Saturday, November 25, 2006

Malaysian "Communists" | honesty

322 words
4 November 2006Bernama Daily Malaysian News
2006 Bernama - Malaysian National News Agency
The newly published book "The Finest Hour": The Malaysian-MCP Peace Accord In Perspective" will enable Malaysians to gain a greater insight into Malaysia's history, including the communist party's influence during the post-war period.

In the 245-page book, the author, renowned Malaysian sociologist Dr Collin Abraham, takes a balanced approach in explaining Malaysia's pre- and post independence history, covering its road to nationhood to the Haadyai Agreement of 1989 with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), which finally ended the protracted armed struggle between it and the Malaysian government.

"My research orginated from scratch and it took me 15 months to this book, my third (book)," he told Bernama after the soft launch of the book at the Royal Selangor Club here today.

The book touches on a gamut of exciting as well as polemic subjects ranging from the Malay Left, the Kelantan Resistance of 1915, the Baling Talks and the Haadyai peace agreement between the government and MCP leader Chin Peng.

"The foundation for a Malaysian Malaysia was laid during the country's struggle for independence and peace. Now we need to move on towards (Vision) 2020," said Abraham, 75, who had spent more than 30 years in academia.

Former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who wrote one of the four forwards in the book, described it as "a bold and extraordinary" piece. He is expected to offically launch the book on Dec 2 at the Royal Selangor Club.

Dr Mahathir in his forward said: "More Malaysians should do research on the MCP and the Emergency because so far most of the books written about it are by the British. Quite naturally their writings have been biased."

The book costing RM40 and published by the Strategic Information and Research Development Centre will be available in local book stores next week

Malaysia is notorious for producing extremely slanted histories. It's not uncommon for a historian to include an endorsement by a leading political figure in his book, which should tell you something about the book. And Malaysia censors are alive and well - Gabra, Prince of Egypt, Zoolander The Last Communist being examples of religious and state censorship. Plus of course, they have a very different version of Seperation - Mohammad Sopiee's account, while biased and inaccurate in parts, makes the point that Singaporean accounts don't make - that the UMNO politicans frankly found LKY downright kurang ajar.

However, I'm interested to see what they do with this book. If it's all that it promises, it means that Malaysia is prepared to take a long hard honest look at the Emergency. And the "mistakes" that were made in the heat of battle, where opponents were labelled communist, for convenient internal security disposal.

And if Malaysia is willing to take the step - what's Singapore waiting for?

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