The PAS deputy president calls Utusan's report “lies and distortions”.
Last Saturday, the Umno-owned daily had quoted the PAS leader as saying that the communists who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station during the Emergency on Feb 3, 1950, were heroes and not the 17 policemen who died in the attack.
Utusan also quoted him as saying that the country’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and Umno’s first president, Onn Jaafar, should not be recognised as freedom fighters because they were also British officers.
Up to 20 police reports have been lodged against Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, over the weekend accompanied by accusations that he intends to re-write history to turn Malaysia into a republic.
Yesterday, Mat Sabu declined to comment on the report, saying that he could not remember what he had said during his ceramah and needed to review it first.
However, today he told FMT that he had listened to the recordings of his speech and confirmed that Utusan’s report was “distorted and a lie”.
“I even asked all my friends who attended the ceramah to be doubly sure that I didn’t convey what was reported in Utusan,” he said. “The report is definitely false. So I will meet my lawyer after Hari Raya to discuss suing Utusan over this matter.”
According to Mat Sabu, he had mentioned the Bukit Kepong attack but not the communists or the name of their leaders.
“What I said was that Mat Indera (Muhammad Indera) is a Malay hero because he fought against British rule,” he explained. “I never mentioned the communists, that was Utusan’s exaggeration.”
Mat Indera, however, is known as a Malay communist and was said to have led the Bukit Kepong attack.
But when this was pointed out, Mat Sabu insisted that he never hailed Mat Indera as a hero for the attack or for leading the communists.
He reiterated that Mat Indera was a hero simply for fighting against British rule.
‘Merdeka an Umno celebration’
He also denied saying that the country’s former premiers were not freedom fighters.
“What I said was that Merdeka should cease to be an Umno celebration and become a Malaysian celebration by recognising the other people who contributed to the nation’s independence, like Ahmad Boestaman and Ibrahim Yaakob,” he clarified.
Ahmad was the founding president of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) while Ibrahim was the founder of Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM). Both parties were said to be affiliated with leftist idelogies.
“These icons are not being recognised as fighters for independence because they didn’t belong to Umno,” he added. “So when we overlook the opposition’s contribution, then Merdeka becomes an Umno celebration.”
Mat Sabu agreed that Umno-owned media have been attacking him since he was elected PAS deputy earlier this year and speculated that it could be due to his friendship with the other races.
“Umno doesn’t want a leader like me to exist,” he laughed. “They just want me to be a PAS leader and not a national one that reaches out to all races.”
“And they are also probably using me to deflect attention from their dirty issues like the electoral rule reform.”
Mat Sabu also dismissed an incident of the defaced posters of PAS spiritual leader, Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Shah Alam MP, Khalid Samad, that were discovered in Section 23 in Shah Alam yesterday.
The posters of Nik Aziz were defaced with cross markings while those of Khalid were defaced with red ink. While the culprits have not yet been identified, Mat Sabu insinuated that BN had a hand in the incident.
“Vandalism is a normal practice for the other side,” he said. “It’s nothing to take too seriously. This is just another example of their characteristics.”