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Published: Monday October 20, 2008 MYT 2:32:00 PM

Veteran communist leader Shamsiah Fakeh, 84, dies

KUALA LUMPUR: Shamsiah Fakeh, the veteran Communist leader who spent nearly 40 years in exile in China, died at 9am on Monday, after a lung infection. She was 84.

She passed away at her home in Jalan Kuchai Lama, according to her son Jamaluddin Ibrahim, 46.

Shamsiah was in poor health following a stroke in 1999 and, in the years prior to her death, she was largely unable to speak or walk, he said.

She is survived by two sons and four grandchildren.

An important figure in the struggle before independence, Shamsiah led the Angkatan Wanita Sedar (AWAS), Malaya’s first nationalist women’s organisation.

When the Malayan Emergency was declared in 1948, Shamsiah joined the predominantly ethnic-Malay 10th Rejiment of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP).

After 8 years in the jungle, she was sent to China in 1956 before returning to Malaysia in 1994.

The Kuala Pilah native, whose life was documented in the recent book Shamsiah Fakeh: Dari AWAS ke Rejimen Ke-10, was married 5 times and her husbands included nationalist leader Ahmad Boestamam and fellow MCP leader Ibrahim Mohamad.

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