Looking back on the history of independence, Alfonso the alburqueque was the first man who managed to conquer and colonised Malacca. 1511 marked as the ending of the Malacca Sultanate Era. The colonisation then goes on and on by the Dutch and finally by the manipulative British who managed to force the Sultans of Tanah Melayu to accept their Residents.Resident were responsible to give advice in the matter of the states where as their true intentions was to exploit the land. Then the Japanese came with hidden agenda and catchy propaganda; “Asia for Asians” , trying to persuade people of Tanah Melayu that no one is better to help them except Japan.After colonisation for almost 5 years,and being vanquished in WWII,the administration went back to British again.
It had been 446 years of colonisation before we achieved our independence.We have seen the rise of Malay warriors; Datuk Maharajalela of Perak, Tok Janggut, Mat Kilau, Sharif Masahor and Rosly Dhoby whom fought for the freedom of their land until the last breath. Then we have Dato’Onn Jaafar who sparked the dream of being independence, relentlessly fought for the rights of Islam and the people of Tanah Melayu, and also set up UMNO to fight the Malayan Union.
Reminiscing the past once more, we have seen the strength of Dr Burhanuddin Helmy, who started the uprising of Islamic Politics, we sense the courage of Pendeta Zaaba who strive for The Malays and the value of Bahasa Melayu.The spirit of Ibu Zain who fought for the education of the Malays can still be felt until now. These unsung heroes of Malaya are the one who has shaped the reality of Merdeka.
All of them courageously strived in battle to uphold the Malay’s right who also the Muslims of Tanah Melayu. Their fighting was not only for the physical independence of Malaya, but it also for the freedom of Malay muslim intellectuals as for them to build a nation independently.
Yes. These are the hidden faces of Merdeka. The backbones of the independence journey.Yet… after 446 years of colonisation, of fights, of repression, of British’s divide and rule policy, there is one common factor that remains the same from 1511 until today.
From the day Portugis decided that it is the time to attack Malacca for their gold, glory and gospel until this very day, Islam has been never faded. Islam is highly upheld by the state proven in Article 3 (1) which clearly stated that Islam is the religion of the federation. It born within us, since the past to the present and insha-Allah until the future.
By looking back at Merdeka, it is not simply about gaining independence, but it is how our nation was built, and the lesson that our courageous heroes teach us. They fought persistently for Islam. Now,eventhough Islam is still here, yet it began to fade from the hearts of our citizens. If we managed to keep the identity and the essence of Islam with us for almost half decade of colonisation, plus with 58 years of independence, how can we be so ignorant in letting Islam to slip away from the nature of our people?
This is a serious wake up call to all muslims. Wake up, Muslims! We are under siege. We have liberalists who determined in trying to prove how conservative and extremist Muslims are.We could see the feminists who fought hard to reconcile feminism and Islam and now we have BERSIH, funded by NDI and silently dogged the intention of secularise our nation to the fullest. Are we still cowardly enough to sit down and watch Islam die from the hearts of the Muslims? Do we have the courage to pay the price of our ignorance later?
Truthfully,we are not independent enough until we embrace Islam to the fullest.
Bachelor Of Social Sciences (Socialwork Research),
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
PEMBINA UNIMAS Activist.