On Chin Peng: Who is Lying?

September 21, 2013

Side Views

@ http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

Chin Peng deserves a place in his country – Kee Thuan Chye

Kee TCThe pettiness of the Government has not been so clearly exposed as it is now over the issue of whether the former Communist leader Chin Peng’s ashes should be allowed into Malaysia to be buried in the land he loved and fought for. Even the police – who should have better things to look out for like the increasing incidences of crime – are putting out alerts to prevent the ashes from being brought back from Thailand, where he died. As if these ashes were lethal and could, by some preternatural means, maim the Malaysian populace.

Imagine this. Police personnel stationed at every entry point into Malaysia from Thailand, including at airports, going through the bags of everyone coming in. As if they have nothing better to do. But then, for all we know, the ashes might have been sent to someone in, say, Indonesia instead, and this person comes into Malaysia with it, unchecked. How stupid can it get?

Meanwhile, the authorities still quibble over the trivia that Chin Peng was not Malaysian because he could not produce the necessary documents to prove he was so, but it seems more likely that they did not want to let him return, full stop.

He first applied, under the guarantees of the peace agreement, to resettle in Malaysia in 1990, but his application was rejected the following year. In 2004, he wrote to then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, but got no reply. That year, he received instead a letter from the Home Ministry’s secretary-general saying that his request to enter Malaysia had been rejected. No explanation was given.

He took the matter to the courts. But in 2005, the High Court rejected his application to enter Malaysia on the grounds that he had to show identification papers to prove his citizenship. Chin Peng, however, said he could not do so because his birth certificate was seized by the Police in 1948. In 2008, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling.

Just a few days ago, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar reiterated that Chin Peng was never a Malaysian citizen and, as such, the question of his being buried in Malaysia should not arise.

Hours after former Communist Party of Malaya leader Chin Peng died in Bangkok, police are on alert to prevent his remains from entering Malaysia.But documents are only stuff on paper. They are no match for what a person feels for his country and the things he does in respect of that feeling. Whatever you call that feeling – patriotism if you like – it is far and above more meaningful than a piece of paper.

The fact is, Chin Peng fought against the Japanese when they invaded Malaya and the British retreated. If this alone does not automatically qualify him to be Malaysian, what will? Entering the country illegally and agreeing to vote for Barisan Nasional, like the immigrants in Sabah who have been given identity cards for doing just that? In the latter case, in fact, having documents doesn’t mean diddly squat.

More tangible than this, the Malaysian Government signed a peace treaty in 1989 with the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), of which Chin Peng was its head. And in that agreement, the CPM agreed to disband and cease all armed activities while the Government agreed to allow the CPM’s members to settle down in Malaysia. Since then, many have been allowed home, including leaders like Rashid Maidin and Shamsiah Fakeh. But why not Chin Peng? Why was he discriminated against?

The other favourite argument of the Government’s against Chin Peng’s return to Malaysia is that he was a terrorist and the head of a terrorist organisation that had caused the deaths of thousands. But when you hold this up against the terms of the agreement, you can straight away see that the argument is unfair. The man and his comrades had given up the fight, they would no longer “terrorise”. It was time for both sides to put the past aside and move on. For the sake of peace. That’s what an agreement is about. So how could the Government sign an agreement and still call the other signatory a villain? Might as well not sign the agreement in the first place!

Why does the Government want to behave in such bad form over this? Because it thinks maintaining Chin Peng as a bogeyman is worth its tarnishing its honour?

But even on the issue of Chin Peng being a terrorist, the lines are not clear-cut. To some, he was one, but to others, he was a freedom fighter. When he served the British cause in fighting against the Japanese, he was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire), but when he consequently fought against the British to gain independence for Malaya, he was a terrorist.

True, his Communist ideology was not everyone’s cup of tea and the CPM did kill many people to fulfil its mission, for which it should be condemned, but Chin Peng has also taken responsibility for the CPM’s taking of thousands of lives. In an interview with History Professor Cheah Boon Kheng in 1998, he said, “This was inevitable. It was a war for national independence.”

