PETALING JAYA: Malaysians need to remember the May 13 riots to avoid racial conflicts from recurring, says the National Patriots Association (Patriot).
Patriot president Brig-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said the association remembers vividly the riots that took place on May 13, 1969, and urged for Malaysians not to allow history to repeat itself.
“Several of our Patriot members were involved in public order duties during the May 13, 1969 racial riots. The horrific scenes, death and destruction are still etched in our memories," he said.
Mohamad Arshad lambasted politicians who exploited the issue of race and religion.
“Politicians, especially those from the opposition who constantly inflame race and religion issues, should be silenced. Such people who thump their chest loudly and who have never seen real combat and have never experienced terror are actually cowards,” he said.
He added that those politicians who are championing race and religion do so to gain political mileage, and not really for the causes they claimed to defend.
Mohamed Arshad urged Malaysians to move beyond the “dark May 13” episode and collectively better the country.
“Those who lived throughout the colonial era and the years following independence would frown upon such a harrowing incident pitting the three major Malayan races to cause racial discord over political differences,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday (May 14).
He said other than the May 13 riots, numerous Patriot members served in combat units during the two emergencies in Malaysia and also operated in war zones in United Nations peace-keeping missions.
“Our engineers had to clear minefields. The helicopter pilots who flew resupply missions were being shot at. Our naval officers had to patrol the seas against pirates and manned remote islands.
"Special Branch officers were involved in dangerous missions. The police officers had their share in maintaining law and order too. If it is terror and hardship, we have seen them all,” he said.
As such, he said, Patriot members despise terror and violence committed against humanity, and would speak out against it.
“We have seen war and we hate war. We have no qualms about speaking out against those who harbour intention to cause racial conflict and societal disharmony. Another racial strife like the dark episode of the May 13 incident would be destructive.
“All Malaysians must now march forward, shoulder-to-shoulder, to attain the ‘shared prosperity’ that was announced by our Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad),” he said.