Friday, August 28, 2009

Merdeka will be this 31st. We are celebrating our 52nd anniversary of Merdeka. We have now armchair critics who talk about the Putera- AMCJA Peoples Constitution of 1947. People forget that this constitution was a dream It will never happen. It was a pipe dream concocted by dreamers young dreamers led by Ahmad Boestamam. He was a leftist and full marks must be given for his dream but Malaya then was not Malaya now. It was fragmented and even among the Malays identification of nation hood was still not there most identify themselves as Malay from what states Pahang Perak etc. Most Chinese still see themselves as transient migrants and they belong to China. Even the Indian were too that's why MIC was a branch party of the Congress Party of India. That's where they feel they belong and when Nehru visit Malaya they come in droves.Here the Chinese are divided between the Kuomintang and the Communist under Mao. Chinese School all over Malaya was the recruit center for the Communist and MCP was set up as subservient to the Communist Party of China or CCP.

Save for the Chinese Babas or Straits Chinese like Cheng Loke and Straits Indians were the idea of nationhood was strongest and citizenship for them were sought. To them they realize Malaya was their future and that was the truth. Putera-AMCJA Constitution would fail because the support was not encompassing all the races but only few. Armchair historians would always talk about the Joint Hartal movement which was a success when it was launch. True but the workers which have leftist tendencies and where communist were strong does not constitute the whole races in Malaya. The Malays then the majority were still farmers and fisherman few work in the private sector and those who work for the government are Malay Elites who were the British lackeys.

Yes you have people like Pak Sako and even my relative Dr Ahmad who fought against the British idea of creating Malay lackeys in the end both were sack from their job for their principle. Pak Sako as a magistrate and Dr Ahmad in the Medical Service. Both are highly principle even one would spurn the hand of his adopted son Razak Hussain just because he join UMNO and refuse to leave it when Islam was not the constitution they adopt. They remain apart until he died in 1967.

That is why I remain adamant by saying that idea would never work even then most Malay leftist leader like Pak Sako never agreed to their constitution so how can it succeed. To me it shows that Ahmad Boestamam realizing that Merdeka could only be achieve if the races work and accept each other came out with these piece of paper which to me the people would have rejected if put to the vote. But then voting was unheard off until 1951.

So how did we achieve independence. To me it was by incident and given by the British. Malayan Union was a legislation that would have hurt not just the Malays but their ruler. So Sultan Ibrahim of Johore whose independence of thinking and before the war one of the richest man in the world hatch a plan. He was force to sign the Malayan Union and was force to give his power away. He was on the throne for nearly 50 years then, he would later die of old age in 1959 in England but that is another story, so he galvanize his adopted son Datuk Onn Jaafar to gather the Malays to oppose the Malayan Union. He was the puppet master and Dato Onn was the puppet. Have any of you wondered why after killing off the Malayan Union Dato Onn doesn't pursue independence? Why he want to open UMNO up to other races? Ask and think?

The Malays have always been feudalistic and even now the Malay warlords were created because the Malay psyche made it possible. So when someone from the Istana and the Istana herself support the party don't you think the Malays at that time would not support? That is why when Dato Onn left, Razak and the rest of the Malay elite need Tunku to head the party. He was the rallying call for the Malays then and to me what ever Tun says and degrade him it could not be deny without him Merdeka would never be possible. I cannot forgive Tun for "mecerca" Tunku,never! And the rest is what you read and a footnote here Sultan Ibrahim was so incensed that the movement he created became a Monster that he refuse to be the first Agong and move to England soon after and die there at the famous Dorchester Hotel.

here is a snippet of the constitution in question


Main article: Malayan Union

In seeking to solve some of the administrative incoherence in the pre-war British ruled Malaya, a policy of constitutional development which incorporated the twin goals of constitutional unity and a common citizenship within Malaya was developed as the basis for eventual self-rule and independence of the territory [2] [1]. The first proposal called for the Federated Malay States and Unfederated Malay States to be joined into a larger federation styled the Malayan Union. It was expected that Penang and Malacca would be severed from the Straits Settlements to join the new federation while Singapore remained a separate Crown Colony [3].

