The following text, written by the Partai Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), is reproduced from the Tricontinental Bulletin No. 62, May 1971, a communication produced by the Tricontinental magazine in Cuba. Download the original bulletin here.
At the end of the Second World War, after the defeat of the Japanese fascists in Malaya by the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), Malaya was reoccupied by the British. Army in September 1945, to reestablish colonial rule and the exploitation of Malaya by the British ruling class. The fascist and dictatorial British military administration was set up to implement this policy. To achieve their objective amidst strong resistance by the Malayan people, the British started the “Emergency” in June 1948, to suppress and kill all the patriotic and progressive forces of Malaya. More than 186 trade union leaders were killed or imprisoned; more than 50,000 other patriots were killed, imprisoned, or deported; 13,000 political prisoners were arrested, and over 600,000 people placed in concentration camps.
It was in this political vacuum created by the “Emergency” that the reactionary regimes of the Rahman-Kuan Yew clique were groomed to take power. Rahman and Kuan Yew, the so-called leaders of “Malaysia” and Singapore, were hand-picked by the British colonialists and were imposed on the people as the so-called leaders of the British-engineered “independence movement.” The Alliance Party, for example, is a marriage of convenience between three racialist parties (the United Malay Nationalist Organization [UMNO], the Malayan Indian Congress, and the Malayan Chinese Association) and represents feudalist and comprador capitalist elements acceptable to the British colonialists. The Alliance Party has been able to maintain its power since then through the timely use of the various forms of “emergency powers” which enable it to make widespread and arbitrary arrests, thus effectively suppressing all opposition.
In the last election (May 1969), which remains to be completed, the Alliance Party won only 49% of the vote in West “Malaysia,” and was expected to suffer heavy losses in East “Malaysia” and thus lose its two-third majority which is crucial if the Alliance is to be able to continue its policy of amending the constitution when it feels like it, and other autocratic policies. Using the excuse of the racial riots in May, the National Operations Council (NOC), a fascist military dictatorship, was imposed on the people of “Malaysia” and the election in East “Malaysia” suspended indefinitely. Hundreds of opposition members were arrested, and “emergency” laws reinstated.
Formation of Fascist Organizations
On December 21, 1967, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Prime Minister of “Malaysia,” announced the formation of a “strong organization.” It is now known that this organization is the Pemuda Tahan Lasak, a fascist organization of unemployed youth of one particular community. Its purpose is best revealed by quotes from its working paper entitled War of Nerves: “to kill the strength of opposition parties”; to deal “death blows against the opposition parties”; “intelligence work is not confined to observation and collecting data, but also to physical damage or injury to opposition parties.” This fascist paramilitary youth organization was trained all over the country and some sections were also trained by British troops at the Jungle Warfare School at Kota Tinggi.
By May 1969, there were at least 50,000 such youth organized by UMNO, a constituent member of the Alliance Party, under the leadership of Senu Abdul Rahman, ex-Minister of Information and current. Secretary-General of UMNO.
The defense expenditures of “Malaysia”, mainly for the training of paramilitary youth organizations and the enlargement of the armed forces, have been increased to 25% of the national budget.
The various Youth Brigades of the “rugged society” of Singapore are also examples of fascist youth organizations that are being formed in Singapore to be used against the workers at the bidding of their master, the fascist Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Recently the Singapore Government purchased 50 light tanks, presumably to be used against the people of Singapore for so-called internal security.
Suppression of Political Parties
The history of politics in Malaya has always been a story of the suppression of political parties and progressive forces. For example, over 300 organizations and political parties, including the Malayan Communist Party, were banned at the beginning of the “Emergency” in June 1948. To this day the Malayan Communist Party and many other organizations are still banned.
During the few months prior to the general election more than 300 political leaders were arrested. Practically all the full-time cadres of the Labour Party of Malaya were arrested in those few months, more than 200 in all. Since the race riots the number of political detainees has increased manifold.
Political leaders who are outspoken and determined to oppose without compromise the neocolonial policies of the fascist government of “Malaysia” have been harrassed in various ways.
Since the formation of the National Operations Council, and the declaration of an “emergency,” all opposition parties are banned from carrying out political activities. There is a blanket ban on all political publications. Only the pronouncements of the Alliance Party are permitted.
Following the tradition of the British colonialists, the present neocolonial puppet regimes of “Malaysia” and Singapore have detained without trial political leaders and progressive elements who are opposed to their slavish and exploitative policies.
There are at least 300 known political prisoners and detainees being held in Changi and Queenstown prisons in Singapore. Some of these prisoners have been held since 1957.
Before the May riot, in “Malaysia,” there were at least 2,000 political prisoners in the concentration camps scattered all over the country. During the May riots many thousands were arrested including politicians who had won seats in the election. With the number of people missing since the riots running into thousands, and the power given by the NOC to the police and military to dispose of bodies without prior identification, it is not possible to determine exactly how many were killed or how many are still languishing in concentration camps.
To cope with the tremendous increase in the number of political prisoners since May 1969, concentration camps (known discretely as “rehabilitation centers”) have mushroomed all over the country.
Repression of Students
With the blanket suppression of all political activities, students are now the only remaining voice that can articulate the protests and aspirations of the people. Even this last remaining voice has been throttled. Intimidations and false allegations and detention without trial have been meted out to student leaders who have braved the police state to articulate the just demands of the people of Malaya (including Singapore).
In July 1969, the Prime Minister of “Malaysia” accused without a shred of evidence, Syed Hamid Ali, the then President of the University of Malaya Student Union (UMSU), of being responsible for the Labour Party demonstration which took place before the elections allegedly responsible for the racial riots. This is sheer fabrication! First of all the racial riots had nothing to do with the Labour Party demonstration. (In fact, there is mounting evidence to indicate that the Pemuda Tahan Lasak of the “rough and ready youth” was responsible for the racial riots.) Secondly, the President of UMSU had nothing to do with the Labour Party demonstration. Such fabrications are similar to the tactics used by Goebbels!
At the end of August 1969, police brutally beat up students who were demonstrating peacefully on the university campus against the Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, and his politico-military dictatorial machine – the National Operations Council. This was followed a few days later by the arbitrary arrest of four student leaders. International support rallied by students overseas forced the government to release the student leaders. That incident showed the role international opinion can play in curbing the fascist methods of the Alliance government.
Similar practices are taking place in Singapore. The Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has warned all students that they are liable to two years military service or can have their scholarships withdrawn if they do not comply with his instructions to stop all political activities.
All these examples are indications of the rise of fascism ‘in “Malaysia” and Singapore. They are sufficient for freedom-loving people all over the world to add their voice of protest against the fascist Rahman and Kuan Yew regimes. The facts should also be used to expose whenever and wherever possible the truth of the situation in Malaya.
Down with fascism all over the world!
Partai Rakyat Malaya (People’s Party of Malaya)