Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chin Peng Dies at Age 88

Chin Peng (left), a guerrilla leader whose obstinate and tenacious, bloody struggles for an independent Communist Malaysia pitted him against Japanese invaders, British colonialists and even the government of what had become his own newly sovereign nation, died in exile – in a Bangkok hospital on Malaysia Day, a month short of his 89th birthday.

Where his other peers in other countries – a cohort that included Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Sukarno in Indonesia and Aung San in Burma (now Myanmar) – were duly acknowledged for their contributions to their countries’ history, Chin Peng was simply cold-shouldered by the Malaysian government.

This is simply because he was a Communist. 

[Chin Peng was the nom de guerre of Ong Boon Hua, who had joined with the British to battle Japanese troops after they invaded what was then British Malaya in 1941. His honors for heroism included the Order of the British Empire. But after the war, as the secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya, he ordered an armed insurrection against the British colonial rulers – in fact, he was Britain’s “enemy number one” in Southeast Asia at the height of the communist insurgency in Malaya – and when Malaya became independent of Britain in 1957, the insurgency morphed into a fight against the new government]. 

Chin Peng had repeatedly voiced his wish to be buried in his Malaysian hometown of Sitiawan, Perak. But even in death, we continue to demonize him. I cannot fathom why.

The Malaysian government had signed a peace treaty in 1989 in Haadyai, Thailand with the Communist Party of Malaysia (CPM). Former premier Mahathir Mohamad had approved of the overture in the first place and he also approved the peace accord. But, by not accepting Chin Peng, we have shown ourselves to be shameless and dishonorable.

Chin Peng tried to return to Malaysia – when he was still alive – but he was refused entry. In fact, the reason given to bar him from his home country was ludicrous. He was denied on the grounds that he could not prove he was Malaysian, having lost his birth and citizenship certificates. Supposedly, there was a lingering resentment over the Communist insurrection but I think it is much more than this. 

Now that Chin Peng is dead, the Malaysian police have refused to allow even his ashes to be brought back to be interred. Prime Minister Najib Razak, like a good parrot, echoed the same thing. The fool had also maintained that the country will not budge from its stand to prevent Chin Peng’s remains from being brought back, and challenged those unhappy with the decision to seek legal redress.

I am not surprised if the world is laughing at us. The government has long recognized communist regimes like China, Vietnam and Cuba. We have also forgiven the Japanese. So, why not the Malayan communists?

We did sign the peace accord, remember? I am repeating this because some Malaysians are damn stupid.

It is interesting to know that former inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Mohd Noor said in an interview from the UK that was aired Friday on BFM that even Abdullah CD (CPM chairperson) was allowed to come back to Malaysia and was even given an audience with the current sultan of Perak. Rashid Maidin (CPM central committee member) had performed his pilgrimage through KL with the help of the Malaysian authorities. 

Also, as MCA’s Heng Seai Kie correctly pointed out, the remains of terrorists Dr Azahari Husin and Nordin Mohamad Top were allowed to be buried in Malaysia. 

So why was Chin Peng singled out for this special treatment? Is it because he is Chinese?

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