KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has rejected a claim that only Malays had battled foreign colonialists and communist insurgents in Malaysia, while other ethnic groups had played no role in rising up against the nation’s enemies.
He said experts on history, such as Universiti Malaya’s emeritus professor Khoo Kay Kim, had recorded the contributions of various races in rising against the imperial Japanese army of the Second World War and the communists after independence.
“In this matter, the assertion that only one race had struggled is in my opinion not accurate,” the home minister said at a press conference after officiating at an event held at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity here today.
Ismail Mina Ahmad, the chairman of Ummah, an umbrella group for Muslim organisations, was reported as saying at a forum on Jan 13 that only Malays had resisted the British colonialists and the Japanese occupiers.
He claimed that as only the Malays fought the communists, the community became a target of the predominantly-Chinese insurgency that lasted 40 years.
He was also reported to have said that outspoken minorities posed a danger to the position of Islam in the country and Malay political rule, aiming to usurp power and even wanting to be prime minister.
Zahid said such polemic was unnecessary as Malaysia had a plural society where all communities had contributed their best to its progress.
“When we were faced with enemies who tried to do damage to our country, the unity among the people of Malaysia, or Malaya then, proved to be good,” he said.