Saturday, 29 October 2011

Maembong's Art Gallery: History of Malaysia 1940-2011

History of Malaysia from the beginning of the Pacific War of WW2 to present day as the politicians mould it. Done in 5 year segments on 185x244cm canvas linked.

Segment 1
History of MALAYA 1940-1944......

The Pacific War began when the Japanese forces landed at Pantai Sabak, Kota Baru, Kelantan and easily overran the Malay Peninsula and Singapore and their airforce sank the British warships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse off the east coast waters. The British surrendered, and the populace experienced dreadful and miserable life under Japanese occupation. Rice became very scarce, tapioca became staple. Certain section of the locals organised guerrilla movements against the Japanese including the Malayan Peoples Anti Japanese Army (MPAJA) or the communist 'Three Star' force, with mainly Chinese membership, being the most influential. The Japanese administration attempted to win the hearts of the Malays by recognising the status of the Malay rulers, who in reality were powerless. The atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Americans led to the capitulation of Japanese forces, ending the war. The communists occupied major Malayan towns and ruthlessly executed suspected Japanese collaborators, mostly Malays. After two weeks of bloodbath the British reoccupy Malaya and stopped the carnage. The Japanese occupation nevertheless taught the local populace that an eastern force could defeat western colonial powers.

Segment 2
History of MALAYA / PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU 1945 -1949...

The British government sent Harold MacMichael with the Malayan Union plan and managed to coerce the Malay rulers into signing the agreements. Edward Gent arrived as the first Governor but was met with bitter opposition from Malay nationalists, and that led Onn Jaafar to organise the Malays into a political movement and formed United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). Other Malay radical groups under Ahmad Boestamam and Ishak Hj Muhammad established the youth movement Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API). Faced with fierce opposition the British relented and Malayan Union was replaced by the Federation of Malaya. The communist took to the jungle and launched an insurgency against the government, hence the 'declaration of emergency'. In the face of communist threat, Tan Cheng Lock formed the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) to look to the welfare of the Chinese community. The British proposed 'jus soli' (citizenship by birth) as the basis for citizenship but was rejected by Malay nationalists, Aminuddin Baki, Mahathir Mohamad, Siti Hasmah, Abdullah Ayub among others.

Segment 3
History of PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU 1950-1954.....

To appease Malay opposition to jus soli, RIDA (Rural Industrial Development Authority) was formed to improve their conditions; Onn Jaafar assumed the first chairmanship but Malay opposition to jus soli continued. Disillusioned, Onn left UMNO. Tengku Abdul Rahman was elected the second President of UMNO after defeating Ahmad Fuad who in turn left UMNO and formed the Pan Malayan Islamic Party (now PAS). Meanwhile the communists intensified their operations. The British High Commissioner Henry Gurney was killed in an ambush at Fraser's Hill. The Bukit Kepong police station was attacked and most police defenders along with their families died. Gerald Templer was appointed to replace Gurney. Strategic new villages were built in remote areas to deny the communists food and medical supplies. 'Home Guards' were formed to provide security to new villages; women and old citizens recruited and taught the use of firearms. Commonwealth forces were brought in to help. Templer's strategies of winning the 'hearts and minds' eventually brought victory and many communist infested areas were declared 'white areas'. UMNO and MCA formed the Alliance Party and won the contest in the first municipal election in Kuala Lumpur and formed the Kuala Lumpur Municipal Council. This victory attracted the Malayan Indian Congress (MIC) under V.T. Sambanthan to join the alliance. The cry for independence gathered momentum with certain persons mocking the term 'merdeka' (independence) as 'mentega' (butter). A small section of nationalists wanted to use coercion in the fight for independence and they formed the 'Barisan 33' (Front 33).

Segment 4
History of PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU 1955 - 1959.....

The first federal legislative council election saw the Alliance Party symbolised by the 'sailing ship' overwhelmingly winning 51 of the 52 seats. Tengku Abdul Rahman became the first Chief Minister of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Together with the Chief Minister of Singapore David Marshall and Tan Cheng Lock, Tengku met Chin Peng the Malayan Communist Party Secretary General in Baling to negotiate their unconditional surrender and return to society. Chin Peng countered with numerous impossible demands. The meeting was a failure. Later Tengku headed a Malayan delegation to London to discuss independence. The mission was successful and the delegates returned to a tumultuous reception at the Bandar Hilir square in Malacca. The Stadium Merdeka was built for the Declaration of Independence. The Tengku became the first Prime Minister and Abdul Razak Hussein his deputy. The Yamtuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan was proclaimed the first Yang diPertuan Agong (King). As a strategy for national development, Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), Dewqn Bahasa & Pustaka and Bank Negara (Central Bank) were established. A new national school system and adult education were introduced. The first national election saw the Alliance winning landslide victory over the PMIP, Parti Negara, Labour Party, and the Peoples' Progressive Party.