That this was so is affirmed by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, in his book Lest We Forget: “Just as Indonesia was fighting a bloody battle, so were the Communists of Malaya, who, too, fought for independence.”

The Japanese, on the other hand, were invaders, and they tortured and killed thousands more of our countrymen during their invasion, and yet we have forgiven them their atrocities. In fact, the Japanese are now our friends, and they are a people we look up to, thanks to ex-premiere Mahathir Mohamad’s Look East Policy. So why is it that we cut them slacker?

Is the Government hard on Chin Peng because it feels embarrassed that UMNO, the party that it has heaped so much credit on for winning independence, did not fight any bloody battles for it, like Chin Peng and the CPM did? And that, also, one of UMNO’s revered leaders of the past, Abdul Razak Hussein, actually worked for the Japanese?

Well, in the book Tun Abdul Razak: Potret dalam Kenangan, a collection of reminiscences by people who knew the country’s second Prime Minister, there is a mention of his having been an administrative officer for the Japanese. It is in the chapter entitled ‘Saya Mendayung, Dia Mengemudi’ (I Rowed, He Held the Helm), written by former Cabinet Minister Ghazali Shafie.

And in a study called ‘Sejarah Penubuhan Universiti Teknologi Mara UITM’, there is a photograph of Razak with three others dressed in Japanese uniform with the rising sun insignia pinned on their shirt pockets. This apparently depicts the time he was being trained by the Japanese.

To be sure, Ghazali also mentions in his chapter that he and Razak were actually nationalists. “We felt that since we had known the British much longer … it was easier to stand up to them than the Japanese, whom we had not got a full measure of yet … Therefore, we felt we had to master [the] Japanese [language] and at the same time, we had to look for channels to contact the British … so as to obtain their assistance in fighting the Japanese.”

From his account, it looks like the strategy adopted by him and Razak was a pragmatic play-both-sides one that is different from the direct warfare approach opted for by Chin Peng.

In view of this, do we still say that Chin Peng doesn’t deserve to even have his ashes brought home to the country he wanted to return to and die in?

Well, I would say that he has more right to be buried in Malaysia than many people I could name. For example, those who have been behind the giving of illegal identity cards to illegal immigrants in Sabah are certainly not as worthy as Chin Peng in claiming this country as their home. He never sold out his country; in fact, he wanted it to be free. His problem was, his ideology was not accepted. And he was on the wrong side of history.

I think it’s time to set the history right. – September 21, 2013.

*  Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the new book The Elections Bullshit, now available in bookstores.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

On Chin Peng: Who is Lying?

by Aidila Razak and Tan Juin Wuu@ http://www.malaysiakini.com

Najib PMContrary to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s claim, Chin Peng’s former comrades and family members have insisted that the late Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader had applied to return home following the 1989 Hatyai Peace Accord.

“The lawyers requested three documents from the Home Ministry when Chin Peng first filed the case (to return home) in the Penang High Court. The first was a list provided by CPM of those who have applied to go back (to Malaysia), the second a list of those rejected by the government and third, a list of those approved.

“Chin Peng’s name was in the first document, proving he had applied,” his ex-comrade Nan Jin told the media at the sidelines of the second day of Chin Peng’s wake in Bangkok today.

Chin Peng’s nephew, Lee Chung, added that a news article in 1991 also quoted then Inspector- General of Police Haniff Omar that his uncle had applied towards the end of the one-year stipulated application period.

He also pointed out that then Police Special Branch Chief Zulkifli Abdul Rahman was quoted in the same year as claiming that Chin Peng’s application was being processed.

“So what (Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak said is not the truth because logically, the 1991 statements show that an application was made,” he said.

Najib said the remains of Chin Peng – or his real name Ong Boon Hua – would not be allowed on Malaysian soil as he did not apply within the one-year period after the Peace Accord and that the family can sue the government if it disagrees.

Chin Peng lost his case in 2008 when he could not produce identification documents to prove his citizenship to the Court of Appeal.

