16 September 2000 - 13.00
ACCOUNT OF AN INTERVIEW WITH TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN ON THE 13 MAY
The following statement is a
factual account of the above-mentioned event given to me
by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman (first Prime Minister of Malaysia)
during an interview at his residence in Penang in 1972. I requested
to discuss the above incident and was surprised when the
appointment was given within three days.
His Secretary, a Chinese gentleman
allotted me one hour and advised me not to go into too much detail
as this would tire the Tunku unnecessarily. In fact the
interview lasted three and a half-hours. Because of the very
surprising details provided to me, I think it would be
best to report in a first hand manner based on my notes written
immediately after the interview.
It was clear to me as
well as the police that in the highly charged political atmosphere
after the police were forced to kill a Chinese political party
worker on May 4th 1969 something was bound to happen to threaten
law and order because of the resentment towards the Government
by the KL Chinese on the eve of the general election. This
was confirmed at this mans funeral on the 9th May when
the government faced the most hostile crowd it had ever seen.
Therefore when the opposition
parties applied for a police permit for a procession to celebrate
their success in the results of the general election I was adamant
against it because the police were convinced that this
would lead to trouble. I informed Tun Razak about this
and he seemed to agree.
Now without my knowledge and
actually behind my back there were certain political
leaders in high positions who were working to force me to step
down as a PM. I dont want to go into details but if they
had come to me and said so I would gladly have retired
Unfortunately they were apparently
scheming and trying to decide on the best way to force me to
resign. The occasion came when the question of the police
permit was to be approved.
Tun Razak and Harun Idris
the MB of the state of Selangor now felt that permission should
be given knowing fully well that there was a likelihood of trouble.
I suppose they felt that when this happened they could then demand
To this day I find it very
hard to believe that Razak whom I had known for so many years
would agree to work against me in this way. Actually he
was in my house as I was preparing to return to Kedah and I overhead
him speaking to Harun over the phone saying that he would be
willing to approve the permit when I left. I really could
not believe what I was hearing and preferred to think it was
about some other permit. In any case as the Deputy Prime
Minister in my absence from KL he would be the Action PM and
would override my objection. Accordingly when I was in
my home in Kedah I heard over the radio that the permit had been
It seems as though the expected
trouble was anticipated and planned for by Harun and his UMNO
Youth. After the humiliating insults hurled by the non-Malays
especially the Chinese and after the seeming loss of Malay political
power to them they were clearly ready for some retaliatory action.
After meeting in large numbers at Haruns official residence
in Jalan Raja Muda near Kampong Bahru and hearing inflammatory
speeches by Harun and other leaders they prepared themselves
by tying ribbon strips on their foreheads and set out to kill
Chinese. The first hapless victims were two of them in
a van opposite Haruns house who were innocently watching
the large gathering. Little did they know that they would
be killed on the spot.
The rest is history.
I am sorry but I must end this discussion now because it really
pains me as the Father of Merdeka to have to relive those terrible
moments. I have often wondered why God made me live long
enough to have witnessed my beloved Malays and Chinese citizens
killing each other.
Raja Petra Kamarudin