Malaysia govt stands firm against return of communist leader Chin Peng's ashes

The Malaysia government will not allow the ashes of Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng to be brought back to Malaysia, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
The Malaysia government will not allow the ashes of Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng to be brought back to Malaysia, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

MALACCA - The Malaysia government will not allow the ashes of Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng to be brought back to Malaysia, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday.

"We will not allow his ashes to be brought back as we are sensitive to the feelings of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the soldiers, policemen and others whose family members were killed or maimed by the brutal CPM insurgents," Datuk Seri Zahid said at a news conference after launching an event at the Malacca Motorcycle Carnival, The Star reported.

Chin Peng, whose real name is Ong Boon Hua, led the armed struggle of the Communist Party of Malaya against the colonial British authorities and then the Malayan government after 1957.

The hostilities ended only in 1989 with a Thailand-brokered peace accord.

Chin Peng died of cancer in September last year at the age of 88. He had been living in exile in Thailand after the 1989 peace accord, and his attempts to return to his birthplace in Perak had been stymied by the Malaysian courts on the basis that he did not have citizenship papers.

Malaysian Premier Najib Razak has called him a "terrorist leader" and said that his ashes would not be allowed into the country.

But a non-governmental organisation, 21st Century Malaysia Friendship Association, recently called for the Malaysian government to respect the Hatyai Peace Accord which allowed Chin Peng's ashes to be brought back to the country, The Star said.

The Malaysian Chinese Association, a component party of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, had pointed out that the remains of ethnic Malay terrorists like Noordin Mohammad Top were allowed to be buried in their Malaysia hometowns.

On Sunday Dr Zahid also defended the government's move to strengthen the 1948 Sedition Act, reported the Star.

The Act will be amended to include sedition through the Internet, touching on religious sensitivities, and calling for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia. Dr Zahid was cited as saying the move was necessary to preserve unity and harmony in Malaysia's multiracial society.

"The Sedition Act was introduced in 1948 where there was no Internet at the time. Therefore, this Act needs to be amended," said Dr Zahid. He added that a Bill to amend the Sedition Act is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March next year.