By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Nov 27: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has expressed dismay and disappointment over the move to bring back Chin Peng’s ashes to the country.
He said bringing back the ashes of the former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader to Malaysia was not only insensitive to the people, but also a blatant disregard to those who had lost their lives in defending the country from communist threat.
“(During) the last withdrawal of communists in Sarawak in October 1990, 50 of them refused to leave the jungle as they refused to surrender to the government.
“There is no denial that they were not fighting the Japanese, but in fact, they were fighting to change the government (of Malaysia) to set up a communist state,” said Wan Junaidi when debating the Defence Ministry’s allocation at the Parliamentary sitting today.
The former deputy Home minister said he was only 24 when he participated in his first operation, where he subsequently spent five years in the jungle, to fight the communist insurgency,
“In Sarawak, many servicemen and policemen, as well as civilians, were killed by the communists during attacks, particularly in the 1970s.
“In a skirmish in Kapit, 18 members of the Royal Malay Regiment were killed by the communists and in Ngemah, 14 Border Scouts were killed. Most of those killed were Dayak and Malays,” said Wan Junaidi.
He added that due to unaccounted number of deaths and destruction by the communists, he agreed with the previous government’s stand that the remains of Chin Peng should not be brought back to Malaysia.
“This is not about being emotional, but the stand by the previous government was made after looking into various angles and history. And I still agree with that,” he said.
Wan Junaidi’s view was supported by Barisan Nasional’s Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor, who was a former high ranking police officer and his two colleagues from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), namely Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi and Kanowit MP Datuk Aaron Dagang.
Nanta revealed that he even lost an uncle in an ambush by the communists and there were many veterans in Sarawak who have witnessed and survived the attacks who can testify on the hardship during that period of time.
Aaron said a memorial monument had been built in Ngemah to commemorate those who lost their lives to the communists.
It was reported that the ashes of Chin Peng or Ong Boon Hua, had been brought back to Malaysia on Sept 16 and that his ashes were reportedly scattered into the sea off Lumut, as well as the Titiwangsa range in Perak.
It was also reported that a memorial ceremony was allegedly held on the same day.
Chin Peng, born in Sitiawan, Perak, in 1924, died of cancer in a Thai hospital at the age of 89, while in exile.
He headed the CPM’s guerrilla insurgency during the Malayan Emergency in an attempt to establish an independent communist state.
In 1968, Chin Peng waged a second campaign against the government to replace the administration with a communist regime. This period saw Chin Peng’s forces ambush military convoys, bombing national monuments, and assassinate police officers and political targets.
Peace with the Malaysian government was finally brokered in 1989, with the signing of the Peace Agreement of Hat Yai.
The previous Barisan government had issued a warning against bringing his remains or ashes back to Malaysia.
The Federal Court, on April 30, 2009, had ruled against his application to reside in Malaysia because he was unable to prove he was born in the country. — DayakDaily