21. THE CHOICES | The May 13 Tragedy

The nation cannot afford another May 13. The entire future of this country rests on the success or otherwise of the Director of Operations in fulfilling his functions.

May 13, 1969, will go down in the history of this country with bleak associations. That date symbolises one sombre fact: an understanding of the country's political and constitutional history, and an appreciation of racial sensitivities, are vital, if another, possibly worse, racial clash is to be avoided in this country. To disregard these political realities would mean endangering the very viability of this country as a nation.

Democracy is practised in many countries in the world today. But each country must assess its own political and social environment realistically and evolve its own Constitution, rules, conventions and practices. Malaysia possesses her own distinct characteristics based on her history and present racial composition. She must now find a solution to her problems -a solution that will provide a guarantee that in future racial sensitivities will never again be provoked by the operation of normal democratic processes, e.g.. election campaigns.


There are three alternatives facing the country:

  1. remain passive and allow racial animosity to deteriorate and finally destroy the nation;
  2. return to the pre-1948 Constitutional position: or
  3. formulate a solution to work out a positive formula whereby the aspirations of the people can best be achieved with racial harmony and goodwill.

The first alternative, to remain passive, is to be irresponsible.

The second alternative, to return to the pre-1948 position, would be a retrogressive step.

Therefore, the most logical alternative is to pursue the course in (iii) above.


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