11. ENGINEERED TENSION | The May 13 Tragedy

It would not be correct to say that the Communist Party of Malaya had started the May 13 disturbances in order to seize power immediately. They were not ready for such a step. However, their activities and the activities of their agents in the Labour Party of Malaya, together with paid secret society agents, generated racial tensions to a dangerous pitch. The Labour Party of Malaya largely under the influence of the MCP and almost wholly Chinese in composition, possess distinct chauvinistic tendencies. On 4th May, 1969, a group of LPM youths was sighted painting anti-election slogans by a three-man police patrol in Kepong. When challenged, the youths attacked the Police with iron rods and catapults bearing metal shots and forced the police to lire in self-defence. One of the youths was wounded and later died in Hospital.

In contrast to the quiet funeral of the UMNO worker who was murdered in Pcnang. the Labour Party preserved the corpse of the worker and planned a large funeral to coincide with Polling Day .so as to disrupt the elections. The body was deliberately kept frozen for this purpose. Permission for the funeral was given by the Police for the 9th of May instead of the 10th, and the permit was for a small procession not exceeding a few hundred persons, and to take a route that would not lie up traffic in Kuala Lumpur.


These elements defied Police instruction and organised a large parade in which an estimated number of ten thousand persons took part and marched through the centre of Kuala Lumpur, flouting every Police instruction. They chanted Maoist slogans, sang "the East is Red', and displayed portraits of Mao Tse-tung and the Red flag. The parade passed through the heart of Kuala Lumpur and tied up traffic in almost every major street in the city, and provoked Malay bystanders with shouts of "Malai si!" (Death to the Malays!) and "Hutang darah bayar darah" (Blood debt will be repaid with blood).

In view of the scheduled polling on the following day. the Police were under orders to act with the highest restraint. An ugly clash was avoided, and the General Elections took place on 10th May, 1969 without any serious incidents.


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