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The politics of the return of Chin Peng

Historically, Chinese Malaysian politics have been the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) represented the Kuomintang, the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) right till today.

Once the Malaysia/MCP Peace Agreement was signed on Dec 2, 1989 all MCP committee members including CD Abdullah, Rashid Maidin, Samsiah Fakeh, etc. and all ordinary members were allowed into Malaysia to reside or visit.

Many, however, returned to live in Betong Thailand. The Thai government gave them land and generous benefits and complete freedom of movement. So why is Uncle Chin Peng alone being denied entry despite the agreement?

There are three main reasons:

Firstly, elements in MCA oppose his return on ideological and personal reasons. Personal because many of their leaders and their relatives were killed by the MCP nationwide for they were then regarded as traitors.

But MCA could not be seen to oppose openly the return of Uncle Chin Peng as the Chinese masses still hero-worship Uncle Chin Peng. So, Umno and other rabid anti-communists were used as a cat’s paw to object and hysteria was whipped up.

The British colonialists killed and massacred over 10,000 Malayans (including at Batang Kali). The Japanese killed over 6,000. The British during their rule looted and stole over RM1,000 billion. Nationalities like Tok Janggut and Maharaja Lela were hanged or exiled. Yet today, we support and even allow them in under Malaysia’s ‘My Second Home’ programme.

The second reason is racial and religious. Chin Peng is not a Malay or a Muslim and racial politics impinge on this.

The third reason is that the ruling party Umno is annoyed and incensed that MCP claims (and this was supported by Sir Robert Thompson the British Adviser) that independence for Malaya was brought forward by 10 to15 years. Independence was given at the guns of the MCP and not that Tunku Abdul Rahman was knocking on an open door.

The truth is only now coming out into the daylight and the fact that our 6,000 Malay nationalists were detained at secret camps doing the Emergency (which was a war of independence) to make sure the struggle was seen as a racial in spite of the fact that the Malayan Communist Party is the oldest and first multiracial party in Malaya.

Yes, as Chin Peng says, he was willing to die for the country yet he is not allowed in. In my observation, Chin Peng is more Malaysian than any of us. He always speaks Bahasa Malaysia (Bahasa Baku) in his public speeches. He is a linguist and he regards Malaysia as his motherland.

What is wrong for him to live out his remaining days (he is 85 years old) among his grandchildren in Setiawan where his parents are also buried?

Because of the split in MCA, the opposition to Chin Peng’s return is now diluted and he may soon be allowed to return. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak also desperately needs Chinese support. So, opposition to Chin Peng’s return is illogical.

That Chin Peng is a citizen is not in doubt. What if he walks over the border and holds a press conference? He can only be charged for failing to obtain an entry pass and can be fined RM500 but he can prove his Malaysian citizenship.

As I promised Chin Peng’s in Hatyai on Nov 30, as long as I am alive and he is alive I will keep on fighting as his lawyer and make sure he returns one way or another. As I said to him, ‘the next time we meet shall be in Malaya in the near future. Au revoir till we meet again’.