As a build-up to Merdeka Day, I will reproduce my “The Road to Merdeka” series that was published last year. The re-publishing of the series is inspired by a recent statement by DAP’s strongman, Karpal Singh, on the issue of Hudud and the Federal Constitution, which I shall address at the end of this series.
The first of this series is called “Persekutuan Tanah China:”
I know it is an odd title. When I say China, I do not mean the Chinese. I mean the country, China. This posting contains facts that many, including those from UMNO, do not know.
Before I go on, I want you to remember this important fact throughout this posting:
The Alliance won 51 of 52 seats in the 1955 General Election.
For a brief period during the Second World War, Sumatera was taken away from the control of Java and was placed under the Japanese Administration in Malaya. However, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed, the Japanese mooted an idea to Sukarno for Malaya to be included in a declaration of independence by Indonesia BEFORE the Allies could retake both Malaya and Indonesia.
On 13th August 1945, Sukarno and Drs Hatta went to Taiping on their way back to Jakarta from Saigon and met up with Ibrahim Yaakob and Burhanuddin Helmi to discuss on the idea of Malaya joining Indonesia Raya. This idea was not new to Ibrahim Yaakob. A Bugis by descent and an idolizer of Sukarno, Ibrahim was a member of the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM), a radical nationalist group formed in 1938 to overthrow the British by force and unite Malaya with Indonesia under the banner of Melayu Raya. This meeting in Taiping was also attended by one Major General Hirokichi Umezu of the Imperial Japanese Army. The Imperial Japanese government at the time recognised the leaders of Indonesia. Ibrahim was also a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Japanese Giyuugun (Volunteer Army) that was formed in Java. Before the Indonesia Raya idea could be pushed forward, the Japanese government surrendered to the Allies two days later.
Sukarno however continued to push for the Indonesia Raya concept but told that the inclusion of Malaya would not be easy as they would have to fight against two major powers of the day: the British and the Dutch; and asked Ibrahim to continue his fight for the inclusion of Malaya from Java. On 19th August 1945, together with Hassan Manan (a graduate from the Sultan Idris Teachers College, and fellow KMM member), Ibrahim, his wife and brother-in-law were flown to Jakarta in a Japanese military aircraft to escape the British.
Together with Mokhtaruddin Lasso, Burhanuddin Helmi then formed the Persatuan Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM), a republican association, on 17th October 1945, taking over where Ibrahim’s KMM had left. This got PKMM at loggerheads with the British. PKMM was then joined by other Jakarta-leaning members such as Shamsiah Fakeh, who led PKMM’s women wing, AWAS (Angkatan Wanita Sedar); and Ahmad Boestamam who led the youth wing, API (Angkatan Pemuda Insaf). Onn Jaafar, who was then a District Officer in Batu Pahat, was against Melayu Raya/Indonesia Raya as he did not want Malaya to be subsumed by a Javanese master. It was during this period too that Kiai Salleh, a respected religious leader from Batu Pahat, rose to fight the Communist Party of Malaya’s Bintang Tiga menace.
When the British formed the Malayan Union in 1946, PKMM together with its fraternal organisations API, AWAS and BATAS; and the non-Malay organisation, Malayan Democratic Union (MDU), quickly supported the move by the British. PKMM, being republican in nature, supported the Malayan Union because it was opposed to the idea of a Malaya ruled by the Malay rulers while MDU supported the idea of an immediate citizenship for all immigrants. As history has proven, intense pressure by UMNO caused the British to abandon the Malayan Union. The Malayan Union was then replaced by the Federated Malay States in 1948.
It was also at this juncture that the British offered independence, but was rejected by UMNO. The reasons for rejecting this offer were that the Malays were at that time a minority in Malaya; the Malays lacked education (they were given elementary education until Standard Six); the Malays were also not involved in the mainstream economic activities. It was not until later, when General Sir Gerald Templer objected to the British offer to Malayans for a self-rule Malaya for its assistance in fighting the communist, that UMNO declined that offer and went instead for the independence of Malaya.
Where was PAS during this time? PAS was embedded within UMNO. There was no PAS. PAS came about when none of the supporters of the founder of PAS was appointed to the respective state’s legislative council, following the formation of the Federated Malay States. They left UMNO probably in 1951, and then formed the Pan-Malayan Islamic Party (PMIP) in 1955 to contest in the first General Elections where they won one seat.
Despite having seen that UMNO and MCA could set aside differences and work together in the first Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council Elections in 1952, Templer was quoted by the Straits Times on the 19th May 1953 to have said the following:
“It would be a tragedy, not only for Malaya, but for South-East Asia, if power was handed over so precipitately that the remarkable progress now being made in all direction is thrown out of gear, to say the least of it, quite apart from the communal difficulties which might, or would arise.”
In November 1955, after the victory of the Alliance inthe first General Elections, Tunku Abdul Rahman who was the Federation of Malaya’s first Chief Minister, went to Jakarta to call upon President Sukarno. The Tunku put forth Malaya’s idea to pursue an independence from the British. Enter our long-lost character Ibrahim Yaakob, who went to meet Tunku there, pushing forward his ambition to have Malaya’s independence within the framework of Indonesia Raya.
