Did BN govt break Hat Yai Accord by refusing Chin Peng’s entry? Ngeh asks

The former Communist Party of Malaya secretary-general known as Chin Peng but born Ong Boon Hua was last photographed celebrating his 85th birthday at a Bangkok hotel on October 14, 2009. — Picture by Debra Chong
The former Communist Party of Malaya secretary-general known as Chin Peng but born Ong Boon Hua was last photographed celebrating his 85th birthday at a Bangkok hotel on October 14, 2009. — Picture by Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham has asked Putrajaya today if the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration had violated the terms of the three-way peace treaty with the Malaysian and Thai governments, as well as the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), known as the Hat Yai Accord.

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, the DAP MP said this was in relation to former CPM secretary-general Chin Peng’s failed bid to enter Malaysia, after the then government banned him from entering the country.

“Deputy Speaker, I intend to only ask the government one thing. Is it true that the Malaysian government under BN had violated an agreement which was inked between the government and the Communist on December 2, 1989, when the peace treaty between the government and the Communist Party was signed?”

“I would like to read this agreement, as it is only four paragraphs. And I would like to get an explanation from the government, so that Malaysians know truthfully, what was agreed upon, and that we can understand that the ashes of the late Chin Peng was brought back according to facts,” he added.

The Beruas MP then used his floor time to pose the question, in which he also raised one of the agreement’s terms, on allowing CPM members to live in Malaysia.

Among the terms of the Hat Yai Accord signed on December 2, 1989, CPM members who laid down their arms would be allowed to return to their homeland if they wanted.

Among the communist party members allowed home included its chairman Abdullah CD, though Malaysia had routinely denied Chin the same courtesy.

The Sitiawan-born former guerrilla fighter had launched a legal campaign to be allowed back into Malaysia in 2009, but lost his bid in the Federal Court in 2010.

He had lived a reclusive life in exile, mostly in Bangkok, Thailand, where he died on September 16, 2013, but the BN government also blocked efforts to bring his cremated remains back into the country.

News emerged yesterday, however, that his ashes have been brought into country and scattered at undisclosed locations near his birthplace.

While debating the Ministry of Defence’s allocation in Budget 2020, Ngeh also reminded the government on the image Malaysia would have globally, if it breaks international agreements which it had jointly signed.

“Why didn’t we follow the agreed terms? If we cannot follow an international agreement, to me, this is not good for Malaysia, as Malaysia’s name will be bad. And the agreement inked by us, if we don’t follow it, truly, people would not trust our integrity and our honesty,” Ngeh added.

In 2013, the late DAP leader Karpal Singh had also raised similar sentiments, lamenting that Putrajaya’s refusal to allow former Chin Peng — born Ong Boon Hua — to be buried in his Perak hometown, was a stain on the country’s honour.

The then Opposition party chairman chided the federal government for breaking the peace deal it inked 30 years ago in Hat Yai with the CPM and the Thai government that put an end to the decades-long guerrilla war that threatened the two South-east Asian nations’ democracy and economic growth.

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