Significant Malay opposition to the Union was spontaneous and widespread as it was seen as a departure from the traditional pro-Malay policies of the British and the removal of sovereignty of the Malay rulers while a significant majority of non-Malays were generally divided or indifferent to the proposals [4] [5]. The preoccupation with post-war rebuilding and the lack of an existing Malaya-centric political discourse meant that even the community most likely to view Malaya as their home like the Straits Chinese and second generation non-Malays failed to appreciate the implications of the Union until it was abandoned by the British. Only openly anti-colonial movements like the radical Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the more moderate Malayan Democratic Union (MDU), established by English educated left-leaning middle-class intellectuals in Singapore in 1945, emerged to support the proposal with the caveat that Singapore was included in the Union [1].

With the widespread opposition among the Malays, the British administration entered into secret negotiations with the Malay aristocracy and the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) as they were unwilling to allow the Malay opposition to the Union develop into an anti-British attitude in the same way that had happened in the Dutch East Indies where the locals were engaged in an open armed rebellion against the Dutch. When news that the British had agreed to the demands of the conservative Malays and the Anglo-Malay Proposals included institutionalized handicaps against the non-Malay community and the absence of a road map towards Malayan independence, a united front was mulled to oppose the proposals.

[edit] United front proposed

On November 19, 1946, a meeting was held to discuss the formation of a united front. Attending this meeting were [6] :

Name Affiliation
Ahmad Boestamam Malay Nationalist Party
Musa Ahmad
Liew Yit Fun Malayan Communist Party
Chai Pek Siang
Gerald de Cruz Malayan Democratic Union
H. B. Talalla Unaffiliated
Khoo Teik Ee

Following a telegramed suggestion by Tan Cheng Lock, three central principles were adopted [6]:

  • A united Malaya including Singapore
  • A populatly elected Central Government and popularly elected State councils
  • A citizenship granting equal rights to all who made Malaya their permanent home and the object of their undivided loyalty

[edit] Formation

On December 14, 1946, the MDU sponsored a meeting in Singapore which was participated by the Malay Nationalist Party (known by its Malay acronym PKMM), the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) and various other groups to:

"provide the machinery for the various communities, through their organisations and associations, to reach agreement on all points connected with the future constitution of Malaya, thus avoiding the dangers of separated and self-interested representation"

The immediate result of this meeting was the formation of the Council for Joint Action (CJA) comprising the MDU, PKMM, MIC, the General Labour Union (later to split into the Singapore Federation of Trade Unions or SFTU and the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions or PMFTU), the Singapore Clerical Union, the Straits Chinese British Association (SBCA), the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Singapore Tamil Association and the Singapore Women's Federation [6] [5] operating on the three principles adopted during the November meeting. Tan Cheng Lock was appointed the Chairman with MDU's Paul Eber as Secretary-General. A memorandum of protest was sent by the CJA to Arthur Creech Jones, a trade unionist who was then the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies for the British government on December 16 of the same year with the announcement that the CJA intended to boycott the Consultative Committee established to discuss and implement the Anglo-Malay Proposals.

This CJA was expanded on December 22, 1946 with the inclusion of the Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Unions, the Clerical Unions of Penang, Malacca, Selangor and Perak, the Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Selangor Women's Federation, the Malayan New Democratic Youth's League, the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Ex-Comrades Association, the Singapore Chinese Association and the Peasant's Union. A press conference in Kuala Lumpur announced the formation of the Pan-Malayan Council of Joint Action (PMCJA) with Tan Cheng Lock re-elected Chairman with MDU's Gerald de Cruz as Secretary-General [6] [7].

The PMCJA sought to gain recognition from to act as the sole representative body with which the British government would negotiate with a view to amending the constitution in accordance with the wishes of that part of the populace that has not been consulted so far [7]. Nonetheless, the negotiated Anglo-Malay proposals were published as a government White Paper on December 24, 1946 [8] together with a note from the Governor, Edward Gent, that the proposals were conditionally accepted by the British government provided that

"all interested communities in Malaya have had full and free opportunity of expressing their views" [5]

[edit] Major activities

[edit] People's Constitution

Opposition to the Anglo-Malay proposal increased with demonstrations being held across Malaya and consultations were held to prepare an alternative set of proposals to be tabled to the British government. On February 22, 1947, a coalition of Malay organizations opposed to the Anglo-Malay agreement and led by the MNP, Pusat Tenaga Ra'ayat (PUTERA), was formed [4] and by March of the same year the PMCJA had established a coalition with PUTERA known as PUTERA-PMCJA. The PUTERA-PMCJA adopted a total of 10 principles; including the three original principles of the CJA; as the basis of their constitutional proposals [6]:

