04 September 2011
Umno attacking Mat Sabu to protect own version of history
Umno’s relentless media attacks against PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu shows the Malay party’s desire to defend its version of history, analysts have said.
The nation is engulfed by history debates following the alleged remarks by the Kubang Kerian MP at a political gathering last month about the attack on Bukit Kepong in 1950 during British occupied Malaya.
Political analysts told The Malaysian Insider that Umno wanted to maintain its interpretation of history — which has been “propagated in schools and by the official media” — that it was the main force behind the nation’s fight for independence.
“Of course, the Umno at that time is totally different from the Umno of today, and independence came about through the efforts of various forces, including the Malayan Communist Party,” said Lim Teck Ghee, the director of policy reform organisation Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI).
“However, the hope is that the Umno propagandist and self-serving version would be the unchallenged and pre-eminent interpretation of that period of our history,” he added.
Umno Youth said yesterday it would amass all former soldiers, policemen and kinsmen of the Bukit Kepong tragedy victims in a nationwide roadshow — called the Pentas Patriot or Patriot Stage — to counter Mohamad’s view of the fire-fight.
Mohamad widely known as Mat Sabu, stirred controversy when he told a Bukit Gelugor ceramah that freedom fighters attacked the police station — which killed 25 — during the pre-independence communist insurgency.
The maverick politician has since been accused of being a communist sympathiser by Umno leaders and sniped at daily in Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia, despite denying that he had used the word “communism” in his speech.
Umno appears determined to use Mohamad’s statement to woo support from the Malay electorate, among whom communism remains a bogeyman, ahead of anticipated snap polls.
Mohamad, however, has pointed out that Muhammad Indera — one of the individuals he praised in his ceramah on August 21, was already recognised as a freedom fighter by Umno-controlled daily Berita Harian on August 13, 2010.
Muhammad, better known as Mat Indera, was a Malay communist leader who led the guerilla assault against the police barracks manned by policemen under the British administration.
Monash University political analyst James Chin echoed Lim’s remarks, saying: “The real history of Malaysia is (that) Umno is just one of the independence fighters; they’re not the only one. They’re trying to paint themselves as the only one.”
The Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM) was the first Malay political party formed after the Japanese Occupation in 1945 that fought for independence. Umno was formed in 1946 by Datuk Onn Jaafar.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political scientist Dr Sivamurugan Pandian stressed that rewriting history should be left to historians to prevent misunderstandings that could affect race relations.
“Looking in depth, I think what is being contested now is to recognise communism contribution among the Malays,” he told..
“Confusion will prolong not only among Malaysians, but also PAS or PR (Pakatan Rakyat) supporters themselves,” added Sivamurugan.
Malaysia deported 11 Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity back to China on August 18, after it was found that the group was allegedly involved in human trafficking and were wanted by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has been engaged in aggressive policing in it's Muslim region of Xinjiang as a number of the ethnic Uighurs there seek independence for the western region as East Turkistan. China has been known to have a zero-tolerance policy for any of its far-flung regions from capital Beijing seeking autonomy or separate rule. Hundreds of Uighurs have been reportedly killed in various riots over the decade, especially in opposition to the China's majority Han race who have been transmigrating to Xinjiang.
Apart from PKR, the Bar Council has also condemned the move, saying the Uighurs should have been prosecuted here instead for their crimes, if any.
“However, they have been deported to China, and nothing has been heard about protecting their human trafficking victims. There is also no information about the whereabouts of the 11 Uighurs, what has happened to them, or indeed whether or not they are still alive. One of the 11 is married to a Malaysian,” council president Lim Chee Wee had said.
Nik Nazmi concurred with Lim and demanded Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein explain and guarantee that the remaining five Uighurs presently under detention here would be treated as legitimate asylum seekers following international law and practice.
The five, he added, have already applied for refugee status from the UN Refugee Agency or UNHCR and should be accorded due protection.
He pointed out that the UNHCR had earlier also requested to meet with all 16 Uighur Muslims in Malaysia but was turned down by the government.
“UNCHR has expressed their regret at the Malaysian government’s decision and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has already condemned the government’s decision to return the 11 Uighurs and urge the government to not return the remaining five.
“US Republican Representative Chris Smith and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, co-chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China have also condemned Malaysia’s actions on the Uighur asylum seekers,” he said.
The HRW, added Nik Nazmi, had also revealed that China has purportedly been bullying countries including Malaysia, Thailand and Pakistan to return Uighur asylum seekers.
He said this began in 2009 in Cambodia when the country was forced to return 20 Uighurs under the protection of the UNHCR including a pregnant woman and two infants to China.
“The Chinese Government have routinely responded to demands for the use of the Uighur language and peaceful practice of Islam as terrorism, separatism and treason.
“OIC, of which Malaysia is a member, has called for China to address the underlying problems of oppression for the Uighurs,” he said.
Problem is all this while UMNO seems to suggest that only UMNO fight for Independence... The true fact is there are parties and individuals who fought for independence..
Take the issue about Bukit Kepong, it happened in 1950, that is 7 years before Malaya became independent (31/08/1957)and 16 years before formation of Malaysia(16/09/1963) take note the Malaysian Police (PDRM) and armed forces Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) not even exist at that time. Nobody including you and I (I guess you learn history about our nation) can deny this and nobody can change what had happen. The question is why does UMNO so ignorant to say that Mat Sabu belittle the PDRM and ATM and glorify Parti Kominis Malaya when both PDRM and ATM did exist in 1950.
History is a bitter pill to swallow, but how painfull it is we had to accept that it happened and we learned from what had happened to better our nation and ourselves
UMNO begged British for Merdeka. Communists and others fought for Merdeka. That is the difference
To be historically accurate, UMNO Baru bear no resemblance to the original UMNO of 1946 and therefore, have no right to incorporate the initiatives made by the latter. Let alone the struggle and sacrifices for independence by other political entities like AMCJA, etc.
UMNO Baru came into being in 1988 whilst Malaya (1957) and Malaysia (1963) were already formalised as sovereign.
Tell me again, what's UMNO Baru's contribution to an already independent nation?
And who holds membership number '0001' in UMNO Baru if it's not Mahathir who quickly proceeded to 'steal' UMNO's assets during the transition.
Umno keep on attacking Mat Sabu , and the more Umno focus on Mat Sabu, the more people support for Mat Sabu, it seems to bring an inner strength for Mat Sabu. Don't worry! Mat Sabu we are supporting you, if you utilise against UMNO for corruptions, baseless articles- Utusan and mismanaged the country, it will bring you well known in good deeds and strength.
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