Remains of Chin Peng to stay in South
The ashes of Chin Peng will likely be kept for remembrance in four southern villages where his Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) comrades resettled after the 1989 peace agreement, sources said Sunday.
- Published: 22/09/2013 at 04:01 PM
- Newspaper section: news
Relatives and mourners stand in front of a portrait of former Malayan Communist Party leader Chin Peng during his funeral at a temple in Bangkok on Sept 20, 2013. (Reuters Photo)
Chin Peng’s funeral at Wat That Thong temple has become a solemn reunion of relatives and descendants from Malaysia and Australia of the elusive leader of the defunct CPM.
Surviving friends from Chin Peng's younger days in China and Thailand also showed up. Most of them are 80 to 90 years old.
Former secretaries general of the defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT), Thong Chamsri, 90, and Vichai Chutham (mid-80s), paid homage to their CPM counterparts at the temple on the first day of prayer services.
Some 40 CPM comrades from the four remote villages in the South, who once were part of a thousand-strong CPM force in the old days turned up to pay their last respects to their beloved leader as well.
A dozen former CPM members from Penang and other bordering states were among the first to arrive, sharing chores with Chin Peng’s family and staff as they prepared the temple’s prayer pavilion for guests and notice boards.
About 25 people from Chin Peng's native town of Sitiawan in Perak state travelled over 1,000 kilometres to Wat That Tong where the body of the 89-year-old will be cremated on Monday.
Gen Kitti Rattanchaya, former commander of the 4th Army Region, and his key aide who brokered negotiations between Malaysia and the CPM, and Gen Akkanit Muensawad also showed up on the first day when they moved Chin Peng’s body from Bamrungrad Hospital to the temple.
Chua Tian Chang, better known as Tian Chua, an opposition MP from the Batu electorate in Malaysia, flew from Kuala Lumpur to express personal condolences to Chin Peng’s family on Sunday. He said Malaysia should treat him fairly and with dignity.
Meanwhile an ultra-Malay supremacy-advocate, Utusan Malaysia, claimed that Chin Peng's death was changed from Sept 15 to coincide with Malaysia Day on Sept 16.
Chin Peng's death has caused controversy at home as the government has refused to allow his remains to be brought back.
But family sources said ashes and remains would likely be kept partially by direct children and grandchildren of Chin Peng while most would be equally buried in the villages where his former comrades were now residing.
The four villages include Yala’s Betong (Chulabhorn 10), Kabang (Chulabhorn 11), and Tarnto (Chulabhorn 9) districts and Narathiwat’s Sukhirin district (Chulabhorn 12).
Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, then army commander, will be a guest of honour on the cremation day in which many former members of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) will be present.
Gen Chavalit was held in high regard by Chin Peng’s family and the CPM army.
Thong Chamsri told the Bangkok Post that it was a pity that communism has been fading globally but he hoped the younger generation who have experienced different types of injustice in their affluent societies would carry the torch.
"Successful stories can actually be seen in China and Vietnam. So if we resolve the crisis of existence or faith in communism, we could walk on the same path," said the 90-year-old Thong.
Abdulrahmae Jehmama, Kabang's village head, told the Bangkok Post that he joined the CPM when he was 12 years old, when neither the CPT nor the Muslim separatists had reached out to the villagers, only the CPM.
Mr Abdulrahmae said he found discussions and arguments in favour of the CPM convincing and justified, therefore he joined the jungle fighting for 15 years.
"We feel sorry that Malaysia does not honour the agreement pledged with our leader to allow him back. He has been denied his rights and dignity as a person and a hero," said Mr Abdulrahmae in a telephone interview.
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
- Position: Reporter