Archive for category History

The communists want me to lose in the 1969 General Election but they failed as they launched an election boycott yet half a century later I am accused of being a communist

(Versi BM)

I was in Klang last night with Klang DAP leaders and members in a dinner organised by DAP veteran Tee Boon Hock to mark the conferment of Tan Sri award on me.

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We were educated to be Malayans and later Malaysians six decades ago and it came as a shock that the Deputy Prime Minister said in 2010 that he was Malay first and Malaysian second

I was in Batu Pahat on Friday night to celebrate the 98th birthday of the my brother-in-law, Ho Lai Chee, which was also a reunion for me with Lai Chee’s far-flung offspring from Sydney, Singapore, and London.

Early before dawn on Saturday, I spent two hours walking the streets of Batu Pahat, to smell the air and revisit the sights of the town where I spent my primary and secondary years, starting from Cheng Siu Chinese primary school to Batu Pahat English School and then Batu Pahat High School.

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The Education Minister should ensure that Malaysian taxpayers do not have to pay for RM3 million mistake in reprint of Year Six History textbook which showed Malacca in the east coast above Terengganu

Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid should ensure that Malaysian taxpayers do not have to pay for the RM3 million mistake in reprint of Year Six History textbook which showed Malacca in the east coast above Terengganu.

It is shocking as to how such a basic mistake, which should not be made under any circumstances, could be made despite the various levels of checks and counter-checks, from the choice of the author to the writing of the text, including the title to the diagrams and content to the last page.

Clearly, the whole system of checks and counter-checks have broken down in the education ministry, which does not reflect well on the professionalism of the Education Ministry, departments and agencies like the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) delegated with such tasks.

The DBP director general Datuk Dr. Awang Sariyan has said that reprinting the history text would cost RM3 million. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA is history when it cannot even ensure that the national contributions and role of MCA founders are given proper respect and recognition in the school history text books

Today, the MCA-owned Star report entitled “Penang’s first CM will not be in history books” made the startling announcement:

“Kuala Lumpur. It seems Tan Sri Wong Pow Nee will not be joining the ranks of other local top leaders in the Year 6 history textbooks used by Chinese vernacular schools after all.

“Education Minister, Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid said the history books were already printed and would soon be sent to schools.

“’There will be no more amendments made to the history books,’ he was quoted in a report by Sin Chew Daily.

“Mahdzir pointed out that corrections were made to Malacca which was mistakenly labelled onto the state of Terengganu.”

Mahdzir’s explanation is neither satisfactory nor acceptable. If the ghastly mistake in the SJKR Year Six history textbook, which shifted the Malacca state to the north of the country near Kelantan, could be corrected, why could’nt the omission of Wong Pow Nee in the formation of Malaysia, as one of the members of the Cobbold Commission which recommended positively on the establishment of Malaysia in 1963, be rectified? Read the rest of this entry »


Malay Schizophrenic Response to British Colonialism

Bakri Musa
[email protected]
Oct 28 2015

Malays actively shunned and refused to participate in the various colonial endeavors even those that could potentially benefit us. Instead we undertook a form of passive resistance, utilizing what John C Scott refers to as “weapons of the weak.”

While these everyday forms of passive resistance may not grab headlines, nonetheless they are akin to the cumulative accumulation of the coral reefs. In the aggregate and over time they exert a profound impact. When the ship of state runs aground on such reefs, attention is directed to the shipwreck and not to the aggregations of petty acts that made those treacherous reefs possible.

So was the Malayan Union initiative shipwrecked upon a reef of resentment and resistance that had quietly been building up and concretized over time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons From The Past

M. Bakri Musa
October 20 2016

The coming of Islam, European colonization, and the pursuit of independence – these were transformational events in our culture that resulted in the toppling of the Malay collective coconut shell. In all three instances our culture had served us well in guiding us through uncharted waters.

Yet, and this seems perverse, in our current tribulations we are far too inclined to blame our culture. I suggest that instead of forever berating and blaming the presumed inadequacies of our culture, it would be far more meaningful and productive if we were to analyze and learn how our culture had dealt with the major events of the past, and apply those insights to our current challenges.

