Mohammad Sabu of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party has recently talked about Mat Indera who fought against the police during the Bukit Kepong incident. His claimed that Mat Indera was unfairly treated in history and we ought to relook at the incident.
The incident is one of the most intense fighting during the communist insurgency in Malaya. In history we are always taught who's the good guy and who are the bad guys. That the communists are always the bad guys and the police are the good guys. So in our hearts, we have been taught to exalt those who fought the communists and condemn the communists. In reality, sides involved in a conflict aren't as simple as we thought.
But many may have forgotten that Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) consisted of communists. They were one of the parties who fought against cruel Japanese occupation. But after the Japanese were driven off, it's the same communists who gave our forefathers a hard time.
After the British returned, the communist wanted to obtain independence by military action. You may be tempted to judge them with the standard you use today. But suppose you were living in that age, you did not have the benefit of foresight, all you could only do was to fight for whatever you believe in. Ultimately, the side which prevail will have the privilege to write their version of history.
Didn't the communist wanted to "liberate" the country out of bondage of colonialism? So they took up arms. But for the other side, they knew that the communists were disrupting peace on the people, so they joined the police force and entered Her Majesty's payroll. In short, the communist took up arms believing they should liberate Malaya but the British feared the spread of communism and took actions to stop it. If you were one of those people living at that time, there is no right or wrong answer for joining either side! But do you know what's in these people's mind? The communists were really fighting against colonialism and the other side was fighting for peace. To really understand history you must put on the glasses that sees things as they happen. You can't see them with your naked eye that judges by the standard today.
At the end of the day, we were taught to commend those who fought against the communists. I reiterate again that things aren't as simple. What I'll tell you - the police who fought, love peace and the people, but they had to serve with the British; the communists believed in independence and liberation and fought against British assets. In some sort of way, the communists were fighters for independence. What Mat Sabu has said appear to offend many, but it took intelligence to understand what he really meant!
Mat Indera gained prominence for his role in the Bukit Kepong assault. He remained in Communist Party of Malaya to fight for independence militarily. He's a fighter for independence in his heart though he didn't get to write his version of history.
Likewise, I can tell you about Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. Read Acts of the Apostles from the Bible to know about Paul - all you need is just to be able to read in English. This person preached the Gospel to non-Jews (Gentiles) and converted many, but do you realise that Paul was also the same person who approved the stoning of Stephen (the first martyr) and persecuted the early Christians? How can a person who converted many Christians also persecuted many Christians?
Initially, Paul was the "bad guy" (antagonist). Later, after an encounter with Jesus Christ. he became a "good guy" (protagonist). However, if we simply call Paul of Tarsus, Apostle to the Gentiles as a "bad guy turned good guy", that's an embarrassing oversimplification. So, the question is, why does God choose a "bad guy" to preach the Gospel?
Now, pretend that you can see through people's heart and know what Paul thinks. Paul is a Jew and belonged to the sect of Pharisees. He wanted to serve God wholeheartedly. But the Pharisees hated Jesus and his followers so much simply because their influence on the community will be diminished (read: Jesus performed many miracles). Therefore, the Pharisees persecuted Jesus' followers at every opportunity. Paul was such a zealous person, loyal to his faith that he carried out the persecution. If you want to know why things happen you'll need to read the Gospels followed by Acts to know the full story.
Back to the story - we knew that Paul devastated the early Christians but why God choose him to preach to the Gentiles? He's actually a man after God's heart! So, Paul encountered Jesus while on his way to Damascus, the rest is history.
So, do we see Paul as the totally great person who spread Christianity to non-Jews? Likewise do you regard Mat Indera as the villain just because he was with Communist Party of Malaya? Treat historical figures fairly according to the circumstances they were set in!
So, UMNO wants to claim all credit for independence of Malaya. The rest has been forgotten out of the picture or have their role downplayed. But it was the communists who set the date earlier because British was compelled to hand over in bad economic circumstances after a major war. The UMNO-MCA-MIC alliance indeed have a big credit for independence - but no party can claim total credit.
UMNO resorted to this antic of smearing Mat Sabu and PAS for this little thing. What do I have to say? UMNO is a patient lying on his deathbed!