Segment 5

We can call the 60's as the Independence 'filling' years. I was in my primary school. The first King passed away and the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Hishamudin Alam Shah was installed as the second ruler. Shortly His Majesty too passed away and was replaced by the Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Putra. The first International competition for Quran recital held in Kuala Lumpur. Several major projects such as the maternity hospital, Parliament building, the National Museum, Stadium Negara were initiated. Syed Nasir Ismail, the new director of DBP launched the 'Use the National Language campaigns'. The University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur was established as a division of University Malaya Singapore, which eventually moved to Kuala Lumpur. A contingent of the Malayan armed forces joined the UN Command for peacekeeping duties in the Congo. Rubber and tin remained the major source of national income. Television in black and white make its debut. Strong opposition towards the Federation of Malaysia as proposed by the Tunku, was vindicated by the Lord Cobbold Report who confirmed the wishes of the people of North Borneo, Sarawak, Brunei and Singapore to join Malaya in the Federation. Brunei pulled out at the last moment, but Singapore remained. Indonesia's strong opposition lead President Sukarno to declare a policy of military 'confrontation' but was soon defeated. President Macapagal of the Philippines voiced some opposition and proposed the formation of a greater 'Malay' confederation -MAPHILINDO. The Alliance Party easily won the first Malaysian general election of 1964 and the People's Action Party (PAP) under Lee Kuan Yew retained control of Singapore.

Segment 6
1965 -1969

Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah of Terengganu was installed as the fourth King. The PAP initiated slogan of 'Malaysian Malaysia' aroused deep resentment among Malays. Constant bickering and disagreement with Lee Kuan Yew led Tunku to declare the separation of Singapore. PAP was de-registered but re-emerged as DAP (Democratic Action Party). Several major institutions were established during this period among them the National Mosque, Bank Bumiputra, Federal Marketing Authority (FAMA), Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), Angkasapuri (radio-television building), Pernas (National Corporation), Bank Pertanian, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC). The newly elected President of Indonesia General Suharto adopted a policy of peaceful co-operation with Malaysia and the Foreign Minister Adam Malik met with Malaysian Deputy Premier Abdul Razak Hussein to seal the accord. ASEAN as proposed by Tunku was formed to include the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore. The 'Salleh System' was introduced whereby police beats were established within housing and commercial areas. Residential secondary schools were brought to rural districts. Activists of the national language lobbied strongly for the passage of the National Language Act in Parliament. The DAP resurrected 'Malaysian Malaysia' fostering anti-Malay and anti-rulers sentiments. As a result the Alliance Party was returned with a narrow victory in the 1969 general election. Chinese radicals celebrated the occasion with pompous parades throughout Kuala Lumpur. The Malays countered with a larger procession on 13th May, and resulted in open riot. Emergency was declared, Parliament suspended, and the country was ruled by the National Operation Council with Abdul Razak Hussein at the helm.

Segment 7
1970 -1974.

Sultan Abdul Halim Mua'dzam Shah of Kedah was elected the fifth King. Abdul Razak Hussein became Prime Minister and Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman his deputy. The interim government introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP) to restructure society and eradicate poverty, the Rukunegara and National Culture Policy as the bases for national unity. Several new projects were completed including Central Bank Building, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and a National Confederation of Writers Associations (Gapena) was instituted. The first Malaysian commercial ship 'Bunga Raya' was launched. Other establishments included the Urban Development Authority (UDA), National Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) and the Centre for Youth Development to train Malay youths in competencies. Abdul Razak was the first Malaysian Premier to visit the Communist Block, Russia and China, and met with Chairman Mao Tze Tung to discuss common bilateral issues. The MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airline) was separated into the Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore International Airline (SIA). Kuala Lumpur was declared a city. Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) was incorporated. To focus on development and reduce inter-party frictions, Abdul Razak formed the 'Barisan Nasional' (National Front) through a coalition with several opposition parties. Economic slowdown forced agriculture to be re-emphasised among the population.The general election of 1974 brought victory to the Barisan Nasional (BN) with the DAP and PRM losing heavily. Kuala Lumpur was declared a Federal Territory.

Segment 8

Sultan Yahya Petra of Kelantan became the sixth Ruler. The 'Green Book' scheme encouraged agricultural activities among smallholders. Agricultural products began to be exported. Oil palm emerged as a major source of national income especially with further development of land settlement schemes and oil palm factories in the interior. The nation was rocked by the sudden demise of Prime Minister Abdul Razak. Hussein Onn became the third Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad his deputy. The Third Malaysia Plan was launched with the NEP as the thrust. Meanwhile, PAS fractured into factions following a power struggle between its President, Asri Muda and the Chief Minister of Kelantan, Mohd Nasir. Supporters of the factions rioted, resulting in the declaration of emergency in the state. MAS workers went on strike to demand better pay. Political considerations caused the Labour Party to be declared illegal and all forms of political gathering were made unlawful including the association of local labour groups with international bodies and the use of 'moon and stars' as symbols for political parties. PAS broke away from the National Front and changed its symbol to the 'full moon'. BN emerged victorious in the 1978 general election in all states including Kelantan. The national education policy expanded to include co-curricular activities. In fisheries, the freshwater culture was propagated. With the passing of Sultan Yahya Petra, Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang was enthroned as the seventh Ruler. To improve the quality of life, the suburban housing scheme was rapidly implemented.

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