Under fire, Ummah and speakers dispute reports on convention

Gerakan Pembela Ummah chairman Ismail Mina Ahmad speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Gerakan Pembela Ummah chairman Ismail Mina Ahmad speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — Muslim coalition Ummah and some speakers said today that their remarks at the Rise of the Ummah Convention on Saturday were misreported or taken out of context.

During a press conference today, Ummah chairman Ismail Mina Ahmad and secretariat head Aminuddin Yahya contested the contents of the articles from the event, including those by Malay Mail.

“Ummah denies the content of the news reports because the speeches delivered by the speakers were misquoted and were exaggerated to the point that the truth was taken out of context,” said Aminuddin.

Touching on Ismail Mina’s speech in which he reportedly claimed only the Malay community resisted British colonialists, Japanese occupiers and the communists, Aminuddin claimed the former did not do so.

“He never said ‘only the Malays’ fought and he did not deny the support made by non-Malay soldiers and police officers after independence in fighting the Communists. The actions of the Malay Mail reporter who added the word ‘only’ has caused slander for Ismail,” said Aminuddin.

However, an online portal yesterday reported Ismail Mina as saying his comments that non-Malays did not fight the communists was a reference to the series of revenge killings committed by Bintang Tiga against Malays suspected of aiding the Japanese occupation.

“I was speaking about Bintang Tiga. It is wrong to lump them together with the communists because Bintang Tiga never admitted that they were communists. They were referred to as Bintang Tiga based on the symbol on their uniform and cap,” he reportedly said.

Historically, Bintang Tiga is recognised as established by Communist Party of Malaya during World War 2 to resist the Japanese occupation. Officially, it was known as the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and was trained and partially equipped by the British.

The group took over and ruled Malaya for two weeks after the Japanese war-machine surrendered and before the British returned with their administration.

During their rule, they organised a purge against Malays suspected of aiding the Japanese or being part of Jookidam, the police during Japanese occupation.

When it was pointed out that Bintang Tiga and PKM were interminably linked, Ismail Mina said he did not wish debate the matter, and only wanted to highlight the fact that Malays were targeted for reprisal during the period.

The cleric claimed today that the Malay community had been innocent of wrongdoing and were not stools of the Japanese military.

When asked if Ismail had any historical evidence to back his claim, he said: “My evidence is that there is no evidence saying that they were guilty.”

Ummah also disputed a report on remarks by Datuk Raof Husin, who represented the Malaysian Association of Former Education Officers at the convention, which presented him as saying the government was constitutionally bound to limit study aid to Bumiputeras.

They were also unhappy about a report on Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) chief executive Ahmad Yazid remarks regarding anti-discriminatory laws.

Like Ismail Mina’s case, Ummah claimed the two reports misquoted the speech and exaggerated the remarks.

When asked if Ummah would pursue action over the disputed reports, Ismail Mina said this was not necessary.

“If a Malay (Muslim) did that to me, I will just report it to Allah,” said Ismail Mina.

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