If I were to grade the performance of our culture to the three transformational events in our history, I would give an exemplary A-plus for the path we chose towards independence, an A-minus for our reception to the coming of Islam, and a respectable B for our performance during colonization. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Peaceful Path We Chose Towards Independence

M. Bakri Musa
13th October 2015

The third defining moment in Malay culture was the peaceful path we chose towards independence. The Malay world was turned upside down with colonization; it altered the physical as well as social landscape. The latter was even more profound and threatening.

Despite that, and defying the trend of the time, we opted for this peaceful path through negotiations and collaborations in pursuit of our independence.

If one were to stroll along the countryside of pre-colonial Malaysia, there would of course be no paved roads. One would have to literally cut a swath through the thick jungle. The only practical route for travel was by rivers and waterways.

The British built roads and replaced the thick jungle with neat rows of identical, boring but highly productive rubber trees. As for the rivers, once teeming with fish, they were now like kopi susu (cafe au lait) from the contamination of brown sediments from the ubiquitous tin mines. Read the rest of this entry »

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What were the roles played by the races during and after the Japanese occupation?

— K. Siladass
The Malay Mail Online
SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

SEPTEMBER 16 — Nowadays, it seems, race bashings, accusing, and abusing other races and religions, especially the Chinese and Indians and non-Islamic religions have become a norm; yet, the authorities seem not to be concerned at this blatant violation of the law, and lack of respect for constitutional safeguards.

In the midst of all the provocative allegations, some have started to add, as if fueling the flames of racial and religious hatred, that it is only the Malays who fought against the Malayan Union and that the non-Malays opposed it only when they realised benefit would accrue to them. We can understand if this suggestion had emanated from those whose knowledge in history is suspect.

But, what must irk us is that such allegations come from those who are supposed to be well-endowed with education. Unless, they, for some reasons of their own, which cannot be wise, have chosen to turn a blind eye to history; or have no inclination to recognise the avert and covert acts of non-Malays during the Japanese occupation; with the co-operation of our Malay brethren. Read the rest of this entry »


Sabah students ignorant of the three most historic events in Sabah in 50 year history in Malaysia as they are not in the school history textbooks

I fully agree with the founding president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Muhriz that failure to teach history properly has enabled others to invent a past that threatens national unity in Malaysia today.

Speaking at the opening of a forum organised by IDEAS yesterday to commemorate the 111 birthday of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Zain said there were too few references to Malaysia’s own history in charting the vision for the future of the country.

“Which is why I keep saying they should be made compulsory reading in schools, instead of the lamentable textbooks that I have seen,” he said, adding that the biggest ignorance of all was that of our own history. Read the rest of this entry »


Worst Educational Measure Ever? Making History a Compulsory Pass Subject

Koon Yew Yin

The recent policy decision to make history a compulsory pass for SPM students ranks as one of the most ill-conceived and irresponsible measure ever introduced into the Malaysian educational system since we gained our independence.

According to the Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, the move is an effort toward teaching students to become good citizens.

“It is not our intention to fail them. We intend to pass them, but at least let them know the basic history of our country. He also said that if history is not made a compulsory-pass, many treat the subject as unimportant and they don’t want to know our history, what happened in the past and will not appreciate what we have now,” he said.

Everyone knows what a bad state Malaysian education is in. At the secondary school level standards of mathematics and science are low; fluency of Bahasa and English is poor; and knowledge of ICT and technology is limited. At the same time competence in skills such as analysis, problem solving, reasoning and communication are lacking. Read the rest of this entry »


Fitnah 13 Mei: Dato Ghani Othman perlu lebih berani, tegas dan serius untuk menolak kempen politik kotor

Saya kesal kerana risalah fitnah kononnya saya menjadi pencetus peristiwa 13 Mei 1969 masih disebarkan tanpa sebarang tindakan tegas daripada pihak berkuasa. Malah sikap tidak serius Dato Abdul Ghani Othman, calon BN yang menjadi saingan saya bagi Parlimen Gelang Patah, membayangkan seolah-olah beliau tidak peduli dengan kempen kotor yang dilakukan oleh pelampau kaum di Johor.

Saya telah beberapa kali meminta Dato Ghani beliau supaya bersama-sama dengan saya untuk memastikan kempen pilihanraya benar-benar bersih dan tidak dicemarkan oleh penipuan dan pembohongan. Sebagai bekas Menteri Besar yang lama berkhidmat, beliau tentu faham betapa pentingnya untuk mengamalkan kempen PRU yang bersih.

