KUALA LUMPUR, May 27, 2009 (AFP) – Malaysia on Wednesday ruled out appeals to allow the return of exiled former communist chief Chin Peng, who led a bloody guerrilla campaign after World War II.
Chin Peng lost his final legal appeal to return to Malaysia last month, but several groups including members of the ruling coalition have urged the government to allow the 85-year-old to return on humanitarian grounds.
“Malaysia will not allow Chin Peng to return,” Prime Minister Najib Razak told a press conference.
“This would create anger among people whose family members were killed during the emergency,” he added.
Chin Peng, the one-time boss of the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), left Malaysia shortly after the end of the 1948-1960 “Malayan Emergency” and has been in exile since. He is currently living in Thailand.
Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also said this week that his return would be an insult to the families of police and soldiers who died during the 12-year rebellion.
The CPM signed a peace agreement with the Malaysian government in 1989 that allowed several high-ranking communist leaders to return.
Chin Peng’s lawyer Darshan Singh has said he was blocked on the grounds he was still linked to a banned organisation with a “history of perpetrating terrorism”, and because of a dispute over his nationality.
“How can they say he is not Malaysian when his children, sisters and brothers are all citizens,” Singh told AFP this week.
Teng Hock Nan, a senior leader in the Gerakan party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, has appealed for the government to allow the ageing former guerrilla fighter to return.
Born Ong Boon Hua in Malaysia’s north in 1923, Chin Peng won the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and two medals for helping the British fight the Japanese in Malaya during World War II.
He later led the communist party, backed by China, in a guerrilla campaign against the British colonial and Malaysian governments.
Source : AFP