I have been asked by some readers to comment on the recent statement made by PAS Deputy President Mat Sabu concerning the attack on the Bukit Kepong police station by communist terrorist that killed 25 policemen back in 1950; seven years prior to independence.
Mat Sabu was alleged to have said that the policemen that lost their lives were not heroes, but it was one religious teacher named Muhammad Indera (subsequently sentenced to death by hanging at Taiping prison on 30th Jan 1953) who corroborated with the terrorist was the acclaimed hero. Mat Sabu also alleged that UMNO founder Dato Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman (the nation’s first Prime Minister) were British officers then, insinuating that both were not ‘the fighters for independence’ as history had depicted them to be.
Interestingly, Muhammad Indera who hailed from Batu Pahat, Johor is acclaimed a Malay freedom fighter (not necessarily a hero) who fought against British colonialism, and is documented as such by Yayasan Warisan Johor; an agency of the Johor government. Also, no mention of heroism was made of the 200 odd terrorist that attacked the police station on that fateful night. I would call them simply murderers and nothing less.
The statement by Mat Sabu has caused a media frenzy in the mainstream media as well as the alternative media for almost a week now (don’t know when it is going to cease), and the public has been continuously fed with comments, arguments and statements coming from politicians from both the political divide, even from a retired senior military officer to historians, retired members of the security forces and even from family members of the dead policemen. UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin too does not want to be left out in the fray over this issue and has offered to challenge Mat Sabu in a debate that I know will not materialize.
I may disappoint my readers if I say that I am sick and tired at reading all the comments, arguments and statements made by various people concerning what Mat Sabu is alleged to have said. It is this media frenzy that sickens me for I think there are much more critical issues affecting our nation and its people that require urgent attention. An issue as to who is more a hero, and who is a lesser hero is of little significant to me. I see that there is no winner or loser over this issue, nor does a debate bring about any meaningful gain to the ordinary people. If indeed there is a serious historical error in the case of the Bukit Kepong incident, I think our historians would be the best people to consult and to comment. Certainly, Mat Sabu, Khairy Jamaluddin, Mahuyiddin Yasin or some obscured retired officers of the security forces are not the competent authority to make statements on the incident; and I included.
Now talking about heroes, Malaysians have a funny way of determining who is a hero and who isn't. For members of the security forces, they have certain procedures and guidelines to follow before one can be considered for a gallantry award. Today, there are many recipients of such an award and they are not called heroes; certainly not national heroes. It is merely recognition of an act of bravery in the face of the enemy or adversity, and by this simple definition, even Muhammad Indera cannot be called a hero; rather he was merely a freedom fighter against a colonial power. And in this regards, Mat Sabu and all others are wrong if they were to claim that Muhammad Indera was a Malay hero.
Now, what about the fallen Bernama cameraman Noramfaizul Mohd Nor who was shot dead in Somalia and was pronounced an instant National Hero by the government recently. Will Noramfaizul be considered for a gallantry award this Merdeka Day? Or will he just be remembered for having lost his life for some 'unjustifiable reason'? I just want to leave the answering to my dear readers.
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