Friday, October 26, 2012

Ganapathy to be Grant Reprieve - Urged UK Prime Minister Clement Atlee


Dear Readers,

I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to Dr, Geoff Wade (Senior Fellow Researcher at Institute of Southeast Asia Studies (ISEAS)) in Singapore for his efforts getting this important telegram (which I never taught will get) from Public Record Office in Kew, London.
And also to Ms.Vani in Singapore who introduce me to this great gentlemen. They would definitely remembered as part of this discovery and biography of Ganapathy (in progress now).

This was the last telegram No.560 sent by Secretary of States for the Colonies - Rees Williams addressed to British High Commissioner for Federation of Malaya Sir Henry Gurney as a last effort to save Ganapathy from the noose. It was sent on the 3rd of May 1949 at 20.15hrs (Britain time).

The content of the telegram as follows:
OUTWARD TELEGRAM
FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES
En. Clair

TO FEDERATION OF MALAYA (Sir H. Gurney)

Sent 3rd May, 1949. 20.15hrs.

EMERGENCY
No.506 Private and Personal.

Ganapathy.

Following private and personal from Rees-Williams.

Since Listowel's telegram was sent I have spoken with Prime minister who feels strongly that he must ask you to advise Sultan to grant reprieve.

The telegram itself is a monument evidence of British administration divided in execution of Ganapathy. The Prime Minister Atlee, felt that Ganapathy to be grant reprieve. But Gurney has a different plan for Ganapathy.

It also shows that orders from Prime Minister Atlee had been breached. As been pressured by India, British Prime Minister Atlee ordered that Gurney should advise the Sultan of Selangor to grant reprieve in Ganapathy's case. But Gurney went ahead with the execution to "put off" Ganapathy.

Prime Minister Clement Atlee
Why did Gurney give green light to Ganapathy's execution even after the Secretary of Colonies, Rees Williams, who tried to intervene at 11th hour? What was the role played by the Planter Association - the association of European capitalist who owned most of plantation estates in Malaya?

After the WW2, British economy was heavily depended on tins and rubber from Malaya. Without this, Brits economy will be crippled. With PMFTU, under Ganapathy, seemed to be organising massive strikes in estates all over Malaya, rubber production was badly effected. Thus, agitated estate owners, the Planter Association, wanted to "put off" Ganapathy for good.

Gurney feared that this telegram would have been leaked by his own men and being adamant to "put-off" Ganapathy, could this lead to Gurney's assassination at Fraser Hills on the October, 6th 1951?
Sir Henry Gurney
Funeral Rites - Sir Henry Gurney 9th October 1951
In many interviews, Chin Peng denied his involvement in Gurney's assassination. He claimed that the assassination plot was staged by the local militia. Fraser Hill (where Gurney was killed) situated near Batu Arang which was a strong-hold ground of Indian unionist cum communist Ramasamy Vengadasalam who was also the vice-president of PMFTU. The act of total arrogance and folly of Gurney to see Ganapathy eliminated forever, could have stirred anger and revenge among the local unionists and militias like V. Ramasamy.   
Ramasamy Vengadasalam born in 1920 in Batu Arang, was Vice President Of Pan Malayan Federation of Trade Union in 1948, close allies of S.A Ganapathy. Ramasamy was the most wanted unionist (after Ganapathy) in late 40s. Went underground after the British declared emergency in June 1948. He was shot dead on 22nd September 1956 (Saturday). He was 36 then. He was unknown to many. Not many has written about him. Rajeswary Ambalavanar has mentioned about him in one of her research papers for PhD dissertation back in 1975. News about his death was told to be reported in Strait Times on 23 September 1956.
Strait Times - September 23rd, 1956
 

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