Communists' role in Malaysian independent recognized, historian says

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PETALING JAYA, Malaysia -- The communists' role in fighting for independence has been recognised by no less than first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, a historian said.

Two former deputy prime ministers -- Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman and Tun Ghafar Baba -- have also publicly acknowledged the contributions of the left wing movement towards nationhood, former Universiti Sains Malaysia history professor Dr Cheah Boon Kheng said today.

"Malay attitudes towards the communist movement have been changing over the years. While critical of some of their deeds, especially assasinations and acts of terrorism, many Malays now accept the fact that without their armed struggle against the British, Britain would not have readily conceded Malaya her independence in 1957," Cheah said in an e-mail interview.

He noted that the Tunku, in his 1983 memoirs "Lest We Forget", had said: "Just as Indonesia was fighting a bloody battle, so were the communists of Malaya who, too, fought for independence."...

Cheah was responding to reports that the Censorship Board had banned Amir Muhammad's latest film "Apa Khabar Orang Kampung" which interviews former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members because the film was "historically inaccurate" and tried to value the communists' struggle in Malaya.

"The (board's) reasons reflect intolerance towards alternative interpretations of historical events. Only in a totalitarian state is there only one version -- the official version - of any historical event," he said.

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