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GEORGE TOWN: A video-recording of Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu making his controversial remarks about the 1950 Bukit Kepong tragedy was played in the Penang High Court this morning.
The video was played for some 20 minutes on computer monitors in the courtroom when Mohamad was testifying as a witness in his suit against Malay daily Utusan Melayu.
The 58-year-old Pas leader is suing the daily for defamation over its news report on Aug 27 last year, which he claimed had accused him of slandering Bukit Kepong policemen.
Mohamad, who is popularly known as Mat Sabu, was asked by the defendant's counsel to confirm the transcript of the speech he had made during a ceramah in Padang Menora, Tasek Gelugor near here on Aug 21 last year.
When he said the transcript was 'more or less' what he had said and he needed to check the recording to be sure, the video was played until the part he allegedly said that the Bukit Kepong attackers were the real independence heroes.
Mohamad was then questioned repeatedly by Utusan's lawyer Ahmad Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin if he thought the Bukit Kepong attack was a struggle for independence and whether the attackers, who were members of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), were independence fighters.
Ahmad Firoz also asked Mohamad whether he thought the assault was justified and supported it because it was a struggle for independence.
Mohamad said it did not matter whether he was for the assault or against it because the incident had already taken place.
When asked if he disregarded the feelings of the family members who lost their kin in the tragedy, he denied.
He also denied knowing that the attackers were communists when he made his speech and maintained that any struggle against the British before Merdeka was a struggle for independence in his personal view.
He also said he did not know about the party's 10th Regiment and that the policemen killed in the tragedy were Malay Muslims and not British when he spoke at the ceramah.
When Mohamad was asked if he thought the Bukit Kepong killings were appropriate, he said: "It was (during a) war. I sympathise with them. It was not right."
Earlier, he also denied that Abdullah CD, whom he had visited in Sukhirin, Thailand three years ago, was a communist when asked about his relationship with the man.
Abdullah was remembered in history as MCP chairman but Mohamad said he had never asked him about it.
"I know him as a pious man and a religious teacher, who prays like us (Muslims). It is impossible that such a man is a communist," he told the court presided by Judge Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam.
Mohamad was then shown a photo taken of him together with Abdullah in a book written by the latter. In the background of the photo was a picture of Abdullah with Chin Peng, another well-known MCP leader.
Mohamad said he did not notice the picture in the background when his picture was taken.
Mohamad sparked a controversy last year after he allegedly remarked that the communist guerillas led by Mat Indera who attacked and killed 25 police personnel and their families in the Bukit Kepong police station were the real heroes because they were fighting the British.
He was represented by counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.