DAP Central Executive Committee calls for formation of National Consultative Council to prevent another May 13 riots from taking place

By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 23.10.1987:

DAP Central Executive Committee calls for formation of National Consultative Council to prevent another May 13 riots from taking place.

The DAP Central Executive Committee, at its meeting in DAP PJ Headquarters last night, discussed at length the deteriorating national condition where the national crisis could be converted any time into a national panic, as illustrated by the Jalan Chow Kit shooting incident on Sunday night.

Another index of the serious national condition which is paralyzing all effort at economic recovery and growth is that there is, for the first time in parliamentary history, minimal interest or complete disinterest in the 1988 budget which will be presented in Parliament by the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, today.

A few days before National Day on August 31, the Education Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, said that there was a May 13,1989 mood in the country. There was no such mood, but in the past weeks since the National Day, there seems to be a deliberate attempt by some influential but irresponsible political leaders to stoke the racial fires to create this May 13 mood in the country.

These influential but irresponsible political leaders used every opportunity to turn every issue into a racial issue, as an attack on the rights, dignity, privileges and status of the Malays, although they are purely and simply educational, social or economic issues.

The perversion of the Chinese primary schools promotion issue, which is not a racial issue but purely an issue of getting the Barisan Nasional government to keep its 1986 general election pledge to preserve the character of Chinese primary schools, is a case in point.

And the success of these influential but irresponsible political leaders to stoke the racial fires could be seen by the Monday panic in Kuala Lumpur and the country that racial riots had started in the Federal capital, when an unbalanced army private went on a shooting spree. It should awakened all peace-loving Malaysians as to how contributable the Malaysian society has become as a result of the open and unrestrained politicking of race, as happened in the UMNO Youth Rally on Saturday and the meeting of UMNO Divisional leaders at Putra World Trade Centre on Sunday morning.

All Malaysians, and in particular all political leaders, must learn the lesson from the Panic of Monday, 19th October 1987 – that we must draw back from abyss of a racial conflict which no one will emerge the winners, for all will be the losers.

It is very disturbing that despite calls by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Haniff Omar, for the cancellation of rallies, demonstrations and public meetings which might be interpreted as being racial in character, and the advice of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, on his return from the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting in Vancouver, that everyone, including Cabinet Ministers, should stop making irresponsible statement, such rallies, demonstrations and irresponsible statement continue unabated.

For instance, a 20,000 – people rally and demonstration was yesterday organised by UMNO Perlis in Kangar where the Mentri Besar of Perlis made fierce, highly provocative and irresponsible statement.

UMNO has also decided to proceed with its mammoth rally of Nov. 1, despite calls that UMNO should set the example to heed the IGP’s appeal for cancellation of rallies and demonstration.

Although UMNO Secreatary-General, Sanusi Junid, said that Nov. 1 UMNO rally is not a demonstration but a celebration in memory of the birth of UMNO, it is very clear from Sanusi Junid’s speech at the meeting of UMNO Divisional leaders at Putra World Trade Centre on Sunday that Nov. 1 was meant to be show of strength and force, “kerana kita mahu menunjukkan pada semua pihak bahawa orang-orang Melayu adalah sentiasa bersatu dan sanggup menghadapi apa jua risiko demi mempertahankan maruah bangsa dan agama serta kedaulatan Diraja.”

It would appear that Nov. 1 UMNO rally would be the third rally held by UMNO or UMNO Youth in two weeks where Chinese Malaysian journalists would have to be told by organisers and police to leave the venue as their personal safety or security could not be guaranteed. This will make the Nov. 1 UMNO Rally more than fit the Inspector-General Police’s description of rallies which “might be interpreted as being racial in character”.

The DAP Central Executives’ Committee is very disturbed by this escalation of racial tensions and the worsening of racial relations by politicians who are prepared to precipitate another May 13 conflict for their political ends.

The DAP CEC believes that sensible, responsible and truly nationalistic and patriotic Malaysians and political leaders abhor all forms of race-baiting or race-provocation, and find those who are prepared to engineer another May 13 riots for their own ends completely repugnant and unacceptable. Whatever our political differences, all political parties must have one common aim – to ensure that no one is allowed to create the condition for another May 13 riots in the country.

For this reason, DAP Central Executives’ Committee calls for immediate formation of a National Consultative Council comprising leaders from all political parties, which would meet in closed session to defuse the attempts by irresponsible political elements to create another May 13 riots, or regardless of whether their action would lead to such an outcome.

The first time National Consultative Council was formed in Malaysia was after the May 13 riots in 1969, to repair the grave damage to race relations and national unity. It is more important that a National Consultative Council should be formed now to prevent another May 13 riots, than to do repair work after the wreckages of racial conflict.