clash.

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