KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 — Activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri explained today that a forum discussing a review of Malaysia’s history textbooks was hijacked by those throwing racial provocations and the bogeyman of communism.
Clarifying the forum, part of the “A People’s History of the Malayan Emergency”, Fadiah said Malaysians have the right to discuss and understand more about the events in the country’s history.
“It is time we accept the fact that historical events that happened cannot be erased. We have the right to know what had happened, for us to fully understand why it happened,” said Fadiah, who was one of the panellist in the forum.
She said the issue has been discussed by academics and those who were involved in it.
“It is a huge betrayal when there are those among us who attended in the discussions, but are vehement in amplifying a malicious accusation without scrutiny,” she added.
Fadiah said she had shared two main topics in the forum: the leftist nationalist movement involving Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API) led by Ahmad Boestamam, and the history of the People’s Constitution that goes against the British divide-and-conquer policy allegedly supported by Umno.
Another panellist, amateur historian Fahmi Reza, also wrote on Facebook saying the current history text books are skewed towards favouring Umno, and are biased.
“If the Pakatan Harapan new government will rewrite the history text books, will they continue the policy of the old government who used the books as a propaganda tool for the ruling parties?” Fahmi asked.
“A People’s History of the Malayan Emergency” was a two-day event co-organised by several civil societies, including Imagined Malaysia, Pusat Sejarah Rakyat, Malaysia Muda, Projek Dialog, Students in Resistance, and Gerakbudaya Bookstore.
Malay daily Utusan Malaysia had reported that the forum today turned heated after Fadiah and Fahmi had allegedly refused to “rationally answer” questions from the public.
Malay rights group Perkasa had earlier urged the police to cancel the event, accusing it of trying to “recognise” communists.
The Malayan Emergency was a 12-year guerilla war between colonial Commonwealth forces against the insurgent Malayan Communist Party. Tens of thousands from both sides, and civilians reportedly died during the conflict.