Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM)

Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM) or the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) comprised mainly Chinese, Indians and a few Malays who were forced to join. One of the Malays who was forced to join was Mokhtar Petah's father.

Mokhtar Petah wrote first-hand about the PKM at his blog:

PKM was a part of Parti Komunis China (PKC) or the China Communist Party (CCP). Both followed the orders of the Kuomintang, which aimed to create a New China State, comprising the addition of Tanah Melayu, Singapore and Borneo to existing China. Singapore was the first to yield.

When the Chinese capitalists were brought to Tanah Melayu, the Chinese tin miners, wealthy tawkays and traders were subordinate to two masters, what the Malays referred to as talam dua muka. They were loyal to the British and at the same time, supported PKM.

In UMNO's fight for the Malayan independence, the British sided and supported UMNO but battled the PKM. The Chinese benefited politically and economically.

Following the Japanese war, in the reoccupation period, under the British High Commissioner, Sir Edward Gent (1946-1948), the British immediately introduced the Malayan Union, in an attempt to gain control over Tanah Melayu. This was met with great resistance from the Malays who refused to be continued to be ruled  by the British. A state of emergency prevailed and the Malayan Emergency lasted 12 years, from 1948 to 1960.

The Malays met at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman (Sultan Sulaiman Club) in Kampong Baru, Kuala Lumpur in early May 1946. Dato Onn Jaafar and the Malays created PEKEMBAR (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu). It comprised Malays who were English educated in the West. That's how UMNO was formed, with an English name (United Malays National Organisation) - it has no Malay name. Its possible Malay name could be Persatuan Nasional Melayu Bersatu (PNMB).

While other third world countries (India and Indonesia) gained their independence in the late 1940s, Malaya was slow to gain its independence. When Sir Henry Gurney ruled as the second British Resident (1948-1951), UMNO flourished and was amicable to the British. It paved the way for the Malayan independence, 9 years too late. This delay was due to putting off independence till the British got whatever they wanted. Malaya gained its independence on 31 August 1957 but its people still lived in fear. Many areas had to observe the curfew.

The years ahead met with many teething political and economic troubles and many Malays were captured and jailed. One was Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmy, an early Malay doctor and homeopathic practitioner who later turned politician. Singaporean Utusan newspaper editor, Said Zahari was jailed for 17 years without trial.

Rejimen Ke-10 Askar Melayu, Pahang played a big role in defending Malaya against its colonial masters. Its members killed many British officers who came to serve in Malaya, mainly for British gains. Some of the British officers favoured the Malays and continued to live in Malaya. They converted to Islam and served the interest of the poor Malays. A notable person is Haji Mubin Sheppard, who helped 2 early Malay boys through medical school and they became successful early Malay doctors.

Sir Gerald Templer was the third British High Commissioner to Malaya (1952-1953). It was under him that Malay villagers were translocated to specified areas in towns, and called Kampong Baru. Villages at the periphery of the Malaysian jungles and suspected of activities connected to the PKM were re-located to new areas. It was in his time that Pasar Chow Kit flourished under a Malay market supervisor? The Templer Hospital was opened in 1952 and named in his honour. These Malay villages have now become Chinese lands, mainly from land resale. There were also many change of hands after the war when landowners died during the Japanese war and new bogus landowners took the opportunity to claim lands without landowners. As a result, some families became poor while some became rich from such illegal activities. That's history.

All over Malaya and including Singapore, the Malays had to beg the government to give them land so they could till the land and build homes. It was a sad state. In Malacca, the same happened; the fallen Singapore Sultanate was given land in Umbai, just after the town centre in Banda Hilir. In Singapore, the Malays purchased land via its spokesperson, Encik Eunos, and they obtained Geylang. In Penang, Kampong Melayu in Ayer Hitam is still a Malay reserve, the area is a bit under developed compared to more modern housing areas on Penang island.

These Malay reserves receive modern amenities and the children attend better schools. There are police stations, bus stations and transportation in these new villages. These are about the only lands that Malays own today. Many Malays do not own any lands nor own homes even though this is Malaysia. Many Malays still cannot afford to own homes upon retirement under today's economic circumstances. The Malays who missed out on the Malay reserves have continued to live at the periphery of the Malaysian jungles, by the river, and life goes on as usual, mostly under very poor housing conditions. Children from these forgotten traditional villages suffer the most as a result. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of living in all cities in Malaysia today, many Malay families with working parents are still forced to live in slums lining the cities and towns. Some live in the clearings by the rail tracks, and there are many reports of narrow escapes and fatal railway accidents.

Now, even 55 years after Merdeka, many Malaysian families have problems with owning suitable family homes and getting decent jobs, with sufficient salary to pay for the families' basic needs. Today, the average family pays RM294 a month for electricity in hot weather with 4-5 fans blowing in the homes. Family meals cost RM25 per day for lunch and dinner; breakfast is an additional RM10 for a family of 6. There is not much left over after utility bills are paid. Most Malay families have to put their children on government scholarship if they want to take up tertiary studies. Very few Malay families can afford to pay RM6K per semester for university for per child. The average Malay adult earns RM3K per month. The minimum salary in Malaysia today in RM1K per month. Overall, the Malay is a poor person, and lives in perpetual poverty, inherited or otherwise. Education alone cannot help the Malays. Subsidised services cannot help them too. Providing land titles and a basic home-based income maybe half the answer. Good-paying jobs outside the home make the other half and complete the needs of the average working Malay. The whole thing about the dire needs of the Malays need to be properly addressed and studied. The Malays were living fine and freely before colonialism. Colonialism changed the fates of the Malays altogether, pushing them to the limits, to a point of no return. Some Malays have given up, ending up on the ever growing bankruptcy list. Will all these ever end? Can we hope to see an end to Malay problems? I think so yes if we deal with the problems properly. I think so no if we still want to continue the same way we worked from after Merdeka. We need an attitude change and the way we make things work.

So back to PKM and the Kuomintang ideology, do we still hope to save Malaysia for the Malays? I think so we should try our best. Where else do we want to send the Malays? They can't move north because it is too cold. They can't go south because it is too cold. This is all the land that the Malays have. There is no place elsewhere where they can live. They will become extinct if we send them elsewhere. So we have to stand by 'Tak kan Melayu hilang di dunia' if we want to see the Malays make it in this world, just like everyone else. PKM and Kuomintang aside, we must help the Malay people. Give back their lands and let them live they way they choose to.