Fitnah 13 Mei terhadap saya bukan sahaja kejam dan keji di sepanjang kempen PRU ini tetapi ia juga akan memberi kesan buruk kepada hubungan antara kaum selepas selesai PRU. Ini adalah kerana ia berasaskan pembohongan dan penipuan semata-mata. Dato Ghani Othman perlu lebih berani, tegas dan serius untuk menolak kempen politik kotor ini.

Malah Dato Ghani sebagai seorang pemimpin yang sederhana serta bijak dalam bidang akademik sepatutnya lebih sedar tentang sejarah Malaysia. Beliau sepatutnya tahu bahawa saya tidak terlibat sama sekali dengan peristiswa 13 Mei 1969. Read the rest of this entry »


Emulate patriotic and public-spirited Ahmad Habib to come forward to save Malaysia and debunk dangerous and despicable lies

Ahmad Habib, the “RealSoldier”

On 4th August last month, I had issued the first of my categorical denial of the preposterous claim which had appeared on the official Facebook page of the May 13 movie, Tanda Putra, that I had urinated on the flagpole in front of the then Selangor Mentri Besar’s residence provoking the May 13 riots in 1969.

The facebook had carried a photo portraying me being manhandled, with the caption:

“Lim Kit Siang telah kencing di bawah tiang bendera Selangor yang terpacak di rumah menteri besar Selangor ketika itu, Harun Idris, (Lim Kit Siang had urinated at the foot of the flagpole bearing the Selangor flag at the then Selangor MB’s Harun Idris’ house)”

The photo was posted in the album in the Facebook titled ‘Peristiwa-peristiwa yang dimuatkan di dalam filem ini’ (Events depicted in this movie).

Although the photo and caption have since been removed from the movie’s official page, I have a screenshot of the earlier posting. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Tanda Putera’ doesn’t unite but divides

— The Malaysian Insider
Aug 15, 2012

AUG 15 — The jury is already out on “Tanda Putera” even before the Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba film has hit the silver screen.

From the little scraps of information gleaned from one preview, the script, Shuhaimi herself and chatter within the crew, the movie presents one view of the May 13, 1969 race riot.

A view that is not shared by many, especially those who feel it is an inaccurate portrayal of events on that blood-spilled day in Kuala Lumpur.

And just like the riot, the movie has become divisive, not unifying. Read the rest of this entry »


British role in the distortion of Malaysian history

— Centre for Policy Initiatives
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 20, 2012

APRIL 20 — We are reproducing excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian exposing attempts by the departing British government to cover up records of embarrassing state crimes carried out during the final years of its empire, including in colonial Malaya.

The newspaper reports concern the discovery of sequestered records that have put the British colonial authorities in a scandalous and shameful light. These include records on the conduct of the war against the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), and the involvement of British troops and police in various atrocities and abuses, including the Batang Kali massacre.

More interestingly, these revealing records acknowledge the nationalist and anti-colonial nature of the insurgency carried out by the MCP. Meanwhile other damning records had been purposely scrubbed or destroyed so that it might appear as if Her Majesty’s government had scrupulously kept her hands clean and ethical standards unsullied during the days when Britannia ruled the seas.

The newly unearthed papers await the attention of a new generation of Malaysian scholars and researchers despite the shocking scale of the operation to purge the colonial files, and the extent of the British Foreign Office’s deliberate erasure of history. Read the rest of this entry »


Our school children as sacrificial lambs

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee | 1 November 2011

During the past year, there have been three controversies arising from regressive policy decisions of the Ministry of Education which have set our educational system backwards. The three controversies revolve around

  1. The teaching of Science and Mathematics for Fourth Form students in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English

  2. The use of the Interlok book as a compulsory text in the schools

  3. The decision to make history a compulsory subject as well as a pass requirement for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)

All three – though simmering for some years now – are rapidly coming to a head during the tenure of the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as the Minister of Education.
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Remembering 500 years of colonialism

— Tommy Thomas
The Malaysian Insider
Oct 05, 2011

OCT 5 — The Malay Peninsula was colonised 500 years ago this year, and its significance in our history should be marked in some way by universities and scholars. We should be having public seminars and academic conferences to remember and discuss this aspect of our history in its 500th anniversary. I am surprised that nearly half a year has passed, and no university has publicly announced any such initiative.

