Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin has alleged that a war monument in a private cemetary in Nilai was a memorial for Malaysia’s communists. Last Saturday, Zainuddin told Bernama that two such memorials exist in Sarawak and Nilai, Selangor. He said erecting such memorials were insensitive and disrespectful as many Malaysians were killed during the communist insurgency. “The people must remember that at one time, they were the nation's number one enemy,” said Zainuddin.
On wednesday, Zainuddin said the MCA has accepted his explanation over the issue of memorials for communists found at several Chinese cemeteries, and he considered the matter resolved amicably. He said he cleared the matter with MCA Vice-President Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek at a meeting and did not dispute it if there had been members of the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) who felt they were not communists.
"I explained the matter to Dr Chua and he accepted the explanation. As such, we should end the issue," he told reporters when met after his ministry's post-Cabinet meeting, here. "As for me, only those who feel they are communists would be offended by what I had said," he said.
Several Chinese newspapers had highlighted the matter following Zainuddin's remarks that he was displeased that some insensitive people were erecting memorials for communists as this showed disrespect to those who had fought the communists.
Zainuddin, who is also the Member of Parliament for Merbok, had alleged during a speech at a Merbok Puteri Umno function last week that such memorials had been found at private Chinese cemeteries in Sarawak and in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. According to him, memorials should only be erected for those who had fought for the country's independence or against the communists, irrespective of which group or movement they belonged to. "We should not pay tribute to one movement or group that involved only a particular race but individuals or larger organisations that had played instrumental roles for the benefit of all the races in the country," he said.
Claiming to be very well-versed in history, Zainuddin appeared to be ignorant of the fact that millions of Chinese Malaysians had suffered the worst treatment of the Japanese imperial soldiers. Prior to that, many of the Nanyang Chinese had contributed a lot of resources to China to fight off the invading Japanese armies.
Hence, when the Japanese invaded Malaya and Singapore in 1941, the first thing they did was to demand a 50 million pay-off from the Chinese community or face execution. Many of the businessmen had to sell off their properties and businesses cheaply in order to raise the money required.
Unfortunately, the community was only able to raise half the amount by the stipulated dateline. What happened next was well documented in history books. The attrocities of the Japanese imperial soldiers had pushed many young Chinese and even Malay to form the MPAJA.
Branding all the MPAJA members as communists is the most distasteful and irresponsible action. I have said elsewhere and I will say it here again. The MCA does not speak or decide for all Chinese Malaysians. What Zainuddin has alleged hurts the feelings of many Chinese Malaysians especially those whose ancestors had sacrificed their lives to fight the invaders.
The monuments of shame which should be torn down are the MATRADE building and the toll plazas which are monuments of corruption!
Then again, no one expects Zainuddin to be able to see the different. He ain' that bright.