1969 race riots of Singapore
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The 1969 race riots of Singapore were the only riots encountered in post-independence Singapore as a result of the spillover of the May 13 Incident in Malaysia. The seven days of communal riots resulted in the final toll of 4 dead and 80 wounded.
The precursor of the 1969 race riots can be traced to the May 13 Incident in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya in Malaysia. It was triggered by the results of the General Election, that were marked by Sino-Malay riots unprecedented in Malaysian history — 196 people were killed and over 350 injured between May 13 and July 31. The real figures could be much higher than officially revealed. The Malaysian government declared a state of emergency and suspended Parliament until 1971.
The disturbances had nothing to do with Singapore but there was an inexorable spillover of the communal violence in Malaysia into Singapore. The 1969 riots occurred not long after the earlier communal riots in 1964. It was said that the 1964 racial disturbances in Singapore contributed towards the eventual separation of Singapore from Malaysia in August 1965. The hysteria that United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) itself generated over its desire to assert Malay dominance (Ketuanan Melayu) in Singapore had its effect in heightening the suspicion between Malay and Chinese in Singapore.
Rumours and revenge 
Rumours began to spread in Singapore about Malay atrocities against the Chinese in Malaysia. People also talked indignantly about the partiality of the Malaysian Armed Forces in dealing with those suspected of involvement in the rioting; Chinese that were caught were severely punished on the spot and these rumours aggravated tension in Singapore. Talk of possible Chinese-Malay clashes in Singapore itself began to spread. There were tales of invulnerable Malays coming to Singapore to help their fellow Malays should they be attacked. These visitors imagined or otherwise, were said to be from Batu Pahat in Malaysia and could make themselves invulnerable to injuries, including bullet wounds.
But what was happening in reality is that three agent representatives from a Malaysian Triad Society, of unknown connection, came to Singapore to get in touch with top leaders of local triads. Their goal was to get local triads' support to inflict revenge upon the Malays. A response came from important representatives of the Ang Soon Tong Triad Society who joined with members of the Ji It Society. After consultation in a secret location, the plotters decided to attack Malay residents of Kampong Kedah, (Today, the residents have been resettled. Only a strip of land bordering the fence of the Seletar Air Base remains to show that there actually was a kampong there) and Jalan Tauge-Jalan Ubi area on May 31 as there was a sizable Malay population then.
These incidents were a prelude to greater violence. Between June 1 and 2, 50 to 60 Chinese attacked houses in Jalan Ubi, Jalan Kayu and its vicinity. They appeared with swords, spears and wooden poles. The first Malay reprisals occurred on June 1. The Black Hawk Malay Secret Society undertook them by setting fires on Chinese-owned shops in Geylang afterwards.
Internal Security Department 
The Singapore Immigration, the Singapore Police Force and the Internal Security Department (ISD) made stringent efforts to stop any signs of foreign encroachment. Those who entered were carefully checked, and where necessary were issued warnings. Yet from 31 May to 6 June, four persons were killed and 80 injured.
Chinese martial arts gangs had planned a massacre of Malays in the Jalan Ubi area. The ISD was able to prevent this from happening. Roadblocks and police action were adequate in Kampong Glam, where some disturbances had occurred. But it required calling the military including National Servicemen, to set up a cordon round the affected districts in Singapore's north. The Police swept through these districts during a short blitz. The remaining rioters were rounded up on June 6 that finally restored public order to the affected communities.
After 1971, when all had settled down, the Malaysian government was able to follow an affirmative action policy marked particularly by the New Economic Policy (NEP) favouring the Malays. To this day, there is still an unease about the potential of violence as the power struggles between groups continue.
The recent history of what happens in mainland Malaysia shows that it can have an effect in Singapore as both have common cultural and historical background that are intricately linked. Though perceived by various human rights groups as restricting political opposition and criticism of the government, the Singapore government continue to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) where necessary to counter any potential communal, religious and terrorism threats to the present day.
See also 
- Conceicao. "The 13th May 1969 (Kuala Lumpur) Disturbances", pp. 112—113.
- Conceicao. "Rumours and revenge", p. 114.
- Information from the Internal Security Department Heritage Centre, Singapore.
- "US defends peaceful protests in Malaysia". The Straits Times. 29 November 2007. Archived from the original on 18 January 2008. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
- "Amnesty International Report 2006: Singapore". Amnesty International. Retrieved 2007-06-19.
- "ISD—Countering Threats". Internal Security Department. Archived from the original on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-19.