‘We’ll bring him home with dignity’

Meanwhile, Lee Chung’s brother Lee Suvit said the family would “do their best” to fulfill his wish to have his remains returned to his hometown of Sitiawan, Perak.

“We will try to bring him back with dignity,” said Suvit, whose sister cared for Chin Peng until he died of cancer on September 16.

Chin Peng at 1955 Baling TalksThe Thai national said that despite dying in exile, Chin Peng died “calm and happy”, having spent his twilight years with family, writing and taking walks, “just like any other old man”.

While the rest of the world may focus on Chin Peng’s political role, for the family, it would be his jokes and kindness which would be missed the most.

Painting a picture of a much-loved patriarch, he said that Chin Peng would play his harmonica at family gatherings and his favourite tune was the song “Red Flag”.

chinpeng01Suvit said that even Chin Peng’s absence in his children’s life was an act of sacrifice to “protect them”. Both children are Malaysians and shy away from the public eye to avoid possible reprisals.

Suvit said that his daughter, now only a year younger than Chin Peng when he became CPM secretary-general at 23, grew very close to him.

Yet, he said, Chin Peng’s grandnieces and grandnephews, who were seen at the wake, do not know much about their granduncle’s political significance.

Born and bred in modern Thailand, their lives are a far cry compared to Chin Peng’s who joined the resistance at 15.

“Mine, too, is very different. He used to say ‘times were tough in my days’ and we’d brush him off. Maybe (his grandnephews and grandnieces) know some stories about him from us, but I think they just know that their granduncle is a good man, and whatever his struggle was, it was for a good cause,” he said.

Suvit, who now owns a factory in Shanghai, said his own grandchildren would know even less about Chin Peng.  “There is no need to pass down stories about his struggle to the coming generations. They can read about his role in Malaysia’s Independence and Southeast Asia in books. He is part of history,” he said.

33 thoughts on “On Chin Peng: Who is Lying?

  1. “But documents are only stuff on paper. They are no match for what a person feels for his country and the things he does in respect of that feeling. Whatever you call that feeling – patriotism if you like – it is far and above more meaningful than a piece of paper.”

    The writer is going down the wrong road here, giving rise to yet another argument for not allowing Chin Peng to be buried in the place of his birth. The guy fought the Japanese behind enemy lines in collaboration with the Brits, with Force 136 together w/ an uncle Tunku Osman Jewa who later became Chief of the Armed Forces, Commander-in-Chief to BrigGen Tok Cik. That makes it a rebuttable presumption that he was fighting for the country of his birth. You have no records to say he was a citizen of a foreign country, then he is a citizen of the country he put his life on the line for. Not proof. But a rebuttable presumption. That’s good enough. It shifts the burden of proof to the Government of Malaysia.

  2. This has been called racist, petty, about UMNO coming election etc. But the real crux that matters to the Malay, the question that should be asked of them – to what extend do they want Malays to make excuses instead of rising to the standards that is needed.

    Every reason given for keeping Chin Peng out are merely PLAUSIBLE – just because you can come up with a reason, does not make it so – that is how the real world works. If the Malays are to achieve what they want to achieve, the standards long overdue is that they must give REASON ACCEPTED AT LEAST, NEVER EASILY CHALLENGED.. So long as they allow so little accepted as reasoning, so long as what they have will also be little and small..

  3. Din.
    I am a muslim.i feel vary sad what happen to Chin Peng.I am very close with his son,Ong Boon Kok,a lawyer in KL. Tan Sri Rahim,the chief negotiator of the peace agreement said we did not honour the agreement.The BN will lose more chinese vote.
    Good luck.

  4. En Din,
    In a span of five days you have embedded 7 articles about Chin Peng, mostly about why the history of Malaya should be revisited or rearticulated. Try hard if you may, to tame the mind of the Melayus , the stigma of anything commie could never be easily erased.

