Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The struggle for Merdeka: what the Malaysian history books do not tell us

Yesterday, I wrote an article called ‘Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!’ regarding the Selangor Royal Family’s opposition to British colonial rule. Today, I want to publish chapter 34 of the book ‘Malay Nationalism Before Umno: The Memoirs of Mustapha Hussain’ to show that Umno was not involved in the early moves to gain Merdeka for Malaya.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Some of you may not want to read the entire chapter of eight pages (I know Malaysians malas membaca). So allow me to summarise the main points of this chapter.

1. The fight for Merdeka in 1946 was not spearheaded by Umno (as the Malaysian history books claim). It was spearheaded by the All-Malayan Council of Joint Action (AMCJA). The AMCJA was a leftist group (what Umno would call Communist).

2. This was the second attempt to gain Merdeka. The first was in 1945 during the Japanese occupation of Malaya. In fact, Japan had already agreed to Merdeka, which was supposed to have been declared on 17 August 1945. However, Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945 (just two days before Merdeka) after the bombing of Hiroshima followed by Nagakasi. If the Americans had delayed the bombing just a few weeks, Malaya would have seen Merdeka on 15 August 1945 instead of 31 August 1957.

3. The 1945 and 1946 moves to gain Merdeka was made by a multi-racial group amongst who were nationalists, religionists and communists. It was not an all-Malay group. And Umno was certainly not in the group. Umno did not talk about Merdeka until about 10 years later.

So that is story of the struggle for Merdeka and don’t let Umno tell you otherwise. And take special note that all the races, not just the Malays, participated in the fight for Merdeka.

Of course, at that time, the British would not consider Merdeka because then Malaya would have become a socialist state (with a Constitutional Monarchy). Instead, the British arrested those calling for Merdeka. The British then promoted and backed Umno, a party of British-trained Malays, to ensure that post-Merdeka Malaya would remain pro-British.