Sep 2: Mat Indera, the late anti-British fighter who launched the daring 'Bukit Kepong' attack on colonial-era police force in 1950, was a religious teacher who had been commissioned by the Johor state government.
Central PAS Education Bureau Abu Bakar Chik (right), responding to a barrage of accusations against the late Malay fighter in UMNO-controlled media, revealed that Mat Indera was labeled as a communist by the British colonialist power and its Malay supporters in UMNO.
"UMNO and the colonialists were the ones who accused Mat Indera as communist," Abu Bakar told some 500 people during a Hari Raya event in Terengganu.
The media's interest in an incident which took place 61 years ago was in response to a remark on August 21 by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who said UMNO had been distorting history, including the incident of Bukit Kepong, where some 25 policemen serving under the British colonialist government had been killed in a surprise raid by Mat Indera.
Several UMNO leaders had immediately accused Mat Sabu of hailing communists as heroes, with the police saying it would probe Mat Sabu for trying to create public alarm.
The latest controversy however is not new. For many years, local historians have called for a re-look at the official version of history as narrated in school text books.
They point out that much of the texts narrating the independence struggle has been written by government-appointed historians with a view to promote UMNO as the sole fighters against colonialism, ignoring other leaders who had made greater sacrifices, including those among the communists. In the case of the Bukit Kepong, actor-director Jins Samsudin, a staunch supporter of UMNO, dedicated a whole movie on the incident based on claims fed by official historians.
Abu Bakar said PAS would be organising a seminar to discuss such distortions of the country's struggle for independence.
"We will hold a seminar to re-look at history, among them the incidents involving Mat Indera (left). We will conduct a study and evaluate who are the real freedom fighters," said Abu Bakar.
Abu Bakar said Mat Sabu had merely reignited the call for Malaysians not to blindly accept the official version of history, which he said was aimed to promote the ruling elite.