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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What to make of EO6′s link to Bersih?

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:44 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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In 1974, Malaysia and China established diplomatic ties. There is a famous picture of the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, Abdul Razak Hussein, shaking hands with Chairman Mao Zedong, the Communist revolutionary and strategist who established the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Chairman Mao and the Communist Party of China are widely known to be the inspiration and source of support for the Communist Party of Malaya.
In 2009, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met with President Hu Jintao of the Communist Party of China on cooperation in trade and investment.
Every year, representatives of the Communist Party of Cuba are invited to and attend the Umno general assembly in Kuala Lumpur.

Mukhriz Mahathir is the president of the Friends of Cuba Association in Malaysia, which was set up to enhance bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and communist Cuba
A Vietnamese delegation headed by the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Vietnam was warmly welcomed at the Umno headquarters in January 2010.
Going by the irrationality and paranoia that has characterised the government’s thinking and actions over the past one month, all the individuals in these situations should be charged with waging war against the Agong or, if that charge is untenable, then held without trial for 60 days, and later, for multiples of two years under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).
Their association with communist leaders or anything communist should be interpreted as trying to revive and ‘deify’ the communist ideology, without a thought, as de facto Law Minister Nazri laments, for ‘Malaysia’s security forces (who) had fought, died or were maimed by the guerrilla units (of the Communist Party of Malaya).’
And such action would be justified for, as Nazri moans, “… how to explain to soldiers and soldiers’ families they died for nothing?”
Such has been the misfortune of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia activists who were held in solitary confinement until the evening of last Friday – for having in their possession half a dozen T-shirts bearing the images of Che Guevara, Rashid Maidin, Chin Peng, Abdullah CD and Suriani Abdullah.
All of these people, except for Che Guevara, are members of the banned Communist party of Malaya (CPM) with which the government signed the Haadyai Peace Accord in 1989, which ended the armed struggle of the CPM.
T-shirts as weapons
These T-shirts became the ‘weapons’ used by the police to justify a seven-day remand, at the end of which the PSM 6 were released from the original charge, and rearrested on a new charge that exposed the true motive of the government in initially ordering the fantastic Section 122 Penal Code charge.
The EO notification paper revealed that the police considered the six to be the prime movers of Bersih 2.0, which was deemed a security threat, and thus had to be locked up. It was clear that the government was using the PSM 6 to warn and deter people from participating in the Bersih 2.0 rally.
Surely, police intelligence cannot be that stupid. Though we think it is a huge compliment to be seen as prime movers of Bersih 2.0, the truth is that the Bersih 2.0 organising committee is restricted to NGOs, and the PSM as a political party, is merely a supporter.
Anyhow, the now historical July 9 has come and gone. Despite the government terrorising the citizens, and creating an emergency situation in Kuala Lumpur, 50,000 brave and patriotic Malaysians made their way to the rally.
What reason remained, then, for the continued denial of the six their freedom? If initially the government denied the PSM 6 their freedom with the use of taking illegal and criminal actions, holding them until July 29 and using them as scapegoats for its political ends proves their release proves it wrong.
To resort to the communist bogey to legitimise the illegal and inhuman detention of the six is an act of desperation by people who are willing to clutch at straws to justify their actions and remain in power.
Many times in the past the government has used the draconian ISA to put away loyal Malaysian citizens on charges of being ‘subversives’ and ‘communist terrorists’
In reality these political prisoners have only been fearless critics of corruption, nepotism and overall bad governance, racist divide and rule policies, and the unfair distribution of the nation’s wealth, all of which have become the dominant features of the BN government over their 54 years in power, and especially in the last 30 years.
It would do the BN good to acknowledge that the communist bogey use may be over and therefore may not have the magical effect it once had. We live in the era of the Internet, where we can only complain that we don’t have enough time to read the infinite amount of material available.
To the credit of the government, not only can we access material on communism and the outlawed CPM on the Internet, but also in the bookshops where books are available in both Malay and English on the topic.
These are largely memoirs by or about the veteran, aging leadership of the CPM, now living in southern Thailand, and the Malayan (including Singaporean) left. These include the memoirs of Abdullah CD, Rashid Maidin, Shamsiah Fakeh, Ahmad Boestaman and also, Chin Peng’s My Side of History.
People who read will discern that contrary to what is taught in our history syllabus, and what has been ingrained in the minds of the Malaysian population, there is another aspect to our history.
The CPM was formed in 1930 and from the start they were opposed to British colonialism. During the Second World War, when the British were driven out of Malaya by the Japanese, the CPM’s Malayan People’s Anti Japanese Army (MPAJA) which was trained and equipped by the British formed the only resistance to the Japanese throughout the Occupation.
When the British returned after World War II, they honoured Chin Peng with the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal and two British war medals for the defence of Malaya.
But the CPM quickly fell out of favour with the British when the latter realised that the CPM wanted a truly independent Malaya, with the British out as well.
The British outlawed the CPM and declared an emergency that lasted from 1948 through independence in 1957 to 1960. This was a period of protracted warfare and casualties.
The implementation of the Briggs Plan in 1950 deprived the CPM members of supplies and sustenance and it began its retreat to the Thai border. In 1957 Umno, along with other parties in the Alliance, was given the mantle of ruling independent Malaya.
This information is easily accessible. BN government propaganda has painted the CPM completely black, and tried to erase it from our history. Available books and Internet articles either concur with the government or present an opposite or mixed view.
The fact is the CPM existed and featured prominently in the independence struggle prior to 1946 when Umno was formed, and was recognized by the British until they became a threat to the latter’s vested interests.
We don’t think reading available communist literature or having T-shirts with the likeness of Rashid Maidin or Chin Peng makes one a ‘communist terrorist’.
PSM activists often and openly wear T-shirts depicting the faces of a range of revolutionaries – Che Guevara, Bhagat Singh, Subhas Chandra Bose, Lenin and Chavez – whose idealism and courage are taken as an inspiration.
These T-shirts with the images of CPM leaders are a recent acquisition, and by PSM members from the younger generation who are unfamiliar with the explosive potential of such material at the hands of the government should they choose to use it.
The possession of these T-shirts certainly does not imply support for the CPM’s method of armed struggle to achieve change in modern Malaysia.
To impute such motives to the PSM is malicious, done in bad faith to silence the PSM and smear its name, especially when the government is fully aware of the kind and method of work of the PSM.

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