Let us fast forward a bit to the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Although the Constitution of the Federation of Malaysia gained the consent of the Yang DiPertuan Agong on 29th August 1963, objections by Indonesia and the Philippines over the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak, and the conduct of referendums in the two states by the United Nations pushed the date further to 16th September 1963. It was also a coincidence that 16th September is the birthday of Lee Kuan Yew, the then-Chief Minister of Singapore.
Indonesia, already opposed to the independence of Malaya in 1957, was further aflamed by the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak into Malaysia. Sukarno was influenced to teach Malaysia a lesson by D.N Aidid, Leader of the Indonesian Communist Party, and by the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Dr Subandrio, who went to China to meet its Premier, Zhou En-Lai. Subandrio, an alleged communist, was very close to Premier Zhou, and discussed the possibility of lynching and splitting Malaysia, and requested for support from China. The plan was for an Indonesia Raya and a greater China where all Malay island nations (that possibly include the Philippines as well) would be under Indonesia Raya, while all mainland nations including the Peninsula of Malaysia would come under China.
Indonesia at the time was supported by the communists in the Soviet Union. This episode saw the withdrawal of Soviet support (the Soviet was against the confrontation with Malaysia) and a cautioned-support from China. Supporting the Indonesians then would be a positive move for China as Indonesia had the second largest communist party outside of the Soviet Union. Chinese arms started trickling into Indonesia by 1964. Had it not been for the help from the Commonwealth Forces, Peninsula Malaysia would probably be a province of China now. Chin Peng, who was residing in China then, also ordered the CPM members to assist the Indonesian armed forces against Malaysia and the Commonwealth.
The rest, I would say, is history. Ibrahim Yaakob resumed the name Iskandar Kamel and was made a Minister under Sukarno rule. After the attempted coup by the communists in Indonesia failed, he withdrew from his post and died in Jakarta in 1979, aged 78. He was listed on his tombstone as Iskandar Kamel Agastya (IBHY), Leftenan-Kolonel Purnawirawan NRP 26217. In 1973, the late Tun Razak allowed him to return briefly to Malaysia. In an interview during that visit, Ibrahim Yaakob admitted to being a double-agent for both the British and the Japanese.
Chin Peng, in an interview in Singapore, had said that the CPM, as a fraternal organisation of the Communist Party of China, enjoyed full support from China for the establishment of a satellite-communist state in our country. He was given the task to fulfill three levels of achievements in the 1950s, namely the:
1) Support on the local level,
2) Support on the national level, and,
3) Support on the international level.
He achieved the support on two of these levels: Local – he had strong support from the Chinese community. He had support on the International level – the support from China. What he did not have in the 1950s was the support on the National level – there was no support from the general Malay population. Hence, the only way for the CPM to remain relevant was to incite the non-Malay population to work against the Malays, who were portrayed as being the political masters of Malaya. Does this ring a bell? It is deja vu all over again in present day Malaysia.
If you remember at the beginning of this posting, I asked you to remember this important fact:
The Alliance won 51 of 52 seats in the 1955 General Election.
In 1955, the Alliance won the first General Elections of the Federation of Malaya. Then, the non-Malays were still in the process of being naturalised (provided they could speak Bahasa Melayu and met the number of years criteria) hence most did not make it into the electoral roll. Therefore, it could be said that the voice of the Malays were in support of the Alliance – not PAS, not Parti Negara (that was formed by Dato’ Onn after leaving UMNO), not PPP, not PKMM, not CPM (the latter two of course were illegal organisations then and were not elligible to contest).
So, what does that say about people like Mat Indera, Abdullah CD, Rashid Maidin, Shamsiah Fakeh et al., the so-called nationalists who fought on the side of the communists? A simple malay term to describe them would be none other than “TALI BARUT KOMUNIS” or the communists’ lackeys, who lost all clout fighting for independence when the Federation of Malaya achieved independence in 1957. The elections results also prove that the malays disapproved of them fighting for the communists from the onset of the Malayan Emergency in 1948, and definitely disapproved of Mat Indera’s slaughter of the men, women and children of the Bukit Kepong Police Station.
None of those mentioned in the previous paragraph own any right whatsoever to be called “Freedom Fighters.”
In ending this posting, I can safely say that I have done six postings on several chapters of the history of our nation versus none from the Ministry of Information. There seems to be no check and balance by the Ministry of Education to provide a full course in the nation’s history: all that the children read are watered-down versions of the nation’s history, structured so they could perform in the history examinations without understanding the spirit behind each and every event. There also seems to be inaction from the Home Ministry on seditious remarks made by certain quarters, even to the extent of belittling the institution of the Yang DiPertuan Agong and the Raja-Raja Melayu, as well as the glorifying of an illegal organisation – an act that is covered extensively in several legal Acts.
If we forget our history, we will become a nation without a soul – and this is now all too evident in a weary 54-year old Malaysia.
(The original article can be found here.
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