Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has hit back at the Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan for challenging his account of history when he said that his Umno forebearers once fought and defeated the Communist Party of Malaya during the insurgency that began in the 1940s.
"There was an NGO that twisted my speech in Jeli last weekend", he wrote in a Facebook post this afternoon.
"The NGO was formed before GE14 and claims to represent military retirees, although there are only a few members. Now the Patriot NGO has misused a few sentences from the speech to criticise me," he said.
Najib zeroed in on a particular statement made by Armed forces and police veterans organisation Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) president Mohamed Arshad Raji (below).
Arshad had said: “Members of the security forces who had served throughout the period of the communist insurgency can easily vouch that they had never seen a single Umno member carrying a 30kg pack filled with ration and ammunition on their back and a rifle in hand, foraging the jungles of Pahang, Perak, Kedah and Sarawak, risking stepping on booby traps, to seek out the communist insurgents."
"Some say there is no record of Umno beating the communists," Najib hit back, sharing a video link to the speech.
"Firstly we have never forgotten the service and devotion of our national security forces who fought the communist during the emergency. The whole nation is indebted to them forever.
"Second, it is clear that I have never said that Umno members were raising weapons against opponents or to defeat the communists.
"Thirdly, I also said that Umno opposed the British on the issue of the Malaysia Union and that the Confrontation with Indonesia was also in the spirit of the national struggle.
"The spirit of struggle has a lot of meaning and does not mean weaponry for fighting in war alone," wrote Najib, who is Pekan MP.
Najib (below) was reacting to an earlier call by Patriot asking him to correct the “misleading” claim.
Arshad had said there “is no historical record” of Umno having formed groups to fight the insurgency, which took place over several decades from the 1940s to 60s, and 60s to 80s.
“For the record, in the war against the communist insurgents, all ethnic groups in our country participated – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, Orang Asli, Iban, Dayak, Kadazan, and the Serani (Eurasian).
“Najib’s statement had played down the pivotal role of the security forces, such as the Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Armed Forces in defeating the communist threat that had taken countless lives and maimed numerous members of the security forces,” Arshad said earlier today.
"Do not twist my reality. Watch and hear for yourself," added Najib in response.
"But it is true that it was under the leadership of Umno and BN governments that we fought the communists during the emergency. It's not as if it was a DAP government that fought against the communists," he concluded, somewhat tongue in cheek.