  • A united Malaya including Singapore
  • A popularly elected Central Government and popularly elected State councils
  • A citizenship granting equal rights to all who made Malaya their permanent home and the object of their undivided loyalty
  • Malay Rulers to have real sovereign power responsible to the people through popularly elected Councils
  • Malay customs and religion to be fully controlled by the Malay people through special councils
  • Special provisions for the advancement of the Malays politically, economically and educationally
  • Malay to be the official language
  • A national flag and a national anthem
  • Melayu (Malay: Malay) to be the title of any proposed citizenship and nationality in Malaya
  • Foreign affairs and defence to be the joint responsibility of the government of Malaya and the government of Great Britain

Due to concerns about the implications of the term Pan-Malayan which groups like the Tan Kah Kee and Lee Kong Chian led Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce (ACCC) considered to be indicative of communist domination and the MNP considered to include only non-Malays, the name of the PMCJA was changed to become the All Malaya Joint Council for Action or AMCJA in August 1947 and the PUTERA-PMCJA coalition became known as PUTERA-AMCJA [6] [9].

The PUTERA-AMCJA constitutional proposals was adopted by the constituent members of the both coalitions on August 10, 1947 and presented to the public on September 21 as the People's Constitutional Proposals [10]. A summary of the differences between the People's Constitutional Proposals and the Revised Constitutional Proposals [11] published in July 1947 based on the report of the Government Consultative Committee are [12]:

People's Constitutional Proposals [10] Revised Constitional Proposals [11]
A united Malaya including Singapore A federation of the Malay states and the former Straits Settlements excluding Singapore
A popularly elected Central Government and popularly elected State councils An appointed Executive Council headed by a British High Commissioner in Malaya and an appointed Federal Legislative Council of fifty unofficial members, fourteen official members and eleven free members (the Menteri Besar of the 9 Malay states and 1 representative each from Penang and Malacca).
A citizenship granting equal rights to all who made Malaya their permanent home and the object of their undivided loyalty Birth qualifications, language test, and long residential terms imposed, effectively restricting the access to citizenship of domiciled non-Malays [6]
Malay Rulers to have real sovereign power responsible to the people through popularly elected Councils Malay Rulers recognised as sovereign monarchs with inherent prerogatives, powers and privileges
Malay customs and religion to be fully controlled by the Malay people through special councils Malay customs and religion placed within the sole jurisdiction of the Malay Rulers
Special provisions for the advancement of the Malays politically, economically and educationally Special provisions for the advancement of the Malays politically, economically and educationally
Malay to be the official language Malay recognised as an official language together with English
A national flag and anthem A national flag was adopted with no provisions for a national anthem
Melayu to be the title of any proposed citizenship and nationality in Malaya No provisions for a Malayan nationality was adopted
Foreign affairs and defence to be the joint responsibility of the government of Malaya and the government of Great Britain All portfolios remained within the prerogative of the British High Commissioner and the government of Great Britain
A Conference of Races to be set up to block any discriminatory legislation that is based on ethnicity or religion No such provisions were provided for
Anglo-Malay sovereignty entrenched with the provision of a Conference of Rulers comprising of the Malay rulers presided over by the British High Commissioner, and a 55% reservation of Malay representation in the Federal legislature for a minimum of 3 terms A Conference of Rulers was formalised. Ethnic representation in the Federal Legislative Council was set with no provisions for an elected legislature

[edit] All Malaya Hartal

The ACCC considered the Revised Constitutional Proposals as being autocratic and irresponsible and it threatened to delay the independence of Malaya indefinitely. A decision was made to cooperate with PUTERA-PMCJA (later PUTERA-AMCJA) because it had exhausted all constitutional channels of appeal (the ACCC was a participant in the Government Consultative Committee) and appeal to the British Parliament for the establishment of a Royal Commission to review and reverse the Revised Constitutional Proposals [6].

Agitation against the Revised Constitutional Approvals grew throughout September with a successful hartal organised in Malacca and Ipoh in protest. Emboldened by the success, the ACCC decided to launch a country-wide strike and invited PUTERA-AMCJA was invited to support the strike. A decision was made to hold the strike, to be known as the All Malaya Hartal, on October 20, 1947 to coincide with the opening of the session of the British Parliament where the Revised Constitutional Proposals were to be tabled and debated [6].

