That May 13 Week

Malaysians remember 13 May 1969 as one of the bleakest days in the country’s history. It was the day deadly racial riots took place, triggered by a political confrontation which laid bare the fragile state of inter-ethnic relations at the time.

In the general elections on 10 May 1969, opposition parties gained ground and reduced the majority of the Alliance Party (the predecessor to the Barisan Nasional that was voted out in May 2018). What began as victory marches by political parties soon morphed into violent clashes, with Malays on one side and Chinese on the other. Kuala Lumpur was in lockdown, and a curfew was declared that evening.

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