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Three pleasant surprises May 18, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Uncategorized.

I was caught by three surprises this afternoon, which made up for a damper of a morning.

Dr. Kua, author of “May 13”, informed me of a joint press conference held by a number of NGOs and writers in support of the book and a Truth Commission into the tragedy of May 13.

While I’ve not seen any news about this, or read their press statements, I was informed by Khai Loon who was present, the groups at the press conference include Institute Kajian Dasar, Youth4Change, Civil Rights Committee and Centre for Independent Journalism. Writers present were Fathi Aris Omar and Lee Ban Chen.

Then I read a letter to Malaysiakini, published this afternoon, by Dr. Toh Kin Woon, Penang state-exco member who says:-

…all those who want our society to progress must stand up and call on the government to immediately stop this act of confiscation and have the book released for sale. (Source)

Then I received my third surprise late afternoon.

18 May 2007


The proposed banning of May 13 Declassified Documents on the Racial Riots of 1969 violates the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Federal Constitution. In an age where information flows freely, and constitutional freedoms must be honoured rather than breached, laws and regulations which purport to grant power to the state to proscribe publications arbitrarily must only be used under the most exceptional circumstances.

This book may indeed be controversial but if the government does not agree with the issues raised, it should refute them in an open and transparent manner. As with issues pertaining to religion, the government cannot continually adopt strong arm measures in an attempt to silence public discourse. This is quite apart from the fact that the banning of any book immediately enhances its value and whets the appetite of readers. More significantly, banning this book will reinforce its thesis that the May 13 riots were indeed caused by a coup plotted by certain leaders to oust Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Personally, I view the book as the start of a process to demystify the May 13 race riots which after nearly four decades continue to be talked about in hushed tones because no conclusive answers have been forthcoming from the authorities. There are bound to be divergent views about this tragic episode of our history and I call on all Malaysians to have an open mind in this discourse while respecting the sensitivities of all the communities.


Thank you everyone! 🙂



1. Chee Yong - May 18, 2007

Since the book is in backorder status now with the overwhelming demand, will those ordered from internet like from kinibooks will have a chance to get hold of this book from the 2nd reprint? I believe this book will be sold like hot cakes in Spore. Many of my friends have indicated they will get the book.

EW: Yes – fret not! We’d ordered an extra run 🙂

2. wenhui - May 18, 2007


WAMI and SCAH Human Rights Committee have issued a statement supporting the book as well the day before.


3. hps - May 18, 2007

Hi KP great outcome
ship a copy to me in Melb?

EW:Hey PS! Lovely to see you here! Definitely will mail you a copy sometime next week! Love to D, the kids and the mates there! 🙂 🙂

4. Maverick - May 18, 2007

The imminent question is whether it would be objectively viewed and critically thought such as to provide a better understanding for the betterment of the society as a whole without being trapped by the pains and vengeance of yesteryears.

However, it do seem that the society as a whole may not be able to be objective and progressive as their mental capacity is still constricted and the crave for lust and charity is never ending policy.

5. Yap Sing Yeong - May 19, 2007

I appreciate your effort to provide the latest development and valuable information.

6. fathi aris omar - May 19, 2007

Kenyataan Rasmi & Lengkap
Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi (KsJT)

Bantahan terhadap Rampasan Buku tentang 13 Mei

Rampasan buku “May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969” karangan Dr Kua Kia Soong oleh pihak Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (KKDN) beberapa hari lalu sangat memprihatinkan kami.

Apatah lagi terdapat desakan daripada beberapa pihak di Dewan Negara agar buku ini diharamkan.

Langkah-langkah seumpama ini bukan sahaja boleh dianggap tidak demokratik, tetapi juga tidak mempunyai sikap yang beradab dalam kehidupan masyarakat yang terbuka dan menghargai perbezaan pandangan.

Kami berasa sangat kesal terhadap tindakan seumpama ini yang kami anggap sudah ketinggalan zaman.

Walaupun topik “rusuhan kaum 13 Mei” sering dikatakan isu sensitif tetapi ia tidak wajar ditutup daripada dibincangkan secara terbuka. Usaha menyemak semula fakta-fakta sejarah dan memberikan tafsiran-tafsiran baru berdasarkan kajian terkini haruslah sentiasa digalakkan, bersesuaian dengan perkembangan arus maklumat dunia dan ke arah mematangkan bangsa Malaysia yang kini berusia 50 tahun sejak merdeka.

