Defiant Mat Sabu raises more questions on distorted Merdeka

(Harakah Daily) – “Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror, why are they so afraid of me? Wealthy I am not, influential I am also not,” said PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu in his trademark humour, at a forum on the late Muhammad Indera in Kuala Lumpur last night.

L-R: Mat Sabu, Hishamuddin and Dr Aziz

Mat Sabu was reacting to the barrage of attacks on him from the pro-UMNO media, over a statement he made on August 21 urging Malaysians to revisit historical narrations which he said were lopsided and had political agenda.

“For 12 days and 12 nights I have been under attack. Since 27 August until today. For every half-an-hour news slot, 10 minutes were dedicated to bashing me. ,” he told the packed audience at the forum held at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, which were joined by constitutional law expert Dr Abdul Aziz Bari and activist blogger Hishamuddin Rais.

On claims of public anger against him following his remarks, Mat Sabu said such was the goal of UMNO’s mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia in distorting his speech and calling him a communist.

“Some ask that I be stripped of my citizenship, some call for me to be detained under ISA, some even want me to be thrown into the South China Sea. All kinds of threats,” Mat Sabu added, referring to a spate of reactions from UMNO leaders.

Britain’s soft spot for UMNO leaders

At the forum, Mat Sabu reiterated that he would not budge from his statement in praise of the late Mat Indera (right), who masterminded an attack on a police station in Bukit Kepong killing scores of police personnel serving the colonial government.

Mat Sabu said that in 1950, the policemen in Bukit Kepong were British policemen.

“To the police, there is no need to panic. The divider is 31 August 1957, the attack on Bukit Kepong was done before Merdeka. The police officers then were British police,” he explained.

Mat Sabu also reminded the audience that the British had always banned leftist groups in the independence struggle, but had a soft spot for UMNO because its leaders were friendly to the colonialists.

He said due to years of official historical distortions, the people had lost interest in celebrating Merdeka.

“The celebration has turned into an UMNO event. If they aired the portraits of Burhanuddin Helmi, Ahmad Boestamam, Mat Kilau, then people would be more interested to celebrate Merdeka,” he said, referring to other anti-British leaders sidelined by government-recognised history text books.

‘Bukit Kepong lies finally exposed’

Hishamuddin meanwhile said Mat Sabu came under intense attack because UMNO’s ‘lies’ on the history of the independence had been “torn to pieces”.

“For UMNO, (Bukit Kepong) has become their core struggle. Every year they will show Bukit Kepong. Now UMNO and Utusan are afraid because their lies have been exposed and this core has finally been ruined,” said Hishamuddin, while expressing admiration for Mat Sabu’s courage in the face of the media assault.

He added that UMNO had always attempted to hoodwink the people with  its distorted version of history.

For Dr Aziz, Mat Indera was a freedom fighter and not a traitor, saying this was proven by historical facts as well as testimony by Mat Indera’s kins.

“To date, there has been no concrete statement denying the argument,” he said.