  5. Here you get to hear about the role of the then Capt Ibrahim (many years later to become General and Chief of the Armed Forces) and Ghazalie Shafee (Dato’s boss in the Foreign Ministry) who alleged that MPAJA owed their loyalty to “Moscow and China” — his words. It seems that there wasn’t enough evidence to support the theory.

  6. Like Ho Chin Minh, Chin Peng was first a nationalist and second a Communist. He fought wars of liberation, first against the Japanese and later against the colonial power.

  7. “Najib said the remains of Chin Peng – or his real name Ong Boon Hua – would not be allowed on Malaysian soil as he did not apply within the one-year period after the Peace Accord and that the family can sue the government if it disagrees.”-@ Aidila Razak and Tan Juin Wuu@ http://www.malaysiakini.com.

    OK, let the family sue the Malaysian Government and that will solve the matter.

  8. “But even on the issue of Chin Peng being a terrorist, the lines are not clear-cut. To some, he was one, but to others, he was a freedom fighter. When he served the British cause in fighting against the Japanese, he was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire), but when he consequently fought against the British to gain independence for Malaya, he was a terrorist.” @http://www.themalaysianinsider.com,

    What made Chin Peng a CLEAR-CUT TERRORIST to Malaysia was his decision to carry on the armed-fighting against the Independent Sovereign Malaya and later Malaysia well beyond 1957 after the MERDEKA. And let’s not play down this fact.

  9. its election time, thats the reason for this infantile reaction from our government ‘elites’, even other times their feelings for tact equals that of a primary school boy bully.

    some years back one official of the Nazi regime who supposedly betrayed them died in jail, a very oldman. the present government refused a place for him in the cemetry – to prevent the Nazi’s and neo-Nazis from converging there, from all over Germany, every year to celebrate his birth and death day. THAT is a plausible reason.
    but in Malaysia there is no communist party or anymore communists left so what is the problem?? isn’t it a humanitarian deed to grant an old man his last wish?
    what kind of knuckleheads do we have?

    are you really 74 years old? ….just joking lah!
    what I want to tell you is, the thais are smart people. they’ll put up a large gravestone and a short biography of him to attrack international tourists who will come in thousands to see the chinese communist guerilla who bravely fought the Brits and Japs to liberate Malaysia. ending up as an exile in Thailand because of the ungrateful Malaysian regime, no?
    then our malaysian brothers will have one good reason to visit Thailand every year ;)! what a gain for the thais and disgrace for the umno regime!
    Dobby is still hiding in the kitchen and banging his head against the kitchen cabinet.

    its Weekend……

    you got to change your evil ways umnoputras!

  10. The conclusion is inevitable : its always the ” Malays ” who are Lying, yes always lying…… But Chin Peng is not lying still in the grave, but lying straight – even when in ashes…..
    Actually it is not about Chin Peng, its about Lies & Liers everywhere….lies that permeate in the current ” Malaysian ” Culture ? No ?
    We are not talking about Malays or any others here. We are questioning the decision to deny Chin Peng’s right to return to Malaysia under the provisions of the Hatyai Peace treaty of 1989. The reasons for denying him that right are ridiculous and these include lies. Let us be frank here. UMNO leaders are lying for politics in this case.–Din Merican

  11. This man was a pure terrorist and butcher. Even after Malaya had gained independence, he was still in the jungle. What was he fighting for?

    The chinamen are crying foul and insisting that CP fought for independence because they want to be seen as having poured significant historical effort in building up this country (away from being seen as getting “free citizenship” and “free land” which act loan collateral for their businesses).

    That’s the gist of the whole story folks!

  12. “What made Chin Peng a CLEAR-CUT TERRORIST to Malaysia was his decision to carry on the armed-fighting against the Independent Sovereign Malaya and later Malaysia well beyond 1957 after the MERDEKA. And let’s not play down this fact. — Ali-fafa

    Then explain why Mahathir did what he did when he became Prime Minister? In the initial years Malaya’s foreign policy was under the direction of Whitehall. Plantations and mining were still under the Brits. We were producing raw materials for the old country, keeping their factories running and labor at full employment. And then buying back value added products made from our raw materials. Very much still a colony. You dumb nitwit !

