A “Coming Home” to Merdeka with Tunku and Chin Peng

By Dr. Collin Abraham

This should undoubtedly be the defining 52nd celebration of independence. The impeccable hands-on testimony and empirical evidence of Tunku’s son has invaluably added to the social historical reference of the Malayan Chapter in the Blackwell Encyclopedia on “Protest and Revolution”, and in the book the “Finest Hour: Malaysian-MCP Peace Accord in Perspective….,” by endorsing that Chin Peng had been in contact with and in fact “supported Tunku’s struggle for Independence" well before the Baling Talks. 

As far as is known, for the very first time Tunku Abdul Rahman acknowledged the receipt of a letter from Chin Peng in 1954, wherein the latter gave the assurance of Tunku’s safety in road travel throughout the country because he (Chin Peng) “supported the struggle for Independence”. Indeed, what is even more significant is that as a result of this letter, Tunku had the confidence to order the security forces in Johor to “back off” because he felt their presence might in fact have the opposite effect of “endangering his life”! 

Indeed, this added new evidence reinforces my conviction that as a result of this communication, Tunku subsequently initiated peace talks with Chin Peng, to the extent that there might even have been a shared “private agenda” between them towards independence. (It must be remembered that as early as 1953 (Sunday Times) Tunku stated “We are as much opposed to colonialism as the Malayan Communist Party” but unlike the latter seek independence through ‘righteous’ means. 

In this connection, therefore, serious questions have been raised as to why the Tunku apparently failed to honour the ‘righteous’ promise reportedly made by his Emissary to Chin Peng at Baling, that there would be further peace talks once he (Tunku) had successfully negotiated a declaration of independence from the British. The historical evidence clearly indicates that Chin Peng seriously believed in this ‘promise’, so that it can be convincingly argued that this was the reason for his unprecedented offer to ‘lay down arms’ once Tunku secured the Defense and Internal Security portfolios from the British. 

It is consequently being vehemently argued that this serious contradiction, which resulted in nearly 40 years of continued ‘war’ by the MCP with the elected independent government of Malaysia, must now be resolved once and for all, because it is without doubt the greatest single factor that has undermined what can be considered the “private agenda” by Chin Peng and the Tunku to seek peace and to initiate nation-building and national unity for all Malaysians.  

Chin Peng feels that the Tunku “betrayed” him. This is not surprising considering that even the IGP at the Baling Talks considered Chin Peng to be an honest man and in his words “I trust him”. But now with the new evidence from Tunku’s son it is clear the negative role and political manipulation of the British against a possible “shared agenda” forced the Tunku to ‘abdicate’ from his promise to Chin Peng. Indeed it can convincingly be argued that the ‘no further peace talks’with the MCP was made a sufficient condition for the granting of independence. The historical evidence for this is incriminating. For one thing the British were very ‘unhappy” with the Tunku’s desire to hold peace talks with Chin Peng on grounds, inter alia, that the former might concede “too much” to the latter. 

But what is absolutely crucial is that the British would not “stoop” to any lengths to demonize and destroy Chin Peng and the MCP once and for all so that there would be no further “problems” with the Communists.  

It is an indictment against the British therefore that they failed to honour the internationally recognized assurance and protection given to opposing parties to peace talks, and especially the assurance given to Tunku Abdul Rahman and David Marshall that Chin Peng would be given “protection” for safe return to his base. Instead, British military plans had been finalized for the assassination of Chin Peng after the Baling talks. He only managed to escape because the MCP took steps to avoid capture.