Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Allow Chin Peng’s remains back in Malaysia, DAP says

Putrajaya should allow the ashes of former Communist leader Chin Peng to rest in his birthplace of Sitiawan in Perak, DAP leaders said today.
Party adviser Lim Kit Siang said it was time to “move on” from the past while accepting Chin Peng as part of Malaysian history, even if this means finally lifting the ban on the man’s return to his home country. “It does not mean forgiving him. The question of agreeing with him or forgiving him doesn’t at all arise. The question is that we cannot deny that he was born in Sitiawan and this is his homeland, his home place... he should be allowed to go back,” the Gelang Patah MP told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Lim noted that having his ashes returned home had been Chin Peng’s own wish, adding he saw no harm in the request. “90-year-old Chin Peng’s passing in Bangkok marks the end of an era. Whether one agrees or not with his struggle, his place in history is assured,” he tweeted earlier.
“I read that he wants his ashes back here. I don’t see why this should not be allowed,” he said.
The Bangkok Post reported today that Chin Peng, whose real name was Ong Boon Hua, a former secretary-general of the now defunct Malayan Communist Party, died at 6.20am in a Bangkok hospital this morning. His death was due to old age, according to the report, which added that his relatives will hold funeral rites for him on Friday.
Once Malaysia’s most wanted man, Chin Peng, would have marked his 90th birthday on October 19.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng agreed that the government should allow his remains to be buried in Malaysia as he is no longer a threat to the nation.
“The question of law, a wanted man ceased to be a wanted man if he or she is dead and is no more a threat. Chin Peng now is dead. Is he still a threat to our national security? I would say it’s not, he’s already dead,” he said over the phone.
He also pointed out that the CPM had already laid down its arms in 1989.
“So I would think Chin Peng’s remains is no more a threat to national security and it shouldn’t be a problem for his family to bring him back, unless the government or Perkasa has some evidence to show otherwise, that he still has influence in Malaysia,” he said.
“But to me, Chin Peng is irrelevant [today].”
He had been living in exile mostly in Thailand after Putrajaya barred him from returning to the country of his birth despite the terms laid down in the Haadyai Agreement 1989 involving the Thai and Malaysian governments. In accordance to the agreement, CPM members who laid down arms would be allowed to return to their homeland if they so choose.
The Sitiawan-born former guerilla fighter lost his bid to clear his name in the Federal Court in 2010. Ong has been routinely described by the ruling Barisan Nasional governnment as a “communist terrorist” and his battle put down as a “bloody insurgency” in the mainstream media. But Ong had seen himself as a freedom fighter against colonial British rule, and had insisted Putrajaya stop painting him as the bad guy.

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