By Kua Kia Soong | TMI
I do not intend to pay to watch Tanda Putera since the government has already used part of our money to sponsor this film which seems intent on spreading untruths and enhancing polarisation instead of promoting truth and reconciliation. My response to the film is based on published reviews of the film on the online press.
Who orchestrated the May 13 pogrom?
From the reviews of the film, the Chinese are depicted as the aggressors, insensitive to the extent of urinating on a flag pole outside the residence of the then Selangor menteri besar Harun Idris, hurting the feelings of Malays and thus triggering the May 13 race riots. The communists are also portrayed as having a hand in the troubles.
I am surprised that in spite of my having produced references in my 2007 title, the director insists on putting the blame on the communists:
“...as late as 29 May (the Tunku) was still voicing his conviction that communists had been behind the trouble... But on the same day, Tun Dr Ismail was admitting that he had been wrong to ascribe the riots to the communists, and during the New Zealand Defence Minister’s visit on 30 and 31 May, the Tunku admitted that the earlier accusations had been incorrect. Three days later, Tan Sri Ghazali followed suit...” (Kua Kia Soong, May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian riots of 1969, 2007:51)
This can be easily corroborated by checking up on all the official wires on the dates I have quoted, a standard practice of any respectable scholar.
This film maker does not bother with such basic SOP of research. She is more interested in the “creative licence” (sic) to orchestrate the scene of the Chinese youth urinating on the flagpole outside the Selangor mentri besar’s residence.
After the 13th general election, the government seems intent on polarising our society further by communalising issues. It’s payback time, as some observers have also pointed out. Tanda Putera seems to be set in this trend.
A government that is concerned about national rejuvenation would not shrink from setting up a Truth & Reconciliation Commission to lay bare the truth once and for all without fear of retribution.
The new deputy ministers from the NGOs, Paul Low and Waythamoorthy, should call for transparency by declassifying all documents on the May 13 incident. Let us also honour the victims by uncovering the names of all those who died or suffered injuries during that dark episode in our history.
For a start, truth seeking Malaysians should boycott the film. We also call upon Finas to justify to taxpayers why their money should be used to spread untruths which are costly to national reconciliation. - August 29, 2013.
Dr Kua Kia Soong is Suaram adviser.