Malay Mail Online
July 14, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Malaysia has everything to lose if it ever sees a repeat of the deadly May 13 race riots, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said following the unrest at Low Yat Plaza here on the weekend.
Urging the younger generation to resist dismantling the efforts to heal the nation following the 1969 riots, the former minister said all Malaysians must learn from the “dark period” of the country’s history and free their minds of prejudice, bias, and parochial tendencies.
Expressing sadness over the “mob violence” that left five people injured and three more arrested, Rafidah also questioned the need to make race the focus of an issue that began over an alleged shoplifting incident.
“I have gone through that sad dark period in our nation’s socio-economic history… triggered by the May 13 1969 riots… it is NOT something to be proud of… it is something from which we need to learn valuable lessons.
“My generation of Malaysian leaders, and Malaysians, have put in much effort to heal the pain of the May 13, 1969 tragedy… to narrow the chasms that had been created, and to rebuild a strong and resilient Malaysia, forged upon the strength of unity in diversity.
“The generations ensuing must refrain from undoing what has been tirelessly forged,” she wrote on Facebook.
Rafidah also urged Malaysians to be calm and rational, and not allow short tempers to reignite racial tensions in the multicultural country.
The former minister’s message is a positive departure from those by two Muslim groups who continue to blame Chinese traders for the melee and vandalism at the popular tech mall over the weekend.
The police said yesterday that eighteen people have been arrested over their involvement in the riot and alleged theft of a smartphone at Low Yat Plaza over the weekend.
They also stated that there was no truth to rumours that the incident was triggered by cheating, and stressed that the case began with the alleged shoplifting attempt.
The weekend’s riots came after a 22-year-old man was reportedly handed to the police for allegedly stealing a mobile phone Saturday, after which his accomplice contacted their friends who then assaulted workers from a mobile phone store and caused an estimated RM70,000 in damage.
Rumours had spread on social media after the alleged theft that the Chinese trader had sold the Malay man a counterfeit phone, leading to calls for boycotts of “cheating” Chinese traders and the complex itself.
Yesterday, the Inspector-General of Police said he has ordered the arrests of those who spread such rumours.