Kami berpendapat, masanya sudah tiba untuk masyarakat Malaysia membahaskan isu-isu sejarah seumpama ini agar ia boleh dijadikan tauladan dan sempadan kepada kita bagi mengorak langkah membina bangsa Malaysia yang bersatu, progresif, berbudaya ilmu dan bertoleransi.

Kami juga bimbang, selagi isu “rusuhan 13 Mei” tidak dibuka untuk dikaji dengan mendalam, dan selagi ia enggan dibincangkan secara ilmiah seumpama buku “May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969”, maka tragedi malang ini akan selama-lamanya boleh diperalatkan untuk menimbulkan buruk sangka dan keresahan antara kaum di negara ini.

Selama ini, ingatan “13 Mei” sering diperalatkan oleh orang politik — baik pemimpin parti kerajaan atau pemimpin parti pembangkang — dan juga kumpulan-kumpulan Islam setiap kali apabila muncul perbahasan tentang isu-isu yang melibatkan pergeseran kepentingan kaum dan agama.

Tanggal “13 Mei” telah dijadikan momok, telah dijadikan lembaga jahat, untuk menakut-nakutkan orang ramai daripada membahaskan isu-isu penting tertentu. Tarikh “13 Mei” telah disebut-sebut sebagai amaran, khususnya kepada kaum bukan Melayu dan penganut agama bukan Islam.

Sebab itu, kami yang bertandatangan di bawah, yang sebahagian besar kumpulan aktivis, penulis, seniman, dan wartawan muda Melayu berasa terpanggil agar isu “13 Mei” dibenarkan dibincangkan secara terbuka, ilmiah dan tenang.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi (KsJT),
Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur
18 Mei 2007

Yang benar:

Hasmi Hashim, jurucakap Komunite Seni Jalan Telawi (KsJT)
Amir Sari, koordinator Institut Kajian Dasar (IKD)
Mustaqeem Mahmood Radhi, pengarah Middle Eastern Graduates Center (MEGC)
Fathi Aris Omar, wartawan & penulis buku
Khairul Anam Che Mentri, penterjemah buku
Firdaus Isa, penyelaras MEGC
Ammar Gazali, pegawai penyelidik MEGC

7. keroppi - May 20, 2007

I hope can get more copies.
I want to mail to my friends and relative in Taiwan. The banning of “513” and threats to stop public from discussing 513 is so similar to earlier days in Taiwan when they were not allow to talk about The “228” issues. I am sure after they read the book, they will understand Malaysia better.

While i was in Taiwan for my vacation, I was surprised on how they viewed Malaysia, I guess Malaysia government really did a good job in promoting Malaysia. (Haha)

Now, in Taiwan they could discussed about 228 and what Komintang did to them during earlier days (45-47). They built many 228 muzium to teach younger generation about 228. These muzium are among the few spot I MUST visit when i go to Taiwan.

I heard this book will be translated to Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia too. Great! but when ah 😛

8. Philip Lau - May 21, 2007

Elizabeth Wong & Others.
S$25.00 here in Singapore i.e. RM 56.00
As I informed you earlier, Horizon Books Pte Ltd (waiting arrival of stork this week) told me this morning that they will be selling May 13 136 pages by Dr Kua at Singapore Dollars twenty five S$25.00 that is about RM 56.00. (Do not blame them as they are buying them from the puiblishers at Singapore Dollars and other expenses involved.) JB is selling at the price of RM 20.00. Since I shop there about twice a week I shall buy my 20 copies there to distribute FREE OF CHARGE to my friends if I am able to bring here to Singapore.
Liza, I suggest you sell at the internet as you will be able to obtain a VERY Wide circle of buyers as we can read it at the internet at our pleasure bearing in mind the interests of both the publisher and the Author. I have been buying books in this way through Google. You can do the same thing. If those who want the hard copies, then, they can buy them from the bookshops. I thought you said to us in the blog you will discuss the outcome and let us know.

EW: The book is available via internet at http://www.kinibooks.com. As for selling or distributing the e-copy, we will consult the author in June.

9. Philip Lau - May 21, 2007


Thanks for your clarification. I shall obtain them at JB. If you are able please give me their particulars at JB.

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