The hartal turned out to be a major success [13] although UMNO held counter demonstrations in the more rural areas like Senggaram and Bagan Datoh contributing to the rise in ethnic tensions and the cancellation of the planned strike in those areas [6].

[edit] Decline and dissolution

Despite the success of the All Malaya Hartal, the government granted no concessions and differences began to emerge between the ACCC and PUTERA-AMCJA. A second Hartal was planned for February 1, 1948 but was aborted when financial support from the ACCC was not forthcoming and was reduced to isolated strikes by the PMFTU [6]. Kuomintang sympathizers had also begun to lobby for the withdrawal of ACCC support from the PUTERA-AMCJA due to the intensification of the Chinese civil war [14].

The implementation of the Federation of Malaya constitution based on the Revised Constitutional Proposals on February 1, 1948 and the decision of the MCP to launch an armed rebellion marked the beginning of the end for the PUTERA-AMCJA coalition and AMCJA as a whole. With the declaration of the nationwide emergency, the constituent organizations either withdrew from the coalition, went underground, or in the case of the MDU, voluntarily dissolved itself [6] and the AMCJA ceased to exist as a body.

Mainstream political developments in Malaya in the following decade came to be dominated by conservative and pro-British groups with a distinctive impact on the historical development of independent Malaya, and later Malaysia, for the next few decades [5] [4].

Here's are article which I deem sad I wish i could comment but I can't

A forgetful nation — Bob Teoh

AUG 28 — I lived in Australia for six years. Each year Australia Day was something memorable to celebrate even though I was not a citizen but only a permanent resident. It doesn't matter really whether one is fair dinkum. Even tourists join in the fun and celebration. All are welcome — G'Day mate.

Can we say this of our national day? To begin with we are never sure of our national day. Is it Merdeka Day on 31 August or Malaysia Day on 16 September? Where does our Malaysian story start? When we begin to forget our collective story, we begin to forget who we are.

Let's get our story right.

The declaration of independence of the Federation of Malaya on 31 August 1957 was preceded by a Qur'anic doxology:

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe and may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon His Messenger.

This clearly acknowledges that Islam is the official religion of the land but the country is not an Islamic state by any stretch of imagination.

The newly independent nation is to be known as the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu or the Federation of Malaya comprising the Malay States of Johore, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak and the former Settlements of Malacca and Penang, both being previously dominions of the Imperial British Empire while the others were protectorates. The Malay characteristic has never been in doubt, hence Tanah Melayu.

The new nation is founded as a constitutional monarchy based on parliamentary democracy. The supremacy of the Constitution is never in doubt. No other parallel system of law was envisaged.

On this understanding and undertaking Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abdul Hamid Halimshah, as the first Prime Minister of Malaya, proclaimed independence upon the principles of liberty and justice.

Six years later three other political entities; Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo or Sabah as it is now known entered into an agreement with Malaya to form an enlarged country of Malaysia on 16 September 1963. The Sultanate of Brunei had earlier declined to join the new federation. Singapore mutually separated two years later after an acrimonious short-lived affair.

The moot point to note is that Sabah and Sarawak did not join Malaysia. They entered into an agreement with Malaya to form Malaysia on 16 September 1963. So why are we celebrating 31 August as our national day?

The basis for putting together the Malaysia Agreement is the so-called 20 points presented by Sabah and Sarawak. For Sabah, the first of the 20 points was on religion:

While there was no objection to Islam being the national religion of Malaysia there should be no State religion in North Borneo, and the provisions relating to Islam in the present Constitution of Malaya should not apply to North Borneo.

So how far have we come after 46 years? Or it is 52 years?

Have we forgotten our shared vision of living in peace based on the principles of justice and liberty, of a constitutional monarchy, and a parliamentary democracy?

I am afraid we are a forgetful nation. We have forgotten that the supreme law of the land does not allow us to cane a woman for drinking beer in public even if she deserves a good 80 lashes under some subordinate laws.

I am afraid we forget too many things that are important and fundamental.

I am afraid we forget too easily that it was in the name of compassion and mercy that we proclaimed ourselves to be a free and independent nation.

I am afraid there's little reason to celebrate Merdeka this year. Even the government has downscaled the celebrations apparently because of the (A) H1N1 flu, among other things.

