Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Friday, 02 September 2011 22:54
Malaya's independence: Putera-Amcja were the true fighters, not Umno
Written by Viktor Wong, Malaysia Chronicle
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EDITOR'S PICK The United Malays National Organization or UMNO were not the actual initiators for the independence of Malaya from the British colonialists. In 1946, after regaining control of Malaya following the surrender of Imperial Japan in aftermath of World War II, the British Military Administration or BMA planned to establish a Malayan Union to prolong their colonial rule.

UMNO then protested on the basis that the new colonial system would further "erode the powers of the Malay people and the Rulers". However, this was only UMNO's claim and not really substantiated.

Nonetheless, the BMA then offered UMNO independence for Malaya in 1946, but UMNO leaders promptly rejected the offer on the basis that they were not ready to handle an independent Malaya. One Umno leader even quoted, "...nak buat sebatang jarum pun tak pandai, nak merdeka?"

This was UMNO's first betrayal of the cause for an independent Malaya, held dearly and fought for fiercely by the other independence fighters.

Other more active groups

Even before UMNO'sestablishment, there were already a number of political parties actively working on the ground for independence for Malaya.

These political parties, which came together under the coalition with the acronym of PUTERA-AMCJA, had fought very hard to get an independent Malaya, only to have UMNO callously reject the British offer.

PUTERA (Pusat Tenaga Rakyat) comprises the following Malay-based political parties:

1. Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM), previously known as Parti Nasionalis Melayu,

2. Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API),

3. Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS),

4. Gerakan Angkatan Muda (Geram),

5. Barisan Tani SeMalaya (Batas),

6. Majlis Agama Tertinggi SeMalaya (Mata) or also known as Hizbul Muslimin.

AMCJA (All-Malayan Council of Joint Action) is a coalition of multiracial political parties and unions consisting of the following:

1. Malayan Democratic Union (MDU),

2. Pan-Malayan Federation of Trade Unions,

3. Clerical Unions of Penang, Perak, Selangor and Melaka,

4. Malayan New Democratic Youth League,

5. Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Ex-Comrades Association,

6. Malayan Indian Congress (MIC),

7. General Labour Union,

8. Selangor Women's Federation,

9. Straits Chinese British Association,

10. Malayan Communist Party (MCP),

11. Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce,

12. Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce,

13. Malayan Peasants' Union.

The second betrayal

After UMNO's rejection, the two coalitions PUTERA and AMCJA joined forces and continued to pursue independence. They held round after round of negotiations with the British colonial government through the years from 1946 until 1948.

And in 1947, a draft People's Constitution was put forward by PUTERA-AMCJA to the British colonial government but it was rejected on the basis that the proposal was "too leftist" and also because of protest by UMNO.

This was then the second time that UMNO betrayed the Malayan independence fighters - by rejecting the proposed People's Constitution put forward by PUTERA-AMCJA.

And it was because of UMNO's continuous betrayal of the Malayan fight for independence that the British placed further restrictions on PUTERA-AMCJA's efforts to pursue their "Kemerdekaan Malaya".

UMNO's backstabbing pushed Malay leaders to join MCP

This prompted some of the top Malay leaders from the coalition such as Mat Indera, Rashid Maideen, Shamsiah Fakeh, Abdullah CD to join forces with the MCP and fight for independence via armed struggle.

On UMNO's repeated instigation, the British authorities issued a total ban on PUTERA-AMCJA and most of its component parties in 1948. Many of its political leaders were arrested and imprisoned. The declaration of the Emergency Rule followed later the same year on the pretext that "the MCP had already declared war on the Malayan government".

So, this is the real history of how UMNO had betrayed the struggle for independence, not once but twice.

Firstly, by rejecting the British offer on the basis that they were unprepared. Secondly, by protesting against the proposed People's Constitution forwarded by the other political parties who were also seeking independence for Malaya.

- Malaysia Chronicle