Chin Peng's remains could stay in South

The ashes and remains of the Communist Party of Malaya's former leader Chin Peng, who is being cremated today, are likely to be kept in southern Thailand.

Chin Peng: Guests flock for cremation

The ex-CPM leader died in a Bangkok hospital on Sept 16, aged 89, and his body will be cremated at Wat That Thong on Sukhumvit Road today.

Chin Peng's funeral has become a solemn reunion of his relatives and descendants from Malaysia, Australia and other countries.

Surviving friends in China and Thailand from his younger days have also showed up. Most of them are 80-90 years old.

Former leaders of the defunct Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) Thong Chamsri, 90, and Vichai Chutham, in his mid-80s, also turned up to pay their respects on the first day of his prayer services on Friday. Some 40 ex-CPM members also attended the ceremony.

A dozen former CPM members from Malaysia's Penang town and other states bordering Thailand have also joined the ceremony, helping Chin Peng's family with funeral arrangements.

Another 25 people from Chin Peng's home town of Sitiawan have travelled more than 1,000km to Wat That Tong to pay their respects.

Former 4th Army Region commander Gen Kitti Rattanchaya and his aide Gen Akkanit Muensawad, who brokered negotiations between Malaysia and the CPM which resulted in a peace agreement in 1989, also attended.

Chua Tian Chang, better known as Tian Chua, an opposition MP from Batu constituency, travelled from the Malaysian capital to express his condolences to Chin Peng's family yesterday.

He said Malaysia should treat the former CPM leader with dignity.

Meanwhile, Malay supremacy advocate Utusan Malaysia claimed Chin Peng actually died on Sept 15, but records of his death were changed to Sept 16 to coincide with Malaysia Day, which marks the country's formation.

Chin Peng's death has caused controversy at home as the Malaysian government has refused to allow his remains to be taken back.

Family sources said some of Chin Peng's ashes and remains would probably be kept by his children and grandchildren. The rest would be equally divided and buried in the four villages where his former comrades were now residing.

The four villages are in Betong (Chulabhorn 10), Kabang (Chulabhorn 11) and Tarnto (Chulabhorn 9) districts of Yala, and Sukhirin district (Chulabhorn 12) of Narathiwat.

Former prime minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh will be guest of honour at today's cremation ceremony.

Gen Chavalit, who was army commander during the height of the CPM's guerrilla warfare antics in the South, was highly respected by not only Chin Peng's family but also the CPM army.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
Position: Senior Reporter