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Sunday November 22, 2009
By FOONG THIM LENG and MARTIN VENGADESAN
Now that Chin Peng has
finally apologised for his
actions, some may feel it
is time to forgive him but
others offer very strong
reasons why he should
I am against the return of Chin Peng. I think it will create unnessary ill-feeling among the people. I know certain ex-CPM guerillas and even some leaders have returned to visit their families, but Chin Peng is a different case.
“Firstly, he has not met certain legal requirements. Secondly, he is the man people identify with communist terrorism. We must not forget it was quite a brutal struggle in which many Malaysians lost their lives. Of course, in war, there is brutality on both sides.
“Most of the younger generation will have forgotten the terror of the communist struggles but for older people, Chin Peng was like the Osama (bin Laden) of his time. Those who lived through the Emergency will find it difficult to forgive and forget, much as many older people still remember the cruelty of the Japanese who occupied Malaya (during World War II).
“I also think that Chin Peng would be frustrated if he came back. This is not the Malaysia he wanted to create. Now the communists want to claim they had a share of (achieving) independence, but they didn’t want this Malaysia. They were defeated.”
“(As a journalist) I covered the signing of the Peace Accord in 1989. It was very dramatic, tense and exiting. I recalled being a student in 1955, reading about the Baling Talks and being inspired to become a journalist. I felt excited to be a witness to history. A witness to the end of the story. It was a great moment in Malaysia’s history.” – Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin, former Information Minister (2006-2008)
“Chin Peng, as architect and director of the CPM’s 41-year-long armed rebellion and insurgency – which caused untold hardship, thousands of cruel deaths and disabling injuries to civillians and security forces and loss of a collosal amount of the nation’s treasury – deserves no less than a capital charge.
“However, the Government signed the Peace Accord with the CPM and should be bound by its terms. So whether Chin Peng should be allowed back should depend solely on whether he qualifies under the terms, not otherwise.
“The CPM were murderous terrorists. ASP Baskaran Nair was badly wounded in a CPM ambush in Hendon Estate, Province Wellesley, in 1952. Some of his men were killed and a number wounded. The terrorists came down and shot the wounded in their heads.
“In October 1968, they captured a Chinese police signaller in an ambush and took him back and executed him. They abducted thousands of civillians but none came back. Most retired officers have no love for them.
“The bloody insurgency followed on the heels of World War II. I don’t think the Chinese here who suffered at the hands of Japanese soldiers have forgiven them, it is just that they are not visiting on today’s innocent Japanese the crimes of those murderers of 1941-45!
“Mind you, many of those Japanese were hung or imprisoned after their surrender. Their Government apologised and paid war compensation. The secondary school of SMK Horley Methodist Teluk Intan (in Perak), my alma mater, was largely built on the war reparations paid out to Lower Perak Malays.
“The CPM has neither apologised (until now) nor paid compensation. Instead, they try to white-wash their evil deeds in their memoirs.”
– Tun Hanif Omar, retired Inspector General of Police (1974-1994)
“Although he was born in Malaya, Chin Peng was never a citizen of Malaysia. He never applied to be one after Malaya achieved independence in August 1957 but chose to continue to fight the legally elected Government of Malaya simply because he claimed that it was still a lackey of the British Government.
“But his hidden agenda was to install a Communist system of government aligned to the Communist Party of China.
“Six years after Malaysia was formed, he sent a group of about 120 communist combatants to the south and into Kedah, Perak and West Pahang. He thought that he could gain the support of the masses after the May 13, 1969, riots. This incursion is termed the Second Emergency and it lasted till Dec 2, 1989, when the Peace Accord was signed.
“He refused to give up his communist ideology and he preferred to remain in Thailand where he believed that he was getting a better ‘deal’ than returning to Malaysia.
“Now, years later, he has realised his mistake after seeing his ex-comrades enjoying good and properous lives here, and decides that ‘home sweet home’ is none other than Sitiawan. Our Government cannot and must not dance to his whim and fancies.
“Those of us who are against his return to Malaysia are the ones who fought hard and were committed to getting rid of the communist menace so that we, the people of Malaysia, can live in peace and harmony under a democratic system of government.” – Retired superintendent of Special Branch Paul Kiong, 65, one of only 27 recipients of the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) the country’s highest medal for gallantry
“Chin Peng’s return will only serve to open ‘old wounds’. We have got on with our lives and have lived in peace for so long so why create issues now and remind us of the sad times?
“I lost my right leg and injured the other leg when I stepped on a booby trap in a jungle operation in Klian Intan in 1981. I spent 10 painful months in hospital after my leg was amputated.
“My old injuries still hurt on rainy days and that brings back the memories. I am not out for revenge but the pain brings out the anger again.
“I am not opposed to Chin Peng’s return because he is a Chinese. I know of a Malay CPM member in Gopeng and I feel he too should haved stayed out of the country. I have told his relatives as much.” – Retired L/Kpl of the Malay Rejimen Suparman Taib, 55
Life in exile
My friend, my enemy
So close and yet so far
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