The 2001 Kampung Medan riots is a sectarian violence between the Indian and Malay that initially began in a small village of Kampung Medan located in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. The riot then further escalated and spread all the way through Kampung Gandhi, Kampung Lindungan , Kampung Datuk Harun, Taman Desa Ria and the surrounding of Jalan Klang Lama. The racial crisis then spread all the way through Petaling Jaya, Jalan Gasing, Kelana Jaya, Sungai Way, Bandar Sunway and Puchong. The riot started from 4 March until 13 March 2001. Photographs in Malaysiakini's possession are gruesome evidence of the extensive hurt, both physical and emotional, inflicted by the clashes. The three weeks of tension resulted in the deaths of 6 people, and left over a hundred people with severe wounds, ranging from head injuries, broken bones, to slashes and hacked off limbs. Four hundred people were detained.
The residents of Kampung Medan are 70% Malay, 20% Indian and 10% Chinese. The Malays live in low-cost flats and houses. The Chinese are scattered, while the Indians live in longhouses and squatter settlements. Police have admitted they neglected the areas, which had achieved notoriety for gangster activity, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, fights and even incest. Violence has been a way of life and over the last three years, there have been no fewer than 40 cases of violence involving the squatters and those living in the vicinity. In incidents over the past few days, the villagers have blamed outsiders for the violence.
The riot between the two groups initiated in Kampung Medan from a wedding and funeral. The wedding ceremony was held by a Malay family in their house, at the same time, their Indian neighbours were having their funeral ceremony.
An Indian security guard on the way back from work at 3 a.m. on March 4. He found a tent erected in the middle of the narrow road in Kampung Medan, of Jalan Klang Lama, for a wedding. He became agitated and started kicking the tables and chairs. His action angered the Malay family that was preparing for the wedding, and they rushed out to beat him up. The security guard fled and returned later with a parang and five other cohorts. A fight broke out. He ran towards an Indian house, a few hundred metres away, presumably for refuge where a wake was being held, contrary to earlier reports that the fight started because the funeral procession was blocked by the tent. The group of Malays, who thought he was a member of the household, then set fire to a car and two motorcycles. But the spark came four days later when fights broke out after Indian children playing with catapults broke a van windscreen.
The agitated van owner, an Indian, sought compensation from the children's parents. He was joined by his driver, a Malay, but some villagers who saw the commotion thought that a Malay was threatening the Indians. By then, the rumours were flying of an Indian-Malay fight. As with all rumours, more versions followed, resulting in mounting tension among the Malays and Indians in the area.
A six-member team representing a network of NGOs for a Violence Free Community took upon themselves to record the names and injuries of the victims. Below are some of the details:
On 8 March 2001, a 26-year-old construction worker and his friend were returning to their homes in Kampung Semarak off Jalan Klang Lama on a motorcycle at 10.30pm. They were attacked by about 50 youths carrying iron rods, wooden sticks and hockey sticks. His friend escaped, but the construction worker ended up with a broken right leg. Suresh, 19, sustained head injuries when he was assaulted by five people at about 10.30pm. The college student from Taman Medan was returning home when five to six youths obstructed his way. They asked him about his ethnic origin. When he told them, Suresh was attacked with sharp instruments and wooden sticks. He passed out. He suffered multiple slash wounds on the head and abdomen. He also suffered a deep slash which almost severed the wrist from his left hand.
On 9 March 2001, Mathavan was assaulted by a gang of youths when he was returning home on a motorcycle. He suffered a leg fracture and injuries on his hands. His motorcycle was torched. Annadurai was carrying goods in his van when youths attacked him near the Shell petrol station in Sri Manja, locared near Taman Medan. He suffered injuries on his head and hands. Security guard Kanan was assaulted in Kampung Medan while returning home from work. He had head injuries, a fractured leg and suffered a hemorrhage in his kidney. Rajathurai was on drips and on a resuscitation machine. Naharul Hisham sustained injuries on his hands and his fingers were almost severed.
On 10 March 2001, a Form 5 student from Kampung Gandhi who was in Taman Medan with his brother at 3 p.m. were chased by about 100 men on motorcycles, armed with samurai swords, wooden sticks and iron rods. The two were caught and assaulted. His brother's hands were almost severed. Norhashihadi was returning to Kampung Medan after work when he was attacked by 10 men. He suffered head injuries. In Sungei Way, Indonesian worker Sujari was attacked by six men while Yong So Lin was attacked by three. Muthukumar, from Bidor, Perak, was delivering fruits when he and his co-worker were attacked by youths in Kampung Datuk Harun. He sustained head injuries. Anbalakan was assaulted by a few youths when he stopped at the traffic light near Kampung Datuk Harun. He was on his way home to Sungai Buloh. He had leg injuries. Ramesan, a mute, was attacked in Kampung Medan, sustaining injuries on his legs and hands.
On 11 March 2001, Sahjahan, a Bangladeshi factory worker, was attacked by a man in Sungei Way. He fell unconscious and sustained injuries on his head and hands. Kathirvelu had nose and head injuries. Thinakaran had injuries on his hand and leg. Parthiban, 19, had stitches on the face and head. Anbarasan had injuries on his legs, hands and ear.
On 12 March 2001, Subramaniam was travelling from Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur to his home in Sri Sentosa when he was assaulted. He had injuries on his head and back. Bakhshish Elahi, a Pakistani, and his partner were assaulted in a lorry by about 100 youths armed with pipes, swords and parangs. He had injuries on his head, legs and hand.
On 13 March 2001, A lorry driver and a factory supervisor were attacked by youths with parangs. Four fingers on the supervisor's right hand were almost severed. He also had two slash wounds across his shoulders. The lorry driver's fingers on his left hand were almost severed. He also suffered a slash wound to the back of the head.
The Menteri Besar of Selangor, Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo, acted by securing the Hindu temple in Kampung Medan to prevent any further violence from the Malay community. He advised the Malay residence to act but abide the laws of the country. Security forces also seized almost 100 weapons including home-made bombs, machetes, knives, samurai swords, catapults, chains, steel pipes, batons and axes. Kampung Medan is a classic case of the urban poor working for crumbs," the Star newspaper said in an analysis. Mohammad Agus Yusoff, political science lecturer at the National University, told AFP that poor infrastructure and a host of socio-economic ills bred frustration. Social activist, Dr. Kua Kia Soong, criticized the security forces failed to protect the people or act without bias in the incidents similarly with the May 13 Incident. The then-president of Malaysian Indian Congress, Samy Vellu visited the corpse of K. Muneiretham in University Hospital. V. Segar, 34 dan A. Ganeson, 28 are few of the death by the riot.
But the incident in the squatter area has left six people dead and 24 hospitalised, as at yesterday. Police said 183 people comprising 100 Malays, 14 Indonesians including two women, and 69 Indians have been arrested.
To date, the racial relationship between the Indian and Malay has been incidentally severed in Selangor and Klang Valley. This riot is said to be the linked with several other cases of racial and religious protests and conflicts such as the 2007 HINDRAF rally, 2009 Cow's Head Protests, and the demolition of Hindu places of worship in Selangor such as the Malaimel Sri Selva Kaliamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur and the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Batu Tiga.
A 2009 Malaysian drama film Talentime, a scene reminiscent of the Kampung Medan riots are included in the film.