Yes, I can still remember Australia Day even though I have given up my permanent residency Down Under. Yes I remind myself not forget to remember why there was a 31 August and a 16 September in the first place. —


28 Aug 09 : 8.00AM

By The Nut Graph team
editor@thenutgraph.comeditor at thenutgraph dot com

(Pic by ~ezs @ Flickr)

THIS year, Merdeka falls on a Monday. Obligatory flags have been going up on most streetlamp posts and in most public spaces. Yet the number of cars sporting miniature Jalur Gemilang is notably sparse. It seems reasonable to believe that the fanfare surrounding Malaya's 52nd independence anniversary will be muted.

What has happened to the citizenry's display of patriotism?

An obvious factor is the commencement of Ramadan, which will render most Malaysians, an estimated 60% or more of the population comprising Malay Muslims, sluggish. Or the international economic downturn, which has rendered our collective pockets slim. It doesn't help that there's an influenza pandemic out there, too.

Maybe it's because it has been more than a year of political uncertainty. Since the landmark 2008 general election, we've seen the Barisan Nasional (BN)-engineered takeover of Perak, the constant stream of by-elections, and problems and infighting in Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-governed states. All these have undoubtedly caused consternation.

And then there's the perennial issue of race, a colonial construct designed to ease governance through communal divide-and-rule. One need only look at Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's accusation of Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a race traitor, to see how much traction race-based rhetoric still has.

There is also that nagging feeling that Malaysia does not care for the welfare of all its citizens in equal measure. One doesn't even have to look at the long mismanagement of the New Economic Policy (NEP). Just consider the lack of action with regards to the Penan task force report.

Maybe our lack of enthusiasm stems from a suspicion that Malaysian independence is not all that it is cut out to be — being, as it is, a deal struck between Malaya's elite right and the British.

Between May and August 1947, the multiethnic and left-leaning Putera-AMCJA negotiated particulars of the "People's Constitutional Proposals for Malaya". They recommended, among other things, equal citizenship rights, a "conference of races" to block discriminatory legislation, and swift independence.

The proposals were ignored by the British administration. They instead adopted the less-progressive Revised Constitutional Proposals for the Malayan Federation, which was formulated jointly with the Malay Rulers and Umno.

The rejection of the so-called People's Constitution resulted in the All-Malaya Hartal on 20 Oct 1947, a peninsula-wide strike modelled after Indian strategies of non-violent protest. Notably, this part of our history is missing from our school curriculum.

The British reacted to the hartal with the declaration of the Emergency. What does it mean when colonial-style legislation, such as the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinances — used to detain the Malayan left at the outset of the Emergency — still remains intact today?

And why does Merdeka receive so much attention while Malaysia Day receives so little? Especially since the latter commemorates, on 16 Sept, the actual date Malaysia — Sabah and Sarawak included — came into being?

These are just some of the issues The Nut Graph finds itself mulling over, in the lead-up to Merdeka. We'd like to know what independence means to our readers. Is it everything, nothing, or a middling somewhere-in-between? What about Malaysia is most important to you? What are your hopes and worries, as independence day swings around? Tell us in six words.

Tunku Abdul Rahman declares Malaya's independence (Public domain)

Cindy Tham:

Step 1: Merdeka from colonial rule.

Next step: Remove relics of colonialism.

ISA, Section 377, divide and rule ...

Deborah Loh:

Selective historical interpretation can spoil Merdeka.

I feel most patriotic when overseas.

At home watching parades on TV.

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Why did Britain deal with Tunku?

But colonial laws are still intact.

Colonial divide-and-rule is still officially practised!

Merdeka negara tetapi tidak merdeka minda.

What role did wasiat raja-raja play?

Still considered "pendatang" despite our independence.

Nick Choo:

Freedom from oppression and ... oh, wait.

52 years young and already deteriorating.

Image of a Malaysian flag
(Pic by Chris2K /
Independence Day: when the aliens attacked.

Country. Hell. Handbasket. Connect dots. Merdeka!

Shanon Shah:

Malaya: founded as a secular state.

Kemerdekaan siapa? Rakyat atau parti politik?

Kisah tanahair sentiasa berkembang. Hayatilah sepenuhnya.

Politik? Merdeka. Institusi? Merdeka. Minda bagaimana?

Let's focus on Malaysia Day, too.

Unity in diversity — theory or practice?

Erasing and forgetting the left's contributions.

Zedeck Siew:

Long weekend! Want to go holiday?



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