Baling Talks led Zainuddin to journalism

  • Nation
  • Monday, 27 Oct 2003

ONE person who has come out strongly against Chin Peng's return to Malaysia is Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin.  

“Chin Peng is our enemy who had brutally killed our people. He may be wearing a suit now, but he is still a communist. 

“Many Chinese too had lost their lives in the hands of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) during the Emergency, including civilians,” he said. 

Ironically, for someone who speaks in such hostile terms about communism, the ideology and its development in pre-independence Malaya were somewhat a positive factor in charting his career path.  

In a recent interview, Zainuddin revealed that it was communism that first inspired him to be a journalist, a profession that later served as a launching pad for his entry into politics. 

The year was 1955. Zainuddin was a 16-year-old when the Baling Talks was held between CPM and the government of Malaya, which was still under British rule but preparing for a transition to self-rule with mounting pressure from both the communist threat and the people's aspirations. 

He was swept up in the excitement generated by the peace talks aimed at disarming the communists, which saw the local folk eagerly awaiting every piece of news coming out of Baling and debating the latest developments. 

“I was living then in a village in Kota Kuala Muda in Kedah, where my disabled uncle ran a news-stand from home. 

“I could feel the excitement as people were pouring into the house to get the papers and they sometimes lingered on to talk about the implication of the peace talks on the country’s direction as it headed towards independence. 

“There was a strong sense of nationalism in the air then. I was moved and made up my mind that I wanted to become a journalist one day to witness major events unfolding personally,” he recalled. 

(Historians believe that the failed Baling Talks had played a role in speeding up the independence process as Tunku Abdul Rahman – who went on to become the first prime minister – had used the communist threat as a bargaining chip to put pressure on the British.) 

Thirty years later, not only had Zainuddin fulfilled his ambition to become a journalist, but he was also among those covering the second peace talks between the CPM and the Malaysian Government in Haadyai in 1989. 

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Nation

LHDN appoints Mohd Nizom as new CEO
Melaka polls: Umno to discuss candidates with Zahid after launch of BN machinery, says Ab Rauf
Prophet Muhammad teaches people to remain united regardless of their backgrounds, says Ismail Sabri
Sultan Nazrin calls on scholars, leaders to work together to fight corruption
Covid-19: 2.8% from 5,434 new cases in Categories 3, 4 and 5, says Health DG
Orang Asli settlement in Lipis under EMCO from Oct 20 to Nov 2
Let's work towards improving all aspects of our daily lives, says Dr Wee in conjunction with Maulidur Rasul
Second water treatment plant expected to solve water supply issue in Pitas, says Mahdzir
Malaysia to work with Indonesia on mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, says Saifuddin
Woman's dream of extra income dashed as scammer fleeces her of RM41,000

Others Also Read