Read here earlier posting: Farish A. Noor's article,"Banning History:When Will Malaysia Learn To Live With Her Past?"
Excerpts: Read here for more on article in The Sun by Hwa Yue-Yi
The communists' role in fighting for independence has been recognised by no less than first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, according Dr Cheah Boon Kheng, former Universiti Sains Malaysia History Professor.
Two former Deputy Prime Ministers - Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and Tun Ghafar Baba - have also publicly acknowledged the contributions of the left wing movement towards nationhood.
Dr. Cheah said, in an email interview:Cheah noted that Tun Dr. Ismail had also said in "Amanat Tun Dr Ismail" , a compilation of his speeches, that the struggle for Malaysia's independence was not only carried out by Umno, MCA and MIC leaders, but also by those in the left wing movement.
"Malay attitudes towards the communist movement have been changing over the years.
While critical of some of their deeds, especially assasinations and acts of terrorism, many Malays now accept the fact that WITHOUT their armed struggle against the British, Britain would NOT have readily conceded Malaya her independence in 1957
....the Tunku, in his 1983 memoirs "Lest We Forget ", had said: 'Just as Indonesia was fighting a bloody battle, so were the communists of Malaya who, too, fought for independence.'
Even PAS described the communist movement's armed struggle as a patriotic war and hailed its members Rashid Maidin and Abdullah CD as patriots and heroes (on the eve of Merdeka last year).
The (board's) reasons reflect intolerance towards alternative interpretations of historical events.
Only in a totalitarian state is there only ONE version - the official version - of any historical event."
Cheah was responding to reports that the Censorship Board had banned Amir Muhammad's latest film Apa Khabar Orang Kampung which interviews former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members because the film was "historically inaccurate" and tried to value the communists' struggle in Malaya.
.....Cheah said the film's reported interviews with former CPM members did NOT seem to be different from those in Rashid and Abdullah's published memoirs which are available in Malaysian bookstores.
Former Utusan Melayu editor-in-chief Said Zahari, who reported on events leading to Malaysia's independence, said in the phone interview, independence was attained through many different contributions. He added:Young theatre directors Fahmi Fadzil, Gabrielle Low, Mark Teh and Wong Tay Sy, who embarked on a two-year project to investigate the communist history and people's memories of Malaya-Malaysia, have also called for the ban to be lifted on Apa Khabar Orang Kampung and Amir's earlier banned movie, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir. They said through their CPM project, they learnt that books on this subject were abundantly available, and added:
"Some went into the jungle and took up arms because other avenues were closed to them.
Some won and some lost, but they were all part of the common fight.""It was the personal accounts of lives during that era that required immediate attention, before these people pass away.
Our history is as varied and dynamic as this country, and for many of us, the CPM project was encounter with a multiplicity of perspectives."