Remembering that the Malay Peninsula was colonised half a millennium ago is one way to remind the post-independence generation of Malaysians to be grateful for Merdeka. It is critical to teach the present generation about the dangers of empire and colonialism so that we can celebrate what independence means and pay tribute to the people who fought for it. Parts of the Malay Peninsula have only experienced 54 years of self-governance since 1511 when the Portuguese invaded and colonised Malacca. Soon after the founding of Malacca by Parameswara in 1403, it rapidly developed into a major entrepot in Southeast Asia, with traders from the Indonesian archipelago, China, India and Arabia crowding its marketplace. Admiral Cheng Ho led the then greatest naval expedition to Malacca and could have easily taken Malacca by force. The Chinese did not do that; instead, they were content to allow Malacca to govern itself through the Malacca Sultanate. Hence, throughout the 15th century, no foreign power colonised Malacca. Read the rest of this entry »


Continuity and discontinuity: Prof Zainal Kling and Malaysian history

Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Sept 13, 2011

SEPT 13 — It is not my objective to argue the historical facts of this issue, to take sides.

On the facts, Farish Noor and Art Harun are clearly right and Prof Zainal Kling, however ingenious the hair-splitting technicalities that he invokes, is wrong.

But that is not the end, or even the heart, of the matter.

We must ask, what is the purpose, and what are the practical effects, of Prof Zainal now making his seemingly fanciful argument?

Prof Zainal’s argument is simply wrong, marvellously eccentric and absurdly counterfactual historically. But it is wonderfully clever, cunning and “very strategic”, politically. Read the rest of this entry »


Toying with history again in Malaysia

-Farish A. Noor
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 12, 2011

SEPT 12 — In all honesty, I really have many other things to do than waste my time commenting on what has to be one of the most inane and counter-productive debates in Malaysian politics today. Yet as the tide of silliness gains strength all around us, I feel it necessary to add my two-sen’s worth to this debate before I get back to my real work which happens to be teaching and research, so here it goes…

It appears that some academics in Malaysia now claim that Malaya (as it was then called) was never colonised by the British after all — or at least that the Malay kingdoms were never colonies in the fullest sense of the word, but rather protectorates. This is, literally, correct and it has to be said that the legal-political status of these states was precisely that: protectorates rather than colonies. But we need to raise some crucial questions at this point in order to flesh out the debate a little further, and try to understand how and why such an arrangement came about in the first place.

Firstly, it ought to be noted that the use of the term “protectorate” rather than “colony” offered (then, in the 19th century) a fig-leaf of respectability to what can only be described as a mad scramble for power and domination by the British who were not satisfied with the acquisition of their outright colonies in Penang, Dindings, Malacca and Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »


Revision of M’sian history should not be one-sided

By Sulok Tawie | 11 September 2011
The Sun Daily

KUCHING (Sept 11, 2011): Sarawak Teachers’ Union president William Ghani Bina said today that any revision of the school’s history textbook must be to correct the one-sided history on the formation of Malaysia.

“It is important that the new history textbook highlight the correct version of the formation of Malaysia,” he said when commenting on a statement by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin that the history syllabus for schools was to be revised following a disclosure of new findings.

Ghani noted that the formation of Malaysia had not been put into the right perspective as it did not indicate clearly how Malaysia was formed.
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Historical Reconstruction Again?

By Farish A Noor
5 September 2011

And so, for reasons that are both complex and irritating, the past is being dragged into the present yet again; while we Malaysians bury our heads in the sand and neglect the future. By now most of us will be familiar with yet another controversy-in-a-teacup that has grabbed the headlines: namely the question of whether the events that took place during the attack on the police outpost in Bukit Kepong ought to be remembered as a historic event in the Malayan struggle for independence.

Unfortunately for all parties concerned it seems that the issue has been hijacked by politics and politicians yet again, as is wont to happen in Malaysia on a daily basis almost. More worrying still is how the manifold aspects of this event have been taken up selectively by different parties and actors to further their own arguments, while neglecting to look at the wider context against which the event took place. It is almost impossible to be truly objective when it comes to the writing and reading of history, and perhaps we can do away with that pretense. But for now perhaps some marginal notes on the matter might come in useful to clear the air a bit. Read the rest of this entry »