  13. The real and true independence fighters from various races are not acknowledged in history.

    We are living a big lie with no shame…..this is reflected in the way the country is grossly mismanaged by the so called self serving political ‘ leaders ‘

  14. Just in case, Utusan Malaysia or rather Minguan Malaysia says Chin Peng, or Ong Boon Hua, did not die on the 50th Anniversary of Malaysia. It claims, as usual without an identifiable source, Chin died on the eve. So who is lying?

  15. Bean,

    Mahathir repatriated the British owned assets such as Guthrie, Boustead, and Sime Darby in the infamous dawn raid. He was acting to reduce British control of the economy, not the other way.
    Sorry, the dawn raid was ONLY on Guthrie shares to take our holding to 29.9 per cent of the issued and paid-up capital to trigger a General Offer. Sime Darby was not successful in taking control of Guthrie, so the Board sold its 27 per cent holding to PNB. I was in Sime Darby at the time.– Din Merican

  16. The Umno gov’t is lying, no substance, no credibility, inconsistency and racist, the facts that the bodies of two Malay terrorists responsible for bombings in Indonesia, were allowed buried here if you were to treat him like terrorist. Hope the God punishes the the lies!

  17. This issue must be put to rest, than kept dragging, for it is contributing to further dividing the major two races in Malaysia. Why allow Politicians to fan people’s sentiments.

    If we have indeed any respect for Mr.Chin Peng, allow his soul to rest in peace. What is our right in using him name, more so without his permission to further damage the thinning racial harmony among Malaysians. If Mr.Chin Peng was a nationalist he would never want to see this happening. It is a shame to his memory.

    Mr.Chin Peng, belonged to a different era of our country’s history, that has little connection to the new generation of Malaysians. The people of his time who were directly affected by him, are no longer here to speak their mind. They are the right people to talk about him.

    If Mr.Chin Peng carried the thought that he is a Malaysian, what does it matter where he is buried?
    It mattered to Chin Peng. It was his wish to be buried in Malaysia with his parents.–Din Merican

  18. “Mahathir repatriated the British owned assets such as Guthrie, Boustead, and Sime Darby in the infamous dawn raid. He was acting to reduce British control of the economy, not the other way.” — azfar

    Precisely my point. What’s yours? Didn’t he also take over Carcosa, a reminder of not only of the British influence to him of colonial Malaya. But real control over the economy. Is this not proof that, according to Chin Peng, the country was not fully independent and so he continued his struggle for the working class. We may disagree with Communism as an ideology. But to say that Chin Peng worked to establish Malaya as a satellite state of Communist China appears to be a stretch. You need corroborating evidence to support that theory. And so far there is nothing credible that could support that theory. There were Malays too who were fighting under the same banner. An off shoot of Indonesia’s PKI under Aidit who had links to China? Where’s the proof?

  19. The guy devoted his entire life fighting for what he thought was best for his country. We may not agree with him on what is best for the country, but we should be able to understand his zeal, his loyalty to principles, his determination to free his country from the shackles of Capitalism. Communism may be dead today. But Engel’s and Marx’s theory of dialectical materialism is not. It is true today as it was then.

  20. “But documents (birth certificate etc) are only stuff on paper.” — Kee Thuan Chye

    Not to worry. If it had come to that they would have said it was heresay evidence and not direct proof of his birth. Or it had been tempered with or worse it is a forgery. And they are right about it being heresay evidence. Conveniently disregarding the fact that the law has allowed exceptions to the rule against admitting heresay evidence. Public and government documents are among those. Duh … !

  21. Those who said Chin Peng fought for China must be racist.

    It was the fact that China Peng was an independent fighter for Malaya against the Japanese occupation of Malaysia and the British colonization of Malaysia. He signed peace accordance with Malaysian government.

