Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Ballad of Mustapha Hussain


Mustapha Hussain is very important figure in Malaysian History especially in our struggle towards independence...yet his name is not mentioned in our history books...I first heard about the story of Mustapha Hussain back in 2007 during a lecture of one of my final year Economics subject for my BECS course. I was so captivated by the story of Mustapha Hussain and the man himself that I decided to do my own mini-research about Mustapha Hussain...luckily for me, my uni's library have 2 copies of Mustapha Hussain memoir titled "Malay Nationalism before UMNO: The Memoir of Mustapha Hussain"...
















Last week I was at the 2009 KLIBF in PWTC...To my utter delight I saw Mustapha Hussain memoirs "Malays Nationalism Before UMNO" at SIRD/Gerak Budaya's booth...Only two copies available...There and then me and my mate bought the book for one each at a discounted price!!!

Mustapha Hussain's memoirs was originally written in Malay... It consists of 655 pages!!!118 pages more than Chin Peng's tome "My Side of History"... Published by DBP in 1999,sadly this book is out of print. However in 2005 Utusan Publications published an English version of Enchik Mustapha's memoirs titled "Malay Nationalism Before UMNO"...This English version was translated by Enchik Mustapha's own daughter Insun Sony Mustapha and edited by Jomo K.S...

Mustapha Hussain's was KMM first Vice-President...At that time Ibrahim Yaakob was KMM first president...KMM was the first political party in Malaya...The sole purpose of KMM was attaining independence for Malaya...KMM(Kesatuan Melayu Muda) or Young Malays' Union in English were registered as a social and sport association just to deter British suspicions...KMM real name is KESATUAN MALAYA MERDEKA(Union for Independent Malaya) ...

Enchik Mustapha is one of the few educated Malays not from aristocratic elite families(very rare during that time and age)...He was a lecturer in Agricultural School of Malaya in Serdang (presently UPM) from 1933 until World War 2 broke out...The Japanese appointed Enchik Mustapha as a de-facto leader of the Malays during their push towards Singapore...This happens because of Ibrahim Yaacob"s secret deal with the Japanese that KMM will act as their Fifth Columnists once the Japanese force enter Malaya...At that time Ibrahim Yaacob was imprisoned by the Brits in Singapore...

During his Japanese forced-reign as the Malays de-facto leader, Enchik Mustapha save hundreds of Malay soldiers,policemen,volunteers and civillians. This is also marks the time of Enchik Mustapha's first attempt to gain independence for Malaya... Dr Cheah Boon Kheng in his book Red Star over Malaya wrote:
"In fact in january 1942 after the Japanese force had enteres Kuala Lumpur, a conflict of aims had arisen when Mustpha Hussain asked the Japanese commanders to back a proclamation of Malay independence, citing Japan's promise to liberate Malays from the British rule. But the request was turned down."

In 1945 with the Japanese sensing defeat, they entertained the idea of proclaiming Malaya's independence...As a result Hodosho and KRIS were formed...Enchik Mustapha played an active role in KRIS and in drafting an independent Malaya constitution(based by the American Declaration of Independence)...This marked his second attempt of gaining independenc for Malaya...Malaya were to announce her independence on 17th August 1945!!! However it was not meant to be...The Japanese surrendered on 15th August 1945...Independence cheated by 48 hours...When recalling the moment, Enchik Mustapha described it as his "deepest regret" and "one of the most bitter moments of my life"...

Enchik Mustapha faced the brunt of the Brits' anger when they came back to Malaya...He was imprisoned from 1945-1946 for "collabrating" with the Japanese...He was freed only when hundreds of Malay soldiers whom he saved during the Japanese occupation signed and submitting a petission demanding his release...

In December 1946, Enchik Mustapha participated actively in drafting another Independent Malaya's constitution through the PUTERA-AMCJA conference (more on the happenings during the conference, read here)...He actively participated in the capacity as the assistant of Dr. Burhanuddin Helmy (MNP's President)... The result of the effort by PUTERA-AMCJA is the The People's Constitutional Proposals for Malaya... However the Brits totally ignored the proposal...Resulting in the 1947 All-Malaya Hartal...

Most astonishingly Mustapha Hussain could just as become our first Prime Minister!!..Enchik Mustapha was 2-votes away from becoming UMNO 2nd President... This happened in 1951 after Datuk Onn Jaafar left UMNO...After his defeat to Tunku Abdul Rahman, Enchik Mustapha's supporters nominated him for the Deputy-Presidency post which he faced Tun Abdul Razak... Enchik Mustapha received the same votes as Tun Razak...To resolve this the chairman of the meeting, Tan Sri Noah Omar (UMNO Permanent Chairman) gave the casting vote to his prospective son-in-law Tun Razak...

Mustapha Hussain was truly an unsung hero!!!He kept quiet and go on about his life in sleepy Matang for 30 plus years...Then in the late '70s Ibrahim Yaacob wrote a letter to Tun Abdul Razak(the Prime Minister at that time) accusing Enchik Mustapha of heinous crimes during the Japanese occupation...The reason Enchik Mustpha wrote his memoirs is to set the record straight and safeguard his name and reputation for the sake of his descandents...Otherwise all of this will might just go to the grave with Enchik Mustapha...

Malay Nationalism before UMNO is not just a memoir...It is an important record of events and accounts of Malaya's significant pre-Merdeka moments which shaped our struggle towards independence...More than that this memoir describe the way of live and the mentality of the Malays during the British colonialization...A must-read and must-have for all Malaysians especially the so-called "nationalistic" Malays...


-picture of Malay Nationalism before UMNO was taken from Fahmi Reza's Blog 10Tahun Sebelum Merdeka...




3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Reading your blog on Mustapha Hussain touches my heart as I am one of his great grandchildren am truly honoured that there is someone whom noticed him. Thanks Gombakrock. :D

Ramanathan said...

Thank you for pointing out Mustapha Hussain.
I thought you might like to know that I have written 4 pieces based on Mustapha's memoirs.
I'll probably write several more.
This is the first post: http://write2rest.blogspot.com/2011/05/mustapha-man-who-was-nearly-president.html