The voices calling for independence have long been heard. Unfortunately after Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945 after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, British colonialists came to the Malay Peninsular with the intention of turning it into a colony.
In the Malay Peninsular, the official power hand over from the Japanese to the British was sanctioned on 22 February 1946 in Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur. The British had introduced the Malayan Union that offers equal rights in terms of citizenship issues to all residents without considering race and loyalty to the country.
The election of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in taking after Dato’ Onn Jaafar who has resigned as the Yang Dipertua of Umno on 26 August 1951 clearly lead to a new era for the fight for independence.
The congress soon agreed with the decision to form an organisation named United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) or Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu (PEKEMBAR) which will be presented in the future congress. In the 3rd Pan-Malayan Malay Congress held in Johor Bharu, Dato’ Onn Jaafar soon announced the formation of UMNO on 11 May 1946. The purpose of the formation is to path the way for Malaya’s independence and sovereignty, to develop and preserve the rights of the Malays and Malayans, to safeguard and defend the religion and traditions of the Malays as well as the position of the sovereignty of the Malay rulers.
The position of the Council of Rulers was given a better status including acting out the duty of advising the High Commissioner regarding the underlying principles of the Federation of Malaya. The position of Resident was replaced by a Menteri Besar. While the prerequisites for citizenship was tightened through enforced laws and neutralized through application.
A step is closer for the Malays to move forward in full unity to achieve independence for Malaya. UMNO was guided by many great leaders such as Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tun Abdul Razak, Ghaffar Baba, Dr. Ismail, Aziz Ishak, Sardon Jubir and others who path the way towards independence. The election of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra in taking after Dato’ Onn Jaafar who has resigned as the Yang Dipertua of Umno on 26 August 1951 clearly lead to a new era for the fight for independence.
The struggle of the Malays which had begun for a century since the fall of the Malacca Sultanate saw the Malay people and the state monarchs or local leaders relentlessly trying to restore the dignity of their race and country. Their oppositions first began in guerrilla warfare which were instigated by former members of the Malacca Sultanate (1511) and Johor Sultanate, Raja Haji (1782), Dol Said (1831), Datuk Maharaja Lela, Datuk Sagor (1875), Datuk Bahaman, Mat Kilau (1891), Tok Janggut (1914), Haji Abdul Rahman Limbong (1928), Datu Mat Salleh (1894), Sharif Mashahor (1860), Rentap (1853) and others.
Another form of resistance by the Malays in the pursuit of independence in the early 1900s were initiated by religious groups such as Syed Syeikh al-Hadi, Syeikh Tahir Jalaluddin, Hizbul Muslimin movement, Gunung Semanggol religious centre, followed by Syeikh Abdullah Fahim, a religious teacher in Kepala Batas in the 1930s as well as Malay teachers particularly from Sultan Idris Training College.
The struggle that follows took a new form through the pen and ink. Who comprises of Malay novelists, story writers, poets and reporters particularly from Utusan Melayu that gave much exposure regarding the fight for freedom from colonialists. Among its pioneers were Zainal Abidin Ahmad (Za’ba), A. Rahim Kajai, Ibrahim Yaakob, Ishak Haji Mohamad, Ahmad Boestamam, Usman Awang, Shahnon Ahmad and many more with some becoming fugitives from the British as well as thrown in jail. Indeed when we track over the roots of the fight for independence, it is apparent that it was path with sweat, blood and tears.