Sang Saka: History or myth?
SHAH ALAM: When “Sang Saka” – purportedly the alternative flag of Malaysia – was unfurled at Dataran Merdeka on Aug 30, the eve of Merdeka Day, it brought swift police retaliation.
On Sept 2, police arrested two prominent activists, Hishamuddin Rais and student Adam Adli Abdul Hamid, for displaying the flag.
National laureate Datuk A Samad Said was also on the police radar screen for allegedly waving the flag at Dataran Merdeka on the same day.
Has Sang Saka ever become a national flag to represent the country before independence as claimed by several activists?
According to Malay Civilisation and Culture Institute deputy director, Prof Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong, it was never the case.
He said that the modern “Jalur Gemilang” was the one and only flag used by Malaysia after its inception in 1963.
"Talking in the context of our history, it is the Jalur Gemilang which has served as the national flag of the federation albeit with less stars and stripes before the inception of Malaysia in 1963.
"So there is no official historical record that other flags except Jalur Gemilang were ever used by our country and federation before independence," he told a Malay portal.
Teo also criticised individuals such as Samad and Hishamuddin for their actions, saying they were old and mature enough to know the history of the country.
History expert, Prof Datuk Dr Ramlah Adam (pix), said Sang Saka was only used by a leftist political party, Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM), led by Ibrahim Yaacob, in 1938 before it was banned by the British government.
"KMM was fighting for independence… but was not supported by the majority of the Malays who upheld the royal and Islamic institutions and supported Umno's struggle," she said.
After KMM was banned, the ideology was revived by Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) led by Mokhtaruddin Lasso, Dr Burhanuddin Helmi and Ahmad Boestamam.
"PKMM also used the 'Sang Saka' flag but still did not receive support from the majority of the people. Only the remnants of their supporters used it now," she said.
On Sept 3, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar urged Samad to surrender on his own accord over the incident.
In a brief message to theantdaily, Samad said he was waiting for the police to come with a proper warrant to detain him at his house.
The Sang Saka Malaya is a two-striped red-and-white flag with a crescent moon and an 11-pointed star at the top left corner.
This is the second time the authorities have taken action against those displaying Sang Saka Malaya flag under the Sedition Act 1948.
Last September, police detained two youths for allegedly flying the flag during the countdown to the 55th Merdeka Day on Aug 30.