  22. Small people with smaller mind…. that’s Najib, Muhyiddin, Zahid Hamidi and even Khairy…. and now heavily supported by people like Aliefalfa in all the blogs…. defending the indefensible…

  23. Bean,
    It would be shiok that Malaysia government took to the stand like what transpired in this clip. Unfortunately, this is not USA

  24. Bean,

    Yes we can admire a person’s zeal or commitment to purpose. Just like how Sallehuddin admired Richard the lion heart and vice versa. But they could never view the other as heroes as they were fighting on opposite camps.

    To claim he is a nationalist is not enough. Though CPM had malay leaders, it was largely a chinese movement. Even the civilian part of the party bears a chinese name, “Min Yuen”. We have to ask further whose nationalism did he sought? A chinese nationalism on malay land? another malaysian malaysia where we see being applied in singapore and we know clearly who are the losers? We have some examples here where parties that had malay co-founders but in the end it becomes a vehicle that advanced other races interests, eg Gerakan in 1960s and PAP. a party in a multi-racial country like malaysia can never run away from the race issue. Parti rakyat and parti buruh were both socialistic in ideology, and they worked together for a time, yet they were torn on issues of national language, culture and even ideology. CPM being chinese dominated and close ties to china would almost certainly be chinese oriented. Is it too far-fetched to think that had they won Malay nationalism would be threatened and malay interests would be cast aside?

    Even if his nationalism was congenial to malays, we cannot avoid considering his ideology in his struggle. We must consider the whole purpose of his struggle, and not just his nationalism. He was a committed communist there can be no doubt and he would have imposed these policies on the people had he won. We do not agree with his ideology because it would bring despair to the people. We have to consider this to judge the man. Is there any good If an evil is replaced by another evil? You wouldnt support the overthrow of a tyrant for another tyrant would you? Hasnt communism shown that it has brought nothing but despair? This is no small disagreement in ideology, it is one that would change the fate of the whole nation, one that could cause nationwide famine, and widespread death. How can he be a freedom fighter if later on he seeks to impose restrictions on freedom owing to his communist beliefs? we cannot only look at his fight against the brits and japs to judge the man. We must consider the overall goal in his fight.

    You can sing him praises today because he didnt have the chance to impose his communist policies on us. I am sure you would be singing a different tune if he actually won and ruled Malaysia. Can such a man be declared a hero?

    • “We must consider the whole purpose of his (Chin Peng’s) struggle, and not just his nationalism. He was a committed communist there can be no doubt and he would have imposed these policies on the people had he won. “—@Azfar September 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm,

      Agreed with Azfar, the end-objective of Chin Peng was to establish a Communist Regime in Malaya while his strategy of the means were intentionally made flexible. Hence he pursued a united front tactic of combining effort with the British to defeat the Japanese invaders while attracting cooperation from the Malay nationalists. Later he formed another united front effort with the nationalistic and left-leaning Malays to fight the British colonialists. When his end-objective was not achieved after 1957 MERDEKA, he carried on the fight against the Independent Sovereign Malaysia. So, he was a terrorist and not a nationalist as far as Malaysia is concerned.

  25. I fought in the Jungle in the early 80’s killing this bonkers. They killed, threatened and in some cases rape the women they come across. And now you are telling us to called them Hero’s. What we need now is to wipe out their second generation. These people are no Malaysian.

  26. Typical communist terrorist (CT) would come knocking at your door at 2.00 a.m. to ask you to ‘donate’ not just cash and foodstuff but also your children as cadre and if your children happens to be a female, she will be sterilized so that she could not bear you grandchildren. if you refuse to cooperate, you will be shot and your house plundered before it is set on fire. If our fore-fathers in British Borneo (Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei [almost joint]) did not join together in the formation of MALAYSIA. The entire Southeast Asia would have been a Communist Bloc from Vietnam all the way to Indonesia.

  27. Some “intelligent” commentors have clearly missed out Baling Talks to understand what was CP struggling for, even after Merdeka.

    CP also was fooled by Tunku, who refused to give him what he negotiated for- the dignity of a man.

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