Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are We Planning To Rewrite History?

The Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry is prepared to help determine who founded Penang after a claim has emerged that the island was founded by an administrator from Minangkabau, Datuk Jannaton, and not Captain Francis Light. Deputy Minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong said a special conference must be held to discuss and investigate the claim made by an academician who is a descendant of Jannaton.

"My ministry is willing to organise the conference if there are parties who are keen to discuss and investigate the matter so that the truth may be found," Wong told reporters here. He said historians, including those from outside Malaysia, may take part in the conference to reveal the truth as to who actually founded Penang Island.

The Penang state government said it welcomed a study to be conducted to determine the actual founder of the island. "If there is a claim that Penang was founded by Datuk Jannaton, then a study must be done to determine whether there is any truth to the claim," said Penang Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Rashid Abdullah.

Recently, a Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) lecturer Associate Professor Ahmad Murad Merican claimed that Francis Light was not the founder of Penang in 1786. Ahmad Murad, who is a descendant of Jannaton, said Penang was founded by his ancestor.

**** Please pardon my ignorance, after all I am neither a historian nor an anthropologist. I had all this while thought that those with the surname Merican traced their origin to India but here it states that the gentleman claiming to be a descendant of the 'actual' founder of Penang is from Minangkabau. Of course I'm sure there must be a perfectly good explanation for that.

It must also be emphasised that claims of this nature should not be encouraged on a daily basis and even if research has to be done, it should be sanctioned only on receipt of concrete evidence and not some grandmother's tales. Allowing even one such claim without a proper basis will open the floodgates to numerous spurious claims from all kinds of whackos out to get their 7 seconds of fame.

Frankly I would personally be very pleased if the claim proved true. How the mat salleh could have founded an island already inhabited by locals beats me. It's like Columbus or Vespucci having discovered America when the native Indian tribes were very much already there.


Blogger toniXe said...

If truth be told then we are all for it !

9:20 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also not to mention how the malays consider themselves locals when the orang asli was already here.

The dominant race can lay claim to whatever they wish, live with that fact.

Everyone does it. Get a grip.

4:06 PM GMT+8  
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