Saturday, March 20, 2004


For a long time, Malaysians were like the legendary “Hang Tuah” – having a blind and undivided loyalty to the government of the day no matter what. Their rights could be trampled on, their share of the wealth of the nation stolen and they could be visited by injustice but still out of blind loyalty, the will elect the BN government in yesterday, today and forever.

But of late, in the last 10 years or so there is an emergence of the “Jebats” in Malaysia – whereby blind loyalty is done away and in its place protest sets in if the ruling government of the day does injustice and/or violate rights not only of themselves personally but of their fellow Malaysians.

Hang Jebat ‘rebelled’ against the Sultan because he was displeased and angry with the injustice done by the Sultan against Hang Tuah, his friend. Hang Tuah was wrongly condemned and punished by the Sultan for something he was not guilty of. But when Hang Jebat rebelled against the Sultan, he summoned Han Tuah back to deal with the so-called rebel. The blindly loyal Hang Tuah, followed the orders of his Sultan and dealt with Hang Jebat, killing him – despite knowing the reason for Hang Jebat’s rebellion. This story of old was once propagated and Hang Tuah was exemplified as the good citizen, but recent literary critics see it in a totally different light, and the once ‘villainous’ Hang Jebat is now seen in some literary circles as being the real hero – a person, who without fear or favour stood firm against an injustice done, irrespective of the risk that death may be consequence of his actions.

The question now, which will be seen in the coming General Elections is whether the Malaysian voter is akin to the legendary Hang Tuah, or Hang Jebat. The results will give us the answer to this question come Sunday (22/3/2004).

Charles Hector
Petaling Jaya

No comments: