Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, was charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code for defaming the dead police personnel who were killed while defending themselves at the Bukit Kepong police station and their families (principal charge), and the aggrieved parties (alternative charge) who lodged police reports against him.
Judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin fixed Oct 27 for mention of the case and Dec 5-9 for trial.
Bail was set at RM15,000.Mohammad Hanafiah had initially asked for bail to be fixed at RM50,000 but Hanipa asked for the minimum sum of RM15,000, saying he was confident his client would be present in court whenever required.
Asked to comment later, Mat Sabu said: "This case is about the interpretation of history and should be resolved through dialogue and debate, not by the court. However, since it is a court case, we have to face it."
He said the government is losing ground among the youth and has to deal with him by using physical force and legal means.
Outside the court, Mat Sabu's deputy defence counsel Aminuddin Zulkifli said his team has yet to receive documents pertaining to the case.
"It seems that the prosecutors were more interested in trying to push up the amount of the bail," he added.
Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow(right), who was present, said the charge against Mat Sabu is "politically motivated" and has no basis whatsoever.
He said the case has dealt another "cruel blow" to democracy and that the premier's reform speech rings hollow when the promised "transformations" are blatantly contradicted and violated by actions such as the "ludicrous criminal charge" against Mat Sabu.
"How can Najib claim Malaysia to be the best democracy in the world when his government uses bully tactics in silencing people who do not agree with or offer alternative interpretations to their monopolised account of history?" he asked.
"I find this episode saddening, though not entirely shocking, and would like to offer my best wishes to Mat Sabu, who I believe will fight handsomely against this injustice."
On Aug 27, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia published several reports that Mat Sabu had praised the communists who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950, leaving 26 people dead.
"But history has been covered up. Jins Samsuddin, who made the (Bukit Kepong) film, is an Umno (member). His story of Bukit Kepong (said that) those who attacked the police station were criminals..." Mat Sabu was quoted as saying.
The reports further alleged that the PAS deputy president had treated Mat Indera as a freedom fighter.
Mat Sabu has since claimed that Utusan had grossly distorted his words and has filed a defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia.
His speech also sparked debate between BN and the opposition on the country's independence history and whether Malaya was ever colonised.
A book published by the Johor government in 2004 names insurgent Mat Indera as a freedom fighter and lists him as a celebrated Johor hero.
Speaking to Malaysiakini today, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said this was revealed in the book titled Pengukir Nama Johor.
“The book has five pages on Mat Indera and he is essentially called a freedom fighter. It states that he is not a communist,” Mohamad, who is widely known as Mat Sabu, said.
Under fire for describing Mat Indera as a hero for attacking the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950, he said the foreword of the book was written by Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman.
These include the late Sultan Ismail and former Umno chairperson Sulaiman Ninam Shah.
Also included in the Johor Heritage Foundation published book is a biography of Bajuri Siraj, who turned Mat Indera in to the British for a reward.
Mat Indera's photograph is featured on the cover of the book
The section on Mat Indera was written by Ismail Adnan, who once served as deputy director of Institut Kepimpinan dan Latihan Semangat Dato' Onn.
The book is edited by former Universiti Malaya media studies lecturer Abu Bakar A Hamid and Teacher of the Year 2002 award recipient Md Ismail Zamzam.
'Pious and hardworking man'
Contacted by Malaysiakini today, Abu Bakar said Mat Indera is described in the book as someone who was “pious and a tahfiz” (someone who has memorised the Quran).
“The author used this as a basis to conclude that it is unlikely that he had turned into a communist,” Abu Bakar said.
He added that Ismail had written the section based on several credible sources and his own research.
Interestingly, Abu Bakar revealed that his own father had also served alongside Mat Indera at Sekolah Agama Parit Setongkat in Muar, Johor, in the 1940s.
“My father was the headmaster and Mat Indera was a teacher there. My father remembers him to be a hardworking and pious man who had a good voice,” he said.
At the same time, Abu Bakar revealed, in his memoir published by UKM, once Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) chairperson Abdullah CD named Mat Indera as one of his platoon members.
In the memoir, Abdullah said that Mat Indera had led the insurgency against the Bukit Kepong police station and was later “poisoned” before he was captured and hanged to death.
“This public and intellectual discourse about history is a good thing, but I urge politicians to stay out of it.
“There is no need to make a lot of noise for nothing. Even in academia there are differing views, so we conduct more research and present our findings. The case (of Mat Indera) is not yet closed,” Abu Bakar added.