Many Malaysians were born after 31st August 1957. Many were also born after 13th May 1969. Therefore, what they know of history is what has been revealed, or permitted, in the history books. Well, on the aftermath of the 52nd Anniversary of Moodeka, allow Malaysia Today to walk you through a brief Malaysian history lesson.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The recent development in Shah Alam has changed the entire landscape of the National Day celebration. What used to be known as Merdeka Day has now been renamed Moodeka Day. That will be the day all Malaysians will remember as the day a cow’s head was dragged to the Selangor State Secretariat building as a mark of protest.
Of course, it appeared like the protest was against the relocation of a Hindu temple from section 19 to section 23 in Shah Alam. Actually, the protest was against the Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PKR Exco Member Rodziah Ismail, and PAS Member of Parliament Khalid Samad. They threw Dr Xavier Jayakumar in just to give it more ‘balance’ even though the good doctor is a Christian and not a Hindu.
The Hindu temple concerned was built 150 years ago at the time when that part of Selangor was still just a jungle. Then the jungle was cleared and turned into a rubber estate and, soon after, the temple emerged to serve the needs of the Indian estate workers. So the temple was built long before Shah Alam ever became a residential area, let alone a Malay residential area.
In that sense the houses that came along 100 years or so later encroached on the Hindu temple. It was not a case of a Hindu temple being built in a housing area, or a Malay housing area. It was a case of the houses being built in the Hindu temple area. So the houses were ‘disturbing’ the Hindu temple rather than the other way around. But the Hindu temple was asked to relocate because it was accused of disturbing the housing area whereas it should have been the Hindus who should have protested against the houses that were now ‘disturbing’ their temple.
Now, what has the above got to do with the National Day celebration? Nothing! But if I don’t bring this up then how can I explain why the National Day will forever be remembered as Moodeka Day?
But Moodeka Day only applies to West Malaysians. East Malaysians did not see independence until six years later on 16th September 1963. But the East Malaysians are also being asked to celebrate Moodeka Day or Independence Day on 31st August since the Hawaiians also celebrate the American Independence Day even though they did not get independence on 4th July 1776 but were in fact colonised much later on 21st August 1959.
But the Hawaiians don’t mind. They know they never got independence on 4th July 1776. In fact, they also never got independence on 21st August 1959 since they were annexed rather than freed. But by becoming America’s 51st state they now could have the US Dollar as their currency and this is more valuable than the beads that they used to use to trade in.
Of course, today, the US Dollar is not as valuable as the beads that the Hawaiians used to use as currency. There are so much US Dollars being printed that the US government has lost track of the actual amount of US Dollars in circulation. Today, the US Dollar has the same status as Malaya’s ‘Banana Money’ during the Japanese occupation. The only thing is the Japanese lost the war while the Americans did not. So the Banana Money is no longer worth anything while the US Dollar is still accepted as valid currency. But if the Americans had lost the war while the Japanese had instead won, then, today, the Banana Money would be the currency we trade in rather than the US Dollar.
No one disputes the fact that the US Dollar is an accepted currency only because we need it to trade in oil. But if the world suddenly switches to another currency for its oil trade then, poof, the US Dollar would go the same way as the Japanese Banana money.
But, of course, this will never happen because all the dictators of the world and the corrupted leaders keep their ill-gotten gains in US Dollars. If the US Dollar suddenly goes the way of the Japanese Banana Money then all the billionaires who plundered their own countries would be broke overnight. So it is to the interest of the corrupted people of the world to ensure that the US Dollar still retains its value so that they can continue being billionaires. Hence, oil will still be traded in US Dollars for the sake of the corrupted and in the spirit of the rallying call; Corrupted of the World Unite.
The Hawaiians, however, are beginning to realise that being colonised by the Americans because of the benefit of the US Dollar is slowly beginning to lose its attraction. A day will come when beads will be more valuable than the US Dollar and the Hawaiians will want to revert to beads as their legal tender. And that will be when the Hawaiians will demand true independence and America will be reduced to just 50 states.
And that is also the case with the East Malaysians. They realise that the Brunei Dollar is more valuable than the Malaysian Ringgit. The Brunei Dollar is at par with the Singapore Dollar and is accepted as legal tender in Singapore. The Malaysian Ringgit, however, not only is much lower in value, can’t be used in Singapore. Singapore shops will not accept the Malaysian Ringgit. And it is very hard to deal ‘under the table’ with the Ringgit since the largest Ringgit is only RM50 while you can get a Singapore Dollar as high as 10,000.
Imagine how many bags you need to pack to bribe a Malaysian politician RM10 million in cash if you pay them in Ringgit compared to using Singapore Dollars. So the Singapore Dollar is more useful if you need to pay off a Malaysian politician. And this is why East Malaysians prefer Singapore Dollars instead of Malaysian Ringgit. So what is the purpose of Sabah and Sarawak being part of Malaysia when it is so difficult to deal in Malaysian Ringgit when bribes need to be paid?
