Are we brewing another May 13, 1969 in Malaysia?

Azly Rahman

Azly Rahman

This is serious, if you ask me about the latest events concerning Umno and DAP: those revolving around name-calling, storming of the Penang state legislature and the latest, on the threat to burn down the headquarters of the DAP.

Is this a prelude to something bigger as we approach the 14th general election? Irrationality will rule and will be rationalised. Is the climax to a potentially explosive racial conflict going to be built up and the two parties involved in a showdown? Go back to the prelude to May 13, 1969, if we wish to process the brewing of mass violence.

I hope we are all sane enough to diffuse these kinds of situation and quickly make peace and for all to be patient, to exercise restrain, and to not provoke those who are irrational. We will make it as Malaysians. We have come a long way through our hard work in building bridges and to continue to call ourselves Malaysians.

But crises will be manufactured and we will never know the truth of any conflict that will bring chaos to the country.

Let us use whatever medium of peace-making and peace-building at our disposal to make peace with ourselves and with others.

Waging peace

After watching the video of the Umno Youth protest in front of the DAP headquarters, I sensed that the worse is yet to come and we may never be able to stop violence or to stop those out to wage war – unless we wage peace, beginning at this very moment.

For the Malay Muslims in the video, the character of the Prophet Muhammad is the best to show Malaysians what peace looks like. Go back to that and not let anger consume the natural, peaceful self in you.

You will feel better if you search within you and let Prophet Muhammad be the guide in you. I suggest you invoke the salawat and the istighfar that should help in times of anger and irrationalism.

To my friend and parliamentarian Ong Kian Ming, I say this: you did an admirable job of being calm and composed. I pray for your safety and those of others faced with a similar situation that you may continue to serve the community well.

Many of us know that this does not have to do entirely with race – it is about human nature, materialism, militarism and racism, as the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr has said in many of his speeches during the American Civil Rights movement.

My message to all Malaysians

Let us leave all these nonsense behind and resolve thing amicably, no matter what race and religious group you belong to. This is a beautiful country with beautiful people who ought to work together beautifully.

I hate to have my memories go back to that day in 1969, when, as a very young child, what I heard daily was men in red headbands in Muar, Johor with parang, kerambit, keris, daggers and all kinds of weapons, were heading for Kampong Baru, Kuala Lumpur, meeting at the residence of the then menteri besar Harun Idris.

I could even feel the “heat” of May 13 in my kampung in Johor Baru, with the people talking about “sembelih” (slaughtering). As a child, those moments had left a bloody history in me. We have a lot to do and we do not have time to undo the more than 40 years of peace we have built.