May 13 may recur as long as Dong Zong still around, Muslim students’ group warns

General view of the Dong Jiao Zong building in Kajang August 14, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
General view of the Dong Jiao Zong building in Kajang August 14, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — The Malaysian Muslim Students Coalition (Gamis) has warned today that the bloody riots of May 13, 1969 may return as long as Chinese educationist group Dong Zong still exists.

In a statement, its president Saifullah Baiduri urged the Home Ministry and police to ban the Chinese group, accusing it of opposing nationalistic government policies that work towards unity.

“Dong Zong is an organisation that becomes a pus within the nation’s unity, and sows anti-nationalistic doctrines among the Chinese community,” he said.

“As long as this organisation is still in power, the authorities seem to be allowing the black history of May 13, 1969 to recur,” he added.

This referred to the race riots which occurred from May 13 to July 31, 1969, which claimed the lives of 196 people even though certain quarters estimated the number to be higher.

It is reported that the tragedy, which occurred after the country’s third general election, had also left 6,000 people homeless and at least 211 vehicles and 753 buildings damaged or destroyed by fire.

Saifullah also called for all students regardless of race and religion to speak against Dong Zong until the organisation is banned.

“Gamis strongly states that Dong Zong’s racist act clearly violates Article 152 of the Federal Constitution and that its implications will create chaos and create racial tension,” he said.

Article 152 states that “the national language shall be the Malay language”.

The statement came after Dong Jiao Zong insisted that it go ahead with its closed-door Chinese Organisation Congress this Saturday with the aim of convincing the government to rescind its decision on teaching the Jawi script in vernacular schools.

Gamis’ remark today is similar to a leader from Islamist party PAS, who earlier this week urged the police to step in and stop the Chinese Organisation Congress from going ahead to avoid a repeat of the 2017 riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple in Subang Jaya.

Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali had also called on the Ministry of Home Affairs to deregister the Dong Jiao Zong Chinese education group under the Societies Act 1966.

Dong Jiao Zong’s congress is set to be followed by another one on Sunday by a group called Gabungan Seni Khat Action Team, which also opposes the teaching of jawi script in vernacular schools.

In August, the Education Ministry confirmed that it would still introduce khat calligraphy as part of the Bahasa Melayu Year Four subject next year as scheduled.