PETALING JAYA: A Johor DAP grassroots leader has called on the Pakatan Harapan government to set up a truth and reconciliation commission on the May 13 riots.
Dr Boo Cheng Hau, the DAP Taman Ungku Tun Aminah branch publicity secretary, said in a statement today that the commission should comprise civil society representatives and independent legal experts.
The commission should aim at “a true reconciliation among all parties involved and forge institutional and constitutional reforms”.
This, he said, would enable Malaysians to move forward as a nation “without any baggage of the past history”.
He said this in praising DAP Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh’s “courage” for admitting his “error” in challenging the authorities to charge former inspector-general of police Hanif Omar under the Sedition Act after Hanif accused the DAP and Lim Kit Siang of calling for Peninsular Malaysia to be split into “east coast for Malays and west coast for Chinese” during the May 13 mayhem.
Boo said: “The DAP has always stood for a united, non-racial Malaysian Malaysia which opposes any division of Malaysian citizens along racial lines.
“Malaysians have all the right to know the truth about what actually triggered the May 13 racial riots and move forward as a nation with a clear picture of the true history in order to deter future generations from repeating the same mistakes again.”
On May 13, 1969, riots broke out in Selangor following the general election results where the opposition won many seats in Selangor and elsewhere. Official figures put the deaths during the riots at less than 200 but many claim it was more than 800.
Over the years, different groups have attempted to assign blame to either the DAP or Umno or the communists for this.
In the same statement, Boo urged Gobind Singh Deo, the DAP deputy chairman and minister of communications and multimedia to propose a “Freedom of Information, Speech and Multimedia Act to replace draconian legislation such as the Official Secrets Act, the Fake News Act and the Sedition Act to protect Malaysians’ constitutional right to free speech and free access to information”.