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Who Is Shamsiah Fakeh Essay

1463 words - 6 pages



Shamsiah Fakeh was a Malaysian nationalist and feminist. She was the leader of Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS), Malaysia's first nationalist women organization and a prominent Malay leader of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).



Shamsiah Fakeh was a Malaysian nationalist and feminist. She was the leader of Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS), Malaysia's first nationalist women organization and a prominent Malay leader of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).
Early life
Shamsiah was born in the village of Kampung Gemuruh near the town of Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan. She had her early education in the Madrasah Aliah Islaiah (also known as ...view middle of the document...

He was, in fact, imprisoned for 15 years and eventually died in 1980.
Her final marriage was to another CPM member, Ibrahim Mohamad, in 1956. They remained married until his death in 2006.

Political activism
As a fiery orator, Shamsiah was scouted by both the United Malays National Organisation and the Malay Nationalist Party (Malay: Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya, PKMM), the main Malay political parties in the post-war period. She eventually chose to join PKMM because she believed it was more dedicated to the struggle for Malaya's independence whereas she considered UMNO a puppet of the British. In 1946, she was asked to lead PKMM's women's wing, Angkatan Wanita Sedar (English: Cohort of Awakened Women; AWAS).

Armed struggle
With the banning of the PKMM, API and AWAS in 1948 prior to the declaration of the Malayan Emergency followed by the mass arrests of left leaning Malay nationalists, Shamsiah retreated to the jungles and joined the predominantly Malay 10th Regiment of the Malayan People's Liberation Army of the CPM operating from Lubok Kawah near Temerloh, Pahang. When the 10th Regiment was forced to retreat together with the 11th and 12th Regiment to the Thai-Malaya border in 1953 after a series of military defeats beginning with the Battle of Padang Piul in 1949, Shamsiah joined the retreat and continued to fight as a guerilla until she was sent to the China for further education together with her husband, Ibrahim Mohamad, in 1956.


The couple remained in China and served as broadcasters with Radio Peking's Malay language service airing propaganda broadcasts via shortwave to Malaya. In 1965, they were assigned by the party to Indonesia to set up a legation office of the Malayan National Liberation League.

Their stint was, however, short lived as they were arrested later that year due to the anti-communist purges in Indonesia in the aftermath of the 30 September Movement. They remained imprisoned until 1967 when they obtained their freedom through the mediation of the embassy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and obtained passage via Vietnam back to China.

As a result of faction politics within the CPM and the chaos that resulted from the Cultural Revolution in China during the period, Shamsiah and her husband became increasingly estranged from the party's Secretary General, Chin Peng. Both Shamsiah and her husband were expelled from the party in 1972.

As they were unable to return to Malaysia (established in 1963 with the federation of Malaya, Singapore, British North Borneo, and Sarawak), they settled in the town of Xiangtan, Hunan and were assigned to work in a steel factory. She also served as a Malay language consultant with Radio Beijing and the Beijing Foreign Languages Institute.

Return to Malaysia

Shamsiah and her family applied to the Malaysian government for permission to return to the country from 1985 onwards. Following the terms of the 1989 peace agreement signed between the CPM and...

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