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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rosli Dhoby a terrorist too?

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:54 AM | | Best Blogger Tips

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Going by UMNO's argument that those who attacked security personnel serving British colonial masters in 1950 were 'traitors', Sarawak's renowned freedom fighter Rosli Dhoby who assassinated the British-appointed second governor Sir Duncan Stewart in 1949, could also end up in the 'traitors' category.
This was the response from Sarawak PAS's deputy commissioner Jofri Jaraiee to the intense debate over the remark by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu urging Malaysians not to believe British-friendly historic texts, particularly the version on the Bukit Kepong police station attack led by Muhammad Indera.
“He (Rosli) is a Melanau. Rosli was found guilty for stabbing second British governor, Sir Duncan Stewart, with a poisonous knife in Sibu on December 3, 1949,” explained Jofri, who heads PAS's Miri division.

Rosli, said Jofri, was forced to admit to the 'crime' upon the request of his mother, who was virtually threatened at gunpoint.
“So ponder this, who was the real evil during that period?” asked Jofri.
Following the end of the Brooke Rajah dynasty, Sarawak became a Crown Colony and was subjected to direct rule from London. This incensed the locals who had earlier thought the end of the white dynasty would herald a new government by Sarawakians themselves. The opposition against the British move led to the creation of 'Rukun 13', a radical organisation comprising thirteen youths from the Sibu Malay Youth Movement, including Rosli Dhoby, who joined the group at the age of 17. The next year, following his arrest, Rosli was sentenced to death by hanging.
Following the formation of Malaysia in September 1963, a tombstone was put at his unmarked grave within the compounds of the Kuching Central Prison. The tombstone is now on display at the outer compound of Sarawak Islamic Museum.
Duty of present historians
Jofri said Mat Sabu was merely defending fallen heroes of Malaysia's struggle for independence, who were wrongfully labeled as terrorists and traitors.
According to Jofri, those who chose to cooperate with the British, such as UMNO leaders, had obeyed British instructions.
“So are they protecting the colonialist British government or the country? So did they get any incentive or recognition after the British left?
"We ask those who had worked under the British colonial government to think carefully why they defended the British government with their lives to the extent of capturing and killing those independent fighters," Jofri said.
Jofri said historians were dutybound to correct factual errors in the country's historical narratives, adding that past historians had distorted them to serve colonial interests.

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