The Selendang Merah Hoax by Dagang Piatu Debunked!

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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 :


Gambar Pejuang Melayu Yang Digelar Selimpang Merah Yang Berjaya Mengambil Alih Bandar Batu Pahat Daripada Keganasan 14 Hari Komunis.

Mungkin Ramai Yang Tak Tahu Benih Komunis Di Batu Pahat Sudah Ramai Berjaya Jadi Pemimpin DAP MalaysIa Dan PAP Singapura.

Lim Kit Siang Dan Lee Guan Eng Semuanya Berasal Dari Batu Pahat. Nenek Moyang Mereka Biasa Merogol Dan Menyembelih Nenek Moyang Kita.

Resurrection Of The Murderous Selendang Merah

Here is the English translation :


Picture of Malay warriors called Red Sashes who successfully took over the town of Batu Pahat after 14 days of communist violence.

Many are not aware that the seeds of communism in Batu Pahat have grown into the leaders of DAP in Malaysia and PAP in Singapore.

Lim Kit Siang and Lee [sic] Guan Eng all originated from Batu Pahat. Their ancestors often rape and slaughter our ancestors.

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 :

In May, 1945 at Batu Pahat, Johor the Malays, instigated and variously armed by the Japanese, started an attack on the Chinese residents of the place.

Chinese being taken unawares, between 15,000 and 20,000 Chinese inhabitants including women and children were killed and rendered destitute and homeless.

The Japanese authorities treated the incident as a mere disturbance of the peace…

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.

Massacre in Malaya


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?

Silat Seni Gayong practitioners during a National Day parade in Shah Alam, Selangor in 1970

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.

Silat Seni Gayong practitioners during a National Day parade in Shah Alam, Selangor in 1970

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.

Silat Seni Gayong practitioners during a National Day parade in Shah Alam, Selangor in 1970

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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  1. Azwar Zaim

    I love how you tore apart the claim by good ol’ researchable and verifiable facts! Of course, proper skepticism demands that I verify your claims in turn (which I haven’t so don’t kill me if the gangster DO turn out to be actual heroes somehow), but goddammit I’ve had enough of blind, irrational faith.

    We all just like the parts of history we can use to get what we already want.

    1. Dr. Adrian Wong

      Thank you, Azwar. 🙂

      By all means! I’m only interested in the facts, and if I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. No two ways about that. 😀

      Yes, I agree. Many of us cherry-pick our history. But I’ll be damned if I allow people to lie about historical facts to encourage others to commit the same crime today.


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