February 25, 2024

There is nothing to be proud about new villages, history expert tells Nga

KUALA LUMPUR: “I think he (Nga Kor Ming) understands history, he might want to erase the dark history of the Chinese new villages where some Chinese once supported the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).

“If he wants to erase that dark history, then he will distort history, we cannot ‘whiten’ those Chinese who supported the MCP.”

This was the comment from history expert, Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam, regarding the proposal of Housing and Local Government Minister Nga Kor Ming, to nominate the new villages in Selangor as a Unesco World Heritage Site to recognise the cultural and historical significance of these settlements.

Ramlah said the villages were established by the British to restrict the Chinese who supported the MCP, which provided food, medicines, and support.

“The new villages were built by the British on the edge and outskirts of the jungle, each person was given 10 acres (four hectares) of land and surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by police personnel known as ‘Special Constables’ in 1948.

“This village was established by the British to restrict those Chinese who were said to support the MCP, which at that time was fighting for political power against the British.

“Historically, the new villages were established on a basis that cannot be glorified, do we want to recognise these new villages as a Unesco World Heritage Site and do we want to tell this as a pride of the Chinese people,” she told Harian Metro.

Asked if Nga did not understand the history behind the establishment of the new villages, Ramlah said, the minister might understand its history but he wants to erase the black mark or dark history behind the establishment of the villages.

“They supported the MCP, they got free 10 acres of land per family, in those new villages schools, vegetable gardens were provided, that means it is not a history to be proud of because of their role in supporting the MCP.

“Is the MCP a legitimate party? The MCP was banned and rejected by the British,” she said.

She said there is nothing to be proud of about the new villages because there are no monuments that can be shown to the new generation.

“Back then, there were only wooden houses, now they are gone, most houses have been replaced by brick houses and turned into towns, many of those who supported the MCP have also passed away, so what is there to be proud of?

“Unlike Melaka which is indeed a historical place. For example, the Melaka River which was a route for ships to attack Melaka, it should be preserved and recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site,” she said.

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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