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Feb 26, 2008

The Conspiracy Behind May 13, 1969....


(...) Documents declassified at the Public Record Office, London after the thirty-year secrecy rule also contain confidential memoranda written by the respective British High Commission officers in the West and East Malaysia, the British Cabinet Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as well as the Ministry of Overseas Development.

They contain information gathered in the course of diplomatic meetings; private intelligence gathering by embassy staff; reports by British embassy personnel in other capitals around the world, notably Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Australia, New Zealand; choices selections of media coverage of the Malaysian riots of 1969.

Through a study on these documents, we get to know not only the reality behind the strongly censored official version of the events but also how the Malaysian riots were perceived by the officials in different capitals around the world. Together they build up a picture of disapproval by regional and other foreign capitals of the racial discrimination and slaughter of ethnic Chinese in the May 1969 events. The Indonesian regime was the only exception; indeed, we learn from the records that General Suharto was the only foreign leader to have sent a congratulatory note to the new Malaysian regime over the May 1969 affair.

In the BHC in Kuala Lumpur, the suspension of the Sarawak state elections was regretted since it was clear that this was part of the plan by the new regime in Kuala Lumpur to gain control political development in East Malaysia. We look at further documents showing how the arms lobby in Britain and Australia tried to justify giving military equipment to a country ruled by emergency decree and practicing racial discrimination. In the end, British pragmatism dictated that supporting the dominant Malay ruling party in Malaysia would serve British interest better. Dissenting British volunteers in the Volunteer Service Organisation (VSO) were given a tongue lashing for their "ignorance of racial favouritism in any racially mixed community".

The Thai press could clearly see through the racially discriminatory policies of the Malaysian regime and they were sure that the rioters of May 1969 had acted with a purpose. The views of Premier Lee Kuan Yew are always note worthy. In the records, we find that he still had hopes that the Tunku would continue to play a father figure role in the new set-up, but Razak had gone down in his esteem by playing the role of "an evil genius". The Chinese government in Beijing was more cautious since they probably did not want to create more anti-Chinese feelings in the region after the events of 1965 in Indonesia. More...


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