Malaysia’s first national election of 1969 was a momentous one, ending with the greatest record of political violence and death in its history. 60 years later, the events transpiring May 13 still haunt its citizens and the memory of which has been used to justify radical legal, economical and socio-political changes. This podcast digs deep into the sticky entanglement of race, identity and politics that have become pillars and banes of Malaysia’s history and contemporary culture. 

Bio: Chelsea Jade Penafort is a 2019 University of Warwick graduate who is currently undergoing the BPTC at City University, London. 

Special Thanks to: 

  • Dr Illan rua Wall, Associate Professor at the School of Law, Warwick University.
  • Dr. Shamsul, Professor of Anthropology and Director of Ethnic Studies at the National University of Malaysia 
  • Dr. Kua Kia Soong, Director of SUARAM
  • My wonderful friends: Siow Ching, Jia Hui, Joshua Ting, Kasyfi, Nisha SV Linggam, Praveen, Raymond Lim, Gregory Joseph, Syafiq, Athira, Nicole and Jonathan Weng Kanfor their voices

Journal Articles 

  • S. M. Huang-Thio, Constitutional Discrimination under the Malaysian Constitution, 6 Malaya L. Rev. 1 (1964) 
  • Hwok-Aun Lee, ‘Majority Affirmative Action in Malaysia: Imperatives, Compromises and Challenges, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies (2017)*
  • Maznah Mohamad (2008) Malaysia — democracy and the end of ethnic politics?, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 62:4, 441-459
  • Vejai Balasubramaniam (2006) Embedding Ethnic Politics in Malaysia: Economic Growth, its Ramifications and Political Popularity, Asian Journal of Political Science, 14:1, 23-39,*
  • Racial Conflict in Malaysia, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 2, No. 47 (December 2, 1967), pp. 2078-2079 

Newspaper Article

  • Hiebert, Murray, Jaysankaran, S, May 13, 1969: Formative fury (Far Eastern Economic Review; May 20, 1999) 162, 20; ProQuest pg. 45*



  • The May 13 Tragedy by the National Operations Council, October 1969*
  • Washing the Tigers, Addressing Discrimination And Inequality In Malaysia, an ERT Country Report Series: 2 London, November 2012 
  • The tragedy of May 13, 1969 by The Sun but read on The Malaysian Bar, July 2007 


Online Articles and Blogs 



Sound effects 

  • (All sound effects sourced from users of