I learnt history and I read history. During our struggle for the Independence, there were heroes - the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others. Some were traitors too. However, communism was not accepted back then, long before and after Merdeka.
And Mat Sabu's remarks that declared the communists as heroes (and not the Malayan people who served the colonial master British) is opening up more polemics.
Some parties have deplored Mat Sabu while the rest seemed to have supported him.
Here are some excerpts from comments in Malaysiakini:
"Our history is viewed through Umno's racial lenses. Had those in the Bukit Kepong police station were British, the attackers would be heros. After all, local Malay chief Maharajalela was a folk hero in the annals of our history for killing British Resident in Perak, JWW Birch. But Bukit Kepong serves Umno's Malay versus Chinese agenda. Mat Sabu sought to turn the issue on its head by arguing that the leader of the attack was actually a Malay, Mat Indera."
"Let's get this straight. The attack on the Bukit Kepong police station was before Merdeka - Aug 31, 1957. The country was colonialised by the British and all personnel who worked for the administration were under the payroll of Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Those who went against and fought the British colonialists then are nationalist, irrespective of their party orientation. Those under employment of the British government, irrespective of their racial background, worked for the colonial masters. If Mat Indera (Muhammad Indera), a nationalist with the communist party and his comrades, had successfully driven out the British occupiers, they would have been hailed as war heroes just like the communists in China and Vietnam who had driven out their own countrymen in the Koumintang and the South Vietnamese Army respectively as they were aligned to the American imperialists. Victors get to write their version of history."
"The communists were of course the true heroes of Malaya (then). They fought against the British colonialists, then the Japanese, then the British again and got 'independence' for Malaya. They are patriots. Those local police and soldiers were cannon fodder, employed by the British and the ruling aristocrats and their running dog, MCA, to protect themselves. The communists had no choice - it was either to attack or be attacked."
"Even Karpal Singh, a very principled politician had criticised Mat Sabu. I am aware that many Chinese Malaysians died at the hands of the communists just because they refused to help the communists, especially those who worked for the government. Government teachers, including Chinese teachers, were killed directly in front of their students in broad daylight back in those days."
I believe we will read more varieties pretty soon. So many factions, including politicians are riding on it. And our rakyat could be split into two (especially our young ones) over the 'actual heroes and villains' issue. How strong and adequate are our text books and documents?
I am also of the opinion that the communist were/are heroes in the countries of their origin... but NOT in the case of Malaysia.
Should I blame Mat Sabu? I guess he didn't pay much attention to this subject...