Anyway, East Malaysians resent the fact that they are being asked to celebrate 31st August as their National Day and that the recent National Day was dubbed as the 52nd Anniversary. This is not only because they never got independence on 31st August or, for that matter, never got independence at all, but also because they never ‘joined’ Malaysia in the real sense.
You see; Malaya already existed on 16th September 1963. By then, it had already existed for about six years. So, six years after Malaya’s independence from Britain, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei were invited by Malaya to form a new country called Malaysia.
Brunei, of course, refused because the Sultan realised that they would not be ‘joining’ a new country but would in fact be colonised by Malaya. And the fact that Malaya was behind Azahari who started a revolution and tried to topple the Sultan convinced the Sultan that Malaya’s intention is mala fide. And when Singapore left, or got kicked out of Malaysia, depending on whose history book you read, this convinced the Brunei Sultan even more that his decision was right.
Sabah and Sarawak did not leave though. No doubt, back then, there was talk that a few of the East Malaysian leaders were also contemplating doing what Singapore did. But since all these leaders somehow died in a mysterious plane crash and since ‘dead men tell no tales’ we will never know the truth. And immediately after that the leadership of East Malaysia shifted into the hands of the pro-Malaysia group and those still anti-Malaysia, after seeing what happened to those who mooted the idea of leaving Malaysia, decided to just go along with what the leaders of West Malaysia wanted. It was safer to play along than to also die in a mysterious plane crash.
But why are the East Malaysians so unhappy about being in Malaysia? Well, for starters, 50% of the oil and gas comes from East Malaysia but they do not get 50% of the development expenditure. In fact, the other 50% of the oil and gas comes from Terengganu but they also do not get 50% of the development expenditure. Terengganu does not even get 5% oil royalty like what the East Malaysian states get, at least not since 1990. The money goes to Umno.
The main bone of contention for the East Malaysians is that they never joined Malaysia, and for sure not on 31st August 1957, the date they are being asked to celebrate as their National Day or Moodeka Day. Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei were invited to form a new country called Malaysia based on an equal status with Malaya. So, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Brunei would be at par with Malaya, not become one of the states of Malaysia.
Today, however, Malaysia is said to have 13 states, down from 14 after Singapore left or got kicked out. But that is not true. Malaya originally had 11 states -- Perlis, Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. These 11 states were under the Federation of Malaya. Then the Federation of Malaya merged with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore to form Malaysia. So, there were now four member countries of Malaysia -- Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore -- and not 14 member states.
And that is why Lee Kuan Yew still wanted to be called the Prime Minister of Singapore. But the Prime Minister of Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman, did not agree to that. He wanted Lee Kuan Yew to be ‘downgraded’ to the status of Chief Minister of Singapore, just like the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia can’t have two Prime Ministers, argued the Tunku. And if Lee Kuan Yew still insists on remaining as the Prime Minister of Singapore, then Singapore would have to leave Malaysia.
And so Singapore did leave Malaysia though it left because it was chased out over a fight of whether Malaysia can or cannot have two Prime Ministers.
Now, of course, Malaysia has reverted to having two Prime Ministers. And Prime Minister 2, as we all know, is Najib Tun Razak. If Singapore had stayed in Malaysia then we would now have three Prime Ministers. And, knowing Rosmah Mansor, the Singapore Prime Minister would be Prime Minister 3.
No doubt Sabah and Sarawak are still allowed certain ‘extras’ compared to the 11 West Malaysian states. For example, they don’t have a CPO (Chief Police Officer) but a Police Commissioner. And the Sabah and Sarawak Police Commissioners get to drive around with flags on the bonnet of their cars, which CPOs of West Malaysia can’t do.
And the Police Commissioners of Sabah and Sarawak get to fly around in a police plane although they can get arrested and charged for doing so -- like the pervious Police Commissioner of Sabah, Ramli Yusuff -- if the IGP testifies during your trial that you were on leave that day even though you were not.
Furthermore, West Malaysian lawyers can’t practice in East Malaysia unless they first obtain permission while the Sabah and Sarawak Immigration Department can refuse to allow West Malaysians entry into the state. This is meant to give the impression that Malaysia is honouring the 20-Point Agreement that says Sabah and Sarawak are not at par with the 11 West Malaysian states but are, in fact, par with Malaya.
To West Malaysians, whether National Day should be celebrated on 31st August or 16th September is not important and whether this year it should be the 52nd Anniversary, or 52 minus six, is also not important. But to the East Malaysians it is. And this is what West Malaysians are not sensitive about.
Nevertheless, while West Malaysians and East Malaysians may disagree on these points, one thing that all Malaysians unanimously agree on is that 2009 will forever be remembered as Hari Moodeka in the spirit of the cow’s head that was dragged to the Selangor State Secretariat building in Shah Alam in an attempt to duplicate a coup in Selangor like what they did in Perak not too long ago.
Selamat Moodeka everyone!