KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — MCA today joined rivals in Pakatan Rakyat, urging Putrajaya to allow Chin Peng to be buried in Malaysia, saying the deceased communist leader had not been a terrorist as currently depicted.
The party’s publicity bureau chief, Datuk Heng Seai Kie, today pointed out that the two terms were not interchangeable and should not be used as the reason to bar the return of Chin Peng’s remains for burial.
“Terrorists and communists are two different things,” Heng told The Malay Mail Online today.
“Unless Zahid means communist is equal to terrorist, then he means the whole of China is terrorist. China is still a communist country,” she added, referring to Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Media reports quoted Zahid yesterday as saying that Chin Peng was a “terrorist leader”, and not an independence fighter.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said yesterday that Putrajaya would not allow the former Malayan Communist Party (CPM) secretary-general to be buried in Malaysia, calling Chin Peng a “terrorist leader that waged war on the nation”.
Heng, however, said today that casualties were unavoidable in times of conflict.
“Those days, communists were fighting against the British - they said they wanted to chase the British away from this country. They are not fighting to kill our Malaysians,” said the MCA leader.
“He might have a different ideology or political stance, but he shouldn’t be labelled a terrorist,” added Heng.
Chin Peng, 88, died in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday after spending his final years there in exile.
Heng also stressed that Putrajaya should honour the Hat Yai peace treaty, which was signed in 1989 between CPM and the Malaysian and Thai governments, allowing CPM members who laid down their arms to return to their homeland if they wanted to.
“We should, with open hearts, let him come back to be buried here,” said Heng, noting that it was Chin Peng’s last wish to be buried in his home town in Sitiawan, Perak.
Chin Peng had lost his lawsuit, which was filed in 2009, to be allowed back into Malaysia when the Federal Court ruled a year later that he needed birth and citizen certificates to re-enter.
The former communist leader previously said both documents had been seized by the British in the late 1940s.