PEOPLE upset over the return of late Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng’s ashes to Malaysia should remember history, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said.

Echoing Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s view on the subject, Anwar said it should not be made an issue.

He said Malaysia’s previous leaders had established and strengthened ties with the Communist Party of China, while bilateral relations with Beijing continue.

“The matter is under police investigation you should know history, know the problems of terrorism, know the battle that was fought, and know the sensitivities and feelings of the police and army (who fought).

“However, we should also know that peace has been achieved.

“Tun Razak began talks with Zhou Enlai,” Anwar said, referring to the beginning of Malaysia’s diplomatic ties with China, by second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein in 1974, after a few years of “friendship” talks between officials of both governments prior to that.

“Najib had good ties with the Communist Party of China, and now Dr Mahathir continues this bilateral relationship. I also have met the Communist Party.

“So, I don’t think Chin Peng’s ashes should be turned into an issue,” Anwar told reporters in the Parliament lobby today.

Under the Najib government, Malaysia had also sealed several major infrastructure projects with China, some of which are being continued, although at reduced cost by the Pakatan Harapan administration.

The ashes of Chin Peng, the former CPM secretary-general who died in Thailand in 2013, were brought into Malaysia in September by a group of his friends and scattered in his home state of Perak.

Even in death, he remains a reviled figure by Malaysians who lost loved ones during the communist insurgency, which ended in 1989 with the signing of the Hat Yai Peace Agreement between the CPM, Malaysia and Thailand.

Umno and PAS politicians faulted the PH government over the return of the ashes, but Putrajaya denied granting any permission for their return.

Dr Mahathir recently slammed the opposition for politicising the return of the ashes, saying that, in death, Chin Peng no longer had any influence.

Police question 7 over return, scattering of Chin Peng’s ashes

POLICE have questioned seven people about the return of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng’s ashes to Malaysia.

Twelve police reports have also been lodged nationwide since news last week that the ashes had been scattered by a group of people in Chin Peng’s home state of Perak, said Bukit Aman CID Prosecution and Law Division principal assistant director Mior Faridalathrash Wahid.

“So far, seven people have been questioned since last week, and the investigation is ongoing,” Mior told The Malaysian Insight.

A group of Chin Peng’s comrades last week said they had brought back his ashes from Thailand on September 16 and had scattered them on the same day.

One of the organisers, Chai Kan Fook, told The Malaysian Insight that they were not out cause problems but to fulfil Chin Peng’s dying wish.

Chin Peng, whose real name was Ong Boon Hua, was born in Perak. He died of cancer in Bangkok, where he had been living in exile, on September 16, 2013, about a month before his 89th birthday.

The former CPM secretary-general was forbidden from returning to Malaysia, despite the signing of the Hat Yai Peace Agreement on December 2, 1989, which ended the communist insurgency in Malaysia and Thailand. The CPM disbanded with the signing of the treaty.

Malaysia is signatory to the treaty, which allows for the return of CPM members and leaders, under conditions.

While certain ex-CPM members, such as Shamsiah Fakeh, have been allowed back into the country, Chin Peng has not.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said that Chin Peng had not been allowed to return because he had been a CPM leader.

However, Dr Mahathir also slammed those politicising the return of his ashes, saying that, in death, Chin Peng no longer had any influence.

The government has also denied granting any permission for the return of the ashes, in response to protests by Umno and PAS.

Among the few voices who have called for Malaysia to honour the agreement it signed, is former inspector-general of police, Abdul Rahim Noor, who signed the Hat Yai Peace Agreement on Malaysia’s behalf.

He said if the terms of the treaty had allowed Chin Peng to return on condition he did not revive communism, there was no reason for forbidding the return of the communist leader’s ashes.

Meanwhile, Umno lawmaker Hishammuddin Hussein said the entry of Chin Peng’s ashes across Malaysia’s borders was a serious matter, because it caught the Home Ministry unawares.

“If the ministry does not know how it happened, then all sorts of things can happen in the future.

Hishammuddin, who was formerly defence minister, said the Home Ministry should explain to the people how it was unable to detect the movement of Chin Peng’s ashes into the country, knowing that he was a sensitive figure to many Malaysians who lost loved ones fighting in the communist insurgency.

“Don’t play with the people’s emotions. An explanation should be given, so that there is no wrong impression,” the Sembrong MP told reporters in the Parliament lobby today.