‘Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah did not exist’

Historian Prof Khoo Kay Kim says that the Ming dynasty’s records do not mention the princess or the famous warrior. He also points out that early Malaysian history is based on stories.

(Free Malaysia Today) – According to history, Chinese Princess Hang Li Po was the fifth wife of Malaccan Sultan Mansur Shah who reigned from 1456-1477.

During this period, there was also the legend of the Sultan’s five famous warriors, Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu. It is a tale of friendship and loyalty, which every Malaysian had heard.

However, renowned historian Prof Khoo Kay Kim told radio station BFM this morning that Hang Li Po and the five warriors never existed.

Speaking to FMT later, he explained: “The Chinese Ming dynasty of the 16th century does not have records on them. These are very well preserved records.”

The KDU college chancellor also said he had read the writings of two Western historians and another prominent historian Wang Gung Wu on the Ming records which did not mention the characters either.

“History must be based on empirical records. Historians must only accept written records,” he said, adding that empirical records available here were at best “skanky”.

“There is no evidence in the Malaysian records,” he said. “These are stories. Early Malaysian history is based on stories.”

“We have had many stories. Only recently historians have taken the trouble to research the early Malaysian history period. A lot of stories accepted in the past cannot be proven,” he added.