Mat Indera & Mat Silam

Khoo Kay Peng

A debate is raging between Umno and PAS politicians on the role of Mat Indera. Was Mat Indera a hero or a ruffian?

Mat Indera played a prominent role in the 1950 attack on the Bukit Kepong police station. The incident was eventually immortalised in a movie played by the legendary P Ramlee. In the movie, the policemen were portrayed as heroes who fought against the communists.

Mat Indera was allegedly a communist cadre. A book by the Johor government in 2004 names insurgent Mat Indera as a freedom fighter and lists him as a celebrated Johor hero.

Who really is Mat Indera? Apparently, both Umno and PAS want a debate on this issue.

Both parties idolise Mat Silam (historical past) more than what’s current and urgent. It is a fact that politicians and their inability to move forward and take the society through a quantum leap are to be blamed for a lack of vision, vigour and good ideas in the country.

Both PAS and Umno should start a more poignant debate and discourse on what form and shade the country should take in the next three to five years. How can Malaysia recapture its lustre?

I am sure politicians in this country should be contented by keeping silent on an allegation made by an Indonesian envoy that Malaysia has lost its lustre.

Both Khairy Jamaluddin and Mat Sabu should put their talents to use by debating on the best ideas and solutions to address the country’s economic woes and its fading competitiveness.

It is difficult to accept that politicians are so keen to debate the past but allow the future to slip away from our grasp.

Contentious issues that refuse to go away

Most of the contentious issues that refused to go away, such as race supremacy, basic constitutional freedom and nationhood, are directly caused by the refusal of our politicians to accept a steady change and evolution of a society.

There is little surprise why some ethnic communities are still being considered as migrants – after being here for more than 500 years.

The social lenses they used to view interracial relations, nation-building, fundamental rights and governance are causing stagnation and a lack of direction in the country. Malaysia is a nation without a soul.