National amnesia on Kampong Medan tragedy - Call for  White Paper and special parliamentary debate on the  first anniversary of the worst racial atrocities in  32 years

for the Solidarity Dinner with the Kampong Medan victims

by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala Lumpur,  Friday): The six-month anniversary of the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington was marked by elaborate programmes involving the the United States President, government, the civil society and the world media, but the full anniversary of the Kampong Medan atrocities in Malaysia  was ignored and virtually forgotten, in particular by the government and Ministers.  

Although the Kampung Medan tragedy, which claimed six  lives and injured some hundred people, was not on the scale of the September 11 atrocities which killed some 3,000 people, the government should be ashamed at the very short national memory at the worst racial atrocities in the country in 32 years, as  the mayhem,  riots and the lawlessness lasted over two weeks and represented the most serious quadruple failures in nation-building, development planning, law enforcement and mass communications in the past three decades.  

This  national amnesia was vividly illustrated by the sad fact that there was not a word of concern, mention or reference on  the first anniversary of the Kampung Medan atrocities in Parliament after one week of policy debate on the Royal Address!  

At the height of national public attention on the Kampong Medan atrocities in March last year, Federal and State governments made various announcements of housing programmes and social and development plans to provide better facilities and amenities to transform the socio-economic depressed settlements, but all these seem to have been forgotten like the victims and the  injured when the national spotlight moved elsewhere.  

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had then spoken of the possibility of a White Paper on the police report on the Kampung Medan tragedy to  use it  as a basis to understand and overcome similar time-bombs  in the future - but after one year, there had been no White Paper, no Commission of Inquiry, no special Parliamentary debate, no one had been brought to justice for  perpetrating the worst racial atrocities in three decades and no master plan to defuse other socio-economic and nation-building time-bombs in urban ghettos.  

Malaysians must rid the national amnesia over the Kampung Medan atrocities so that similar  time-bombs  will not explode  in other parts of the country.  

Abdullah should present the belated White Paper on the Kampong Medan tragedy together with a special  parliamentary debate to mark the first anniversary of the worst racial atrocities in  32 years on  the four failures of nation-building, development planning, law and order and mass communications in the Kampong Medan atrocities.  

The White Paper should make public the  causes for  the most serious human rights violations in three decades,  why the authorities lost control resulting in the unnecessary large number of deaths and victims as well as the lessons learnt and the remedial socio-economic measures needed  to resolve the deep-rooted problems of urban ghettos  in Malaysia which are rife with crime and gangsterism.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman