The Road To Merdeka – Whom Did The British Prefer?

For someone like A Samad Said to say that the Tunku was merely an independence receiver shows the works of a fiction-writer’s mind (Yahoo! News (from Malaysiakini): Pak Samad – Tunku Merely Independence Receiver)

“To me, Tunku was not an independence fighter. He was a receiver, the person approved by the British to ‘receive’ independence… the British felt that the ‘receiver’ must be a person who can take care of its interests in Malaya.”

A fiction writer does not need to know facts, all he has to do is to conjure a litany of half-truths or mere fiction to write, and that was what he did during the forum. It also displays his lack of knowledge in the history of the nation.

In my previous “The Road to Merdeka” series, I have written somewhat extensively to bring readers to one structure of thinking, then explain that the independence was obtained through a constitutional struggle that culminated in the end of feudalism, power to govern was handed by the Malay rulers to the people of Malaya, whilst maintaining the institution of the Malay rulers albeit in a constitutional form.

When the Federated and Unfederated Malay States were perfidiously annexed by the British and lumped in with the Crown Colonies of Penang and Melaka via the Malayan Union on 1st April 1946, it was done so using threats and blackmail on the Malay rulers without consulting the people who were the Rulers’ subjects. Malays all over the peninsula protested in January of 1946 when they got to know of the British’s plan. On 1st March 1946, over 40 Malay political and cultural organisations (PAS had not been born yet) met and 41 of these organisations decided to form UMNO, and three days later, under Dato’ Onn Jaafar, UMNO was formed. It was through this galvanisation of the Malays, united against the Malayan Union that caused the very architect of the Malayan Union, Sir Edward Gent, to declare the Malayan Union unworkable given the resistance by the Malays, a little over a month after it was formed.

Let us also recall that among the organisations that supported the formation of the Malayan Union were the Indonesian-leaning, Malay-dominated PKMM, and the Malayan Democratic Union that was dominated by the other races wanting immediate and automatic citizenship through the Malayan Union.

In 1949, the British government announced that it was to grant eventual independence to Malaya, and issued another in 1952 saying that independence will only be given if the various races were united. But UMNO and MCA called the British’s bluff and fielded their candidates for the 1952 Kuala Lumpur Municipal Election on a common ticket. We all know how that went. That paved way for the Alliance when MIC joined forces and the Alliance won the 1955 General Elections resoundingly.

And how did the struggle for independence go soon after? It was not smooth at all. We all know the British created for the Tunku and TH Tan a hell of roadblocks that they had to lobby friends in the British Parliament before the Colonial Office would even see them.

Prior to this, Onn Jaafar had sought to open up UMNO’s membership to ALL Malayans and rename the party as the United Malayans National Organisation, but his call went unheeded by UMNO’s members. We know now whom the British had favoured when they made the second announcement in 1952. He left UMNO in August 1951 and formed the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP), a multiracial party and had probably hoped that Malayans would support it in order to be granted independence from the British, as it would fullfil the . He misjudged the Malayan people’s resolve, and eventually left the party too, to form Parti Negara, a party with restrictions to non-Malays as members, aimed at winning back the support of the Malays. In 1955, Dato Onn and Parti Negara failed to win a single seat.

Old Samad also conveniently dropped a few names like Burhanuddin al-Helmi, Ahmad Boestamam, Mat Kilau. The latter fought against British influence but was not part of the Indonesian-leaning groups the former two were part of. In fact, Burhanuddin was a member of the militant KMM that was bent on overthrowing the British by force and become part of Melayu/Indonesia Raya. He also led Kesatuan Rakyat Indonesia Semenanjung (KRIS) right after KMM was banned, and then the PKMM. Boestamam headed the Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API), the youth front of the PKMM. After the PKMM was banned for being the Communist Party of Malaya’s United Front and soon after he was released from prison, Boestamam set up the Partai Rakyat Malaya (PRM) in November of 1955 which during its formative years was based on the struggles of Sukarno and subscribed to the Pan-Malaya/Indonesia nationalism.

So to whom did Burhanuddin al-Helmi and Boestamam look up to? Sukarno. Was he a Malayan?

But like I have been saying all along, who are we independent from? The answer is FEUDALISM, the very system that brought the British advisors in. On 31st August 1957 the Malay rulers handed over power to their subjects, and freed them from having to depend on the British. The British had never colonised Malaya de jure save for the Straits Settlements. If the pro-BN say that we were colonised in any way, they are agreeing to the point made by their opposition counterpart that the Tunku, Tun Razak et al were all British lackeys (Barua British) as the respective states’ administration would have come under the purview of the British. Dare they chance that thought?

For Old Samad, I only have one pantun for him:

“Tersipu-sipu meminta barang,
Menggigil-gigil sebab teruja;
Cukuplah awak menipu orang,
Kubur dah panggil, usia dah senja.”