PETALING JAYA: Having the ashes of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng back on Malaysian soil should never have been an issue, said former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor.
Rahim was the director of the Special Branch who was instrumental in brokering the peace deal with the communist party in the 1980s, culminating in the signing of the Hat Yai Peace Accord in 1989.
“One of the terms (of the agreement) provided for all CPM members to return home, with the condition that they cannot revive their struggle here.
“So, if Chin Peng himself was allowed to come back, why can’t his ashes be returned?, ” he said.
Rahim said when the peace treaty was signed, it showed that the CPM had been defeated and its struggle had ended.
“However, I understand it is a sensitive issue among the general public. If his ashes were brought back quietly, it may not have been an issue, ” he said.
Chin Peng, whose real name is Ong Boon Hua, was the CPM’s secretary-general until the party laid down arms in 1989.
He died in Thailand in 2013.
National Patriots Association (Patriot) president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji concurred with Rahim.
“It is the right statement to be made. We should not give differential treatment based on race.”
Retired Senior Police Officers Association of Malaysia spokesperson Datuk Meor Chek Hussien Mahayuddin said bringing back Chin Peng’s ashes was an insult to members of the security forces who had sacrificed a lot to ensure the CPM was defeated.
“Some lost their lives while others were deeply scarred from the struggle, and bringing back Chin Peng’s ashes amounts to an injustice to the struggle of the security forces. It is also bad for families of CPM’s victims.
“The return of his ashes is not acceptable, ” he said.
On Wednesday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government had never allowed Chin Peng’s ashes to be brought back to Malaysia.
He said based on the guidelines on bringing back and taking out the ashes of someone, the Customs Department must be informed.