Mahathir was sacked from the UMNO Supreme Council, following his widespread distribution to the public of his letter to Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister at that time about his handling of the race riots of 13 May 1969. In his letter, he had criticised the manner in which Tunku Abdul Rahman had handled the country’s administration which was believed to favour the ethnic Chinese. Mahathir was subsequently expel of his party membership on 26 September 1969. Mahathir joined UMNO at its inception in 1946.
A state of emergency and accompanying curfew were declared throughout the Malaysia. The curfew was relaxed in most parts of the country for two hours. The National Operations Council (NOC) was established by proclamation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King of Malaysia) Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah, headed by Tun Abdul Razak. With Parliament suspended, the NOC became the supreme decision-making body for the next 18 months. State and District Operations Councils took over state and local government. The NOC implemented security measures to restore law and order in the country. Curfews continued in most parts of the country, but were gradually scaled back. Peace was restored in the affected areas within two months.
A deadly Sino-Malay sectarian violence in Kuala Lumpur. Malay leaders who were angry about the election results used the press to attack their opponents, contributing to raising public anger and tension among the Malay and Chinese communities. Malays on their way to the procession had been attacked by Chinese in Setapak, several miles to the north. Meanwhile, in the Kuala Lumpur area, a Malay army officer was murdered by Chinese radicals as he and his spouse were coming out from a movie theater in the predominantly Chinese area of Bukit Bintang. A group of Malay protestors swiftly wreaked revenge by killing two innocent passing Chinese motorcyclists, and the riot began. Officially, 196 people were killed as a result of the riots but independent reporters and other observers estimated up to 2,000 people had died.
Thousands of Chinese marched through Kuala Lumpur, parading through predominantly Malay areas, which hurled insults that led to the incident. The largely Chinese opposition Democratic Action Party and Gerakan gained in the elections, and secured a police permit for a victory parade through a fixed route in Kuala Lumpur. However, the rowdy procession deviated from its route and headed through the Malay district of Kampung Baru, jeering at the inhabitants. Some demonstrators carried brooms, later alleged to symbolise the sweeping out of the Malays from Kuala Lumpur, while others chanted slogans about the “sinking” of the Alliance boat the coalition’s logo. The Gerakan party issued an apology the following day for their rally goers’ behaviour.
Malaysia held its 3rd general election since independence. Election day itself passed without any incident. It resulted in the return to power, with a reduced majority, of the ruling Alliance Party, comprising the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA), and the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC).