Last night, a friend shared this post by Dagang Piatu on the murderous Selendang Merah.
It was an old post (posted on the 7 February 2014) but people started sharing it again on the 2 September 2015, probably to bolster support for the Malay Pride Gathering on Malaysia Day.
The Fake Selendang Merah Claim
The post was not just a lie based on a dark moment in Malayan history, it was an incitement to commit the same crime against the DAP and PAP politicians here in Malaysia and in Singapore, as well as the Chinese population. Take a look :
Here is the English translation :
Needless to say, that is nothing more than a pack of lies designed to rile up racial tensions and incite violence, by pegging the Chinese as communists who rape and murder Malays. Let us show you why.
Who Were The Selendang Merah?
As World War 2 drew to a close, Chinese villagers in Batu Pahat suffered attacks by Muslim groups like Barisan Islam (Muslim Front), but they were disorganised.
Hence came Kiyai Salleh Abdul Karim to unite them all as the Selendang Merah, or Tentera Sabil Selendang Merah (Holy Army Of The Red Sashes).
Salleh Abdul Karim was not always a kiyai (Sufi holy man). Before the war started, he was a gang leader who served time in jail. All that changed after the Japanese occupied Malaya.
In 1945, he had become a charismatic Sufi holy man who declared a holy war against the unbelievers and formed the Selendang Merah.
The men of the Selendang Merah wore red armbands while their commanders wore red cummerbunds (waist sashes). They were armed with the parang panjang, kris, pedang and tombak.
They were actively incited by the Japanese to attack Chinese villages – ‘to stir up holy war against the pig eaters‘. The result was a massacre :
If you would like to read more about this dark moment in Malaysian history, please check out Christopher Hale’s book – Massacre in Malaya – Exposing Britain’s My Lai.
The Picture Isn’t Even Of Selendang Merah
The massacre of Chinese villages by the men of Selendang Merah happened in May 1945. Malaysia was not formed until the 16th of September 1963.
With those clues, see if you can figure out what’s wrong with this purported picture of the Selendang Merah marching in Batu Pahat after defeating the communists?
If you take a close look at the picture, you would notice that there are at least 6 Malaysian flags visible in the picture. We highlighted two of most obvious ones below.
Since Malaysia wasn’t formed until 1963, this event could not possibly have taken place in 1945.
In addition, the Selangor flag can be clearly seen too. That means this was taken in the state of Selangor, not Johor which is where the town of Batu Pahat is situated.
The fact is that was a picture of a Silat Seni Gayong parade held in Shah Alam in 1970, as part of the Merdeka Day celebrations. Here is another picture of the parade.
Note that standing front and center is a lady, Cikgu Siti Kalsom. She was the god-daughter of Dato Meor Rahman, who founded this silat movement.
Needless to say, no women were involved in Selendang Merah.
Lim Kit Siang & Lim Guan Eng Are Communists From Batu Pahat?
Dagang Piatu claims that Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng both originated from Batu Pahat, insinuating that they are both communists.
Lim Kit Siang was born in Batu Pahat, to be sure, but he was just 4 years old when Selendang Merah slaughtered the Chinese villagers in and around Batu Pahat. Needless to say, he couldn’t possible be a communist at such a young age. His son, Lim Guan Eng, on the other hand, was born in Johor Bahru.
More importantly, do we really have a problem with communists?
After all, Malaysia has been China’s top trading partner in the ASEAN region since 2008, and we welcome over a million of these Communist Chinese as tourists every single year.
The Chinese Have Historically Raped & Slaughtered Malays?
Dagang Piatu also claimed that the Chinese have historically raped and slaughtered the Malays.
This is the kind of incitement that caused the Selendang Merah to attack and murder innocent civilians in 1945. Needless to say, that is a false claim that has no basis in any historical record.
In Islam, a false accusation is said to be the most wicked of crimes. Here are selected quotes from the Quran on lying and making false accusations :
“The curse of Allah be upon him if he should be among the liars.” [Quran 24:7]
“Indeed Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.” [Quran 40:28]
“Do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].” [Quran 2:42]
Two Sides To A Coin?
When I debunked my friend’s post, he was very defensive, claiming that there were two sides to a coin. To that, I replied :
Sure, there are two sides of the coin but it is still the same coin. In other words, you are entitled to your own opinion, just not your own set of facts.
And the facts are this was a band of gangsters who murdered people in the name of their beliefs. So if you want to celebrate that, go ahead, but it won’t change the fact that they murdered innocent people.
I’m just telling you what happened. It’s your choice to do what you will with it.
It saddens me greatly when some people try to incite other people into committing violence against someone else, just because of their politics, race, religion, sexuality or beliefs. No matter how much we may disagree with each other on politics, religion or other personal beliefs, we should NEVER stoop to inciting violence against another person.
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