There is no escape from history and the bizarre opinions from people who really should know better.
It was certainly news to read that Malaya was never a British colony but only a “protectorate”, as declared by Prof Dr Zainal Kling, a member of the 1,500-strong National Professors’ Council.
He argued that Britain held administrative powers, controlled the money and exploited the country’s natural resources but did not infringe Malay sovereignty in the states – except in the Straits Settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore.
Since then, there has been a deluge of comments against his views, along with the usual gnawing doubts about the state of our education system and more so the people who are supposed to be leading it.
But even the country’s most notable historian, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Khim supported Dr Zainal, stressing that from a legal point of view, Malaya was never colonised.
The British, he said, took part in the administration of the Malay states as a result of treaties with the Rulers.
Dr Khoo said only those born in the Straits Settlements were considered British subjects, while those born in the Malay states were not. (Take note, Hindraf).
So, according to our sage professors, it seems that in the legal sense we were not colonised when sadly, in effect we were.
As former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohmad has said sarcastically:
“The British did not advise, they gave orders.
“The English language is such that the advisers rule and the rulers advise.”
Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, a research fellow at the Islamic Renaissance Front explained it vividly in his article in Harakah.
“Colonialism involves the exploitation of wealth of a nation – where one country becomes subjugated by the power and authority of another.
“If a country is browbeaten in such a manner, its sovereignty is already violated in effect, no matter what the legal documents say.
“So, Malay sovereignty was not protected under the Pangkor Treaty of 1874 because it gave the British a legal mandate to advise and interfere in local matters.”
As Ahmad Fuad rightly pointed out, sovereignty basically means power; and before independence, it was the British who held absolute power and control of the country.
The debate over the semantics of “colonisation” is of course, a spin-off from the controversy sparked by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu.
The Pokok Sena MP reportedly said during a ceramah in Penang recently that a group of guerillas led by Mat Indera, who killed 25 policemen and their families in the Bukit Kepong tragedy in 1950, were the real heroes because they were fighting against the British.
He also allegedly said that Umno founder Datuk Onn Jaafar and the country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman do not deserve to be called independence leaders because they were British officers.
Therefore it is not entirely unexpected that he has been hit by another controversy even as the firestorm is still raging over his insensitive remarks that the communists were the real heroes of the Bukit Kepong massacre.
A video titled “Skandal Seks Mat Sabu” has made its way into the Internet and is set to shake the party.
The video contains some very sexy conversation between a man and a woman, whom the commentator in the video claimed to be Mat Sabu and Normah Halim, the woman with whom he was caught for khalwat in 1994 in Kota Baru. At the time of the incident, Normah was married to Bukhari Noor, a handsome and wealthy businessman from Melor.
Mat Sabu and Normah were caught in a hotel room but were acquitted because two of the witnesses gave conflicting accounts of the hotel room’s number in which they were caught for khalwat.
These two incidents have PAS scrambling and spending precious time defending their deputy president. How long can they keep this up?
The moral of the story? Let’s not start getting down into gutter politics by changing our national history.
We are Malaysians. Period. We are a melting pot of rich traditions and inherited cultures and heritage of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Orang Asli, Eurasian, etc which we must appreciate and continue to observe with pride and honor.
We should be concentrating on what unites us in common instead of following Mat Sabu-tage’s modus operandi of blowing up issues on what differentiates us to gain political mileage. That’s just plain pathetic.
Parts of the above post are from Veera Pandiyan’s column in the Star