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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chin Peng’s Farewell: A Letter to Comrades and Compatriots

My dear comrades, my dear compatriots,

When you read this letter, I am no more in this world.It was my original intention to pass away quietly and let my relatives handle the funeral matters in private. However, the repercussions of erroneous media reports of me in critical condition during October 2011, had persuaded me that leaving behind such a letter is desirable.

Ever since I joined the Communist Party of Malaya and eventually became its secretary-general, I have given both my spiritual and physical self in the service of the cause that my party represented, that is, to fight for a fairer and better society based on socialist ideals. Now with my passing away, it is time that my body be returned to my family.

I draw immense comfort in the fact that my two children are willing to take care of me, a father who could not give them family love, warmth and protection ever since their birth. I could only return my love to them after I had relinquished my political and public duties, ironically only at a time when I have no more life left to give to them as a father.

It was regrettable that I had to be introduced to them well advanced in their adulthood as a stranger. I have no right to ask them to understand, nor to forgive. They have no choice but to face this harsh reality. Like families of many martyrs and comrades, they too have to endure hardship and suffering not out of their own doing, but out of a consequence of our decision to challenge the cruel forces in the society which we sought to change.

It is most unfortunate that I couldn’t, after all, pay my last respects to my parents buried in hometown of Sitiawan (in Perak), nor could I set foot on the beloved motherland that my comrades and I had fought so hard for against the aggressors and colonialists.

chinpeng01My comrades and I had dedicated our lives to a political cause that we believed in and had to pay whatever price there was as a result. Whatever consequences on ourselves, our family and the society, we would accept with serenity.

In the final analysis, I wish to be remembered simply as a good man who could tell the world that he had dared to spend his entire life in pursuit of his own ideals to create a better world for his people.

It is irrelevant whether I succeeded or failed, at least I did what I did. Hopefully the path I had walked on would be followed and improved upon by the young after me. It is my conviction that the flames of social justice and humanity will never die. – September 21, 2013.

* Chin Peng died at hospital in Bangkok on Malaysia Day, September 16, 2013 at the age of 89. This is his final letter to his comrades and compatriots published in his memorial booklet.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

DM latest3MY COMMENT: My views on the status of the late Chin Peng are well known. I think his remains should be brought home and his wish to be interred with his parents should be granted. It is not being magnanimous but about honouring our treaty obligations. 

I therefore compliment the former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor for standing up for the rights of Chin Peng under the 1989 Hatyai Peace Agreement between the Malaysian Government and the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). On the other hand, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir under whose administration the peace deal was signed did not make any comment on the Chin Peng matter. I suppose it is convenient for him not speak on this issue since his son, Dato Mukhriz, has entered the race for UMNO Vice Presidency.
Now that Chin Peng is dead, his cremated remains should be brought home to be buried beside his parents. This is not about politics. It is the most honorable and decent thing to do. We must also learn to accept our history, and recognise that Chin Peng fought the Japanese and British imperialists, although we may not accept his ideology and methods. More importantly, when our government signed that peace treaty, we accepted him and his comrades as non-combatants and partners in peace.

Yes, many lives were lost during the Emergency (1948-1960). Armed conflicts cost lives. The United States lost 55,000 soldiers and Vietnam many times more. But once the Americans and the Vietnamese signed the Paris Peace agreement,  they began the process of rebuilding their relations, and today both former combatants are working together to advance their common interests. Reconciliation is possible only if we can come to terms with our past and learn the lessons of our history.–Din Merican

Related posts:
Chin Peng's remains couldn't be interred in his Sitiawan hometown to be cremated in Bangkok instead 

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