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Monday, August 30, 2010

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Actually, Umno was not the only one who fought for independence. And they were not the first. But we are told that Umno was the only one as if there were no others or no others before Umno. And they even say that Umno was forced to take up the fight for independence because the Rulers had sold out the country to the British.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I wrote an article called Sedition and the first 'Royal ISA detainee' on 11 May 2008 to commemorate Umno’s 62nd Anniversary. What I want to bring to your attention is the part that I wrote as follows:

In 1938, ten years before the introduction of the Sedition Act 1948, Tengku Musa Ghiathuddin was bypassed in favour of Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah, the Sixth Sultan of Selangor, on the insistence of the British. Tengku Musa was opposed to British intervention in Selangor and his struggle for ‘Merdeka’, many years before Umno was formed, saw His Highness ‘evicted’ from the Selangor throne.

You can read the rest of the article below.

What has history got to say about Musa Ghiathuddin Riayat Shah of Selangor? Well, Wikipedia has this to say:

The independent-thinking of Tengku Musa galled the British resident T.S. Adams, who recommended the dismissal of Tengku Musa as Crown Prince. Despite the pleas of his father Sultan Sulaiman, Tengku Musa was disinherited as Raja Muda in 1933. The reason given was allegedly "personal misbehaviour". His full brother, Tengku Badar Shah, born in 1895, was also passed over by the British authorities, who appointed a half-brother Tengku Alam Shah, as Raja Muda instead (later Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-Haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah).

You can read the full write-up here: Musa Ghiathuddin Riayat Shah of Selangor(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musa_Ghiatuddin_Riayat_Shah_of_Selangor).

Tomorrow we shall be celebrating Merdeka Day and we are going to be reminded about Umno’s ‘struggles’ and ‘sacrifices’. But no mention will be made about people like Tengku Musa who opposed the British and also struggled for Merdeka and thereby lost his throne plus was exiled to an island in the Indian Ocean until a few months before he died. In fact, he was allowed home only because he was dying.

Tengku Musa is my ‘role model’. He opposed the British and sacrificed his throne and freedom in his opposition to colonial rule. But he is never mentioned. He is not even remembered. What is usually mentioned is that Umno fought for independence although Umno came many years later.

Actually, Umno was not the only one who fought for independence. And they were not the first. But we are told that Umno was the only one as if there were no others or no others before Umno. And they even say that Umno was forced to take up the fight for independence because the Rulers had sold out the country to the British.

Yes, there were Rulers who did compromise with the British. But this is only because the British put these people on the throne and those who opposed the British were denied the throne. Would not Rulers who owe their throne to the British not compromise with their ‘masters’?

Umno has its version of history. I have mine. And I relate my version of history according to what really happened, not according to how Umno would like us believe happened.

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Sedition and the first 'Royal ISA detainee'

In honour of Umno’s 62nd Anniversary today, allow me to educate you a bit on some of our forgotten history and the unsung heroes of the fight for Malaya’s independence from Britain. Ironically, the Sedition Act 1948 was a British instrument to stifle this struggle for Merdeka and to silence critics to British rule.

“I recall the statement made by the First Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, when requested by a foreign emissary to sack me from the office of the Prime Minister of Malaya,” said the First Prime Minister andBapa Merdeka, Tunku Abdul Rahman, on 23 January 1978.

“’Oh, I cannot, for he is appointed by the people and not by me,” replied His Majesty, “On the other hand, he can sack me.’”

“If this system were to change and the Rulers were given the sovereign right and prerogative to rule by the DIVINE RIGHT of kings,” added the Tunku, “then I fear it would be only a question of time before the whole institution was scrapped.”

During the Constitutional Crisis about a decade later, the then Deputy Prime Minister, Ghafar Baba, said that it is not unlawful to criticise the Rulers. That does not tantamount to sedition. You may not, however, propose that the Monarchy be abolished and for Malaysia to be turned into a Republic, as that would constitute a crime under the Sedition Act.

There was a time, though, when criticising a Ruler was definitely a crime. That was of course 500 years or so ago in England. But that was the time when Kings were considered ‘personally’ appointed by God and to criticise the Monarch is the same as criticising God. And if you criticise God then you will be burned alive at the stake.

In 1946, the Malays rose up to oppose the British-mooted Malayan Union. With that saw the birth of Umno the same year. As the Umno leaders crisscrossed the length and breadth of Malaya to rally for support, the British decided to introduce the centuries-old Sedition Act that would make it a crime to oppose or criticise the British Colonial Government.

Royalty was not immune from the wrath of the British. In 1938, ten years before the introduction of the Sedition Act 1948, Tengku Musa Ghiathuddin was bypassed in favour of Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah, the Sixth Sultan of Selangor, on the insistence of the British. Tengku Musa was opposed to British intervention in Selangor and his struggle for ‘Merdeka’, many years before Umno was formed, saw His Highness ‘evicted’ from the Selangor throne.

When the Japanese invaded Malaya in 1942, my grandfather, Raja Sir Tun Uda, smuggled Sultan Hisamuddin to safety and hid His Highness in the jungle. My grandfather, who was both cousin and brother-in-law to His Highness, then came out from the jungle to negotiate for safe passage for the Sultan. After extracting a guarantee from the Japanese that the Sultan would not be harmed, my grandfather brought His Highness out of hiding.

The Japanese, however, would not allow Sultan Hisamuddin, who they regarded as a British lackey and not the rightful heir to the throne, to take back the throne. Instead, the Japanese installed Sultan Musa Ghiathuddin Riayat Shah as the new (Seventh) Sultan according to proper protocol and tradition (which means Sultan Musa would now be the legal and rightful Sultan of Selangor).

My grandfather was then arrested and brought to the Japanese headquarters (what today is known as Carcosa Sri Negara) where he was to be executed by pancung kepala (beheading). Sultan Musa rushed to the Japanese headquarters to ‘witness’ the execution and just as the Japanese soldier raised the Samurai sword, and before it could separate my grandfather’s head from his shoulders, Sultan Musa dropped to his knees and begged that they spare my grandfather’s life.

The Japanese were taken aback. A Ruler is ‘God’ in the Japanese tradition and for ‘God’ to go down on his knees and beg was a sort of ‘culture shock’, to put it mildly. My grandfather’s life was invariably spared and he spent the war years assisting the Sultan in ensuring that the people of Selangor at least had enough food to eat. Sultan Musa, of course, had to ‘collaborate’ with the Japanese and ‘abuse’ his ‘God’ status in ensuring that the people of Selangor were spared the ravages of war.

When the British came back in 1945, they sacked Sultan Musa and reinstalled Sultan Hisamuddin onto the throne of Selangor. For ‘collaborating’ with the Japanese, Sultan Musa was sent into exile to the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. That was in the days before the introduction of the Internal Security Act and the Kamunting Detention Center. In that sense, my grandfather, Sultan Musa, was the first ‘Royal ISA detainee’ back in 1945 (so I was NOT the first Royal ISA detainee).

Ten years later, Sultan Musa was brought back to Kelang so that he could die at home. His Highness died soon after that and now lies buried in the Royal Mausoleum in Kelang alongside my father, grandmother, grandfather and scores of grandparents, uncles, aunties and cousins. Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah died in 1960 and was succeeded by Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah, the late Agong.

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