MALACCA, May 9 — Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said historians and academicians must prove that Hang Tuah is a myth, and not depend on disclaimers and theories.
“People who say that Hang Tuah is a mythical figure must provide concrete proof. If they cannot do so, they should stop questioning Hang Tuah’s existence and not turn into a polemic that benefits no one,” he told Bernama here.
Historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim reportedly said a DNA test should be done to prove whether the existence of Hang Tuah was just a myth.
Meanwhile, Prof Dr Ahmat Adam accepted there existed such an admiral in the Malacca Sultanate, but rejected the admiral was Hang Tuah.
The historian claimed that the Malays suffered from inferiority complex and thus needed a hero in the form of Hang Tuah.
Idris rejected that Hang Tuah was a myth since the story of the Malay warrior had been told in detail for over 600 years, and is well known not only in the Malay annals but also in the Malay Archipelago and across the globe.
“A story that is written in detail is not something that can be easily fabricated. The clothes, weapons, madah and pantun were all recorded. Thus, can Hang Tuah be a myth,” he said.
Institute of Historical Research and Patriotism Malaysia chairman Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Jamil Mukmim said the existence of Hang Tuah should not be debated as his existence had been clearly proven via research by historians and literary experts 60 years ago.
“Scholars have long accepted the fact that Hang Tuah existed in history, not only in Malay history, but also that of China, Portugal and the latest discovery, Japan.
“People questioned Hang Tuah’s existence when there is no proof to back it, but now all has been proven and only two reject it (Hang Tuah’s existence),” said the historian without naming the individuals.
Mohd Jamil said in a discussion on Hang Tuah’s existence, those who rejected his existence failed to provide new proof to back their claim.
He and his team of researchers are studying Hang Tuah’s trail from Pahang to Malacca (mission to bring Tun Teja back to Malacca), and when contacted by Bernama he was still doing research in Bera, Pahang.
Malaysian National Silat Federation chairman Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam said Hang Tuah’s image as a public figure is closely related to the Malay identity, and any attempt to ‘erase’ Hang Tuah is seen as a threat to the Malay identity.
“It never crossed my mind that Hang Tuah is non-existent as the name has become a part of the Malay identity since the days of our forefathers, and there have been lots of proof of his existence.
“Why do we still need to question Hang Tuah’s existence when we can direct our efforts in knowing in depth about him so that our future generation will be more appreciative of Hang Tuah,” he said. — Bernama