The Chin Peng story: what Mahathir seems to have fogotten
Perak-born Che Dat bin Anjang Abdullah, otherwise known as Abdullah CD, was a top ranking member of the Communist Party of Malaya. He was once captured during the early months of the First Emergency (1948-1960) in Pahang and was sent to an internment camp in Melaka. As the camp was new, Abdullah CD and other detainees were tasked as labourers to complete the construction of the camp. There he met with a Malayan Civil Service official who was transferred to the camp to supervise its construction. Abdullah CD became friendly with this official and they frequently had casual talks. That night, Abdullah CD escaped. He went on to form the 10th Regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya and continued to wreak havoc until the Hat Yai Peace Agreement was signed on 2 December 1989.
When Dr Mahathir commented on the issue of Chin Peng’s ashes being brought back to Malaysia he said that if the likes of Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin could be brought back home without any hassle, why can’t Chin Peng’s ashes be brought back too? What could his ashes do? Mahathir is known for his display of malingering amnesia, usually seen in people who fake amnesia to commit insurance fraud or to avoid criminal punishment.
Shamsiah Fakeh joined the CPM after PKMM, API and AWAS were declared illegal by the authorities. After eight years of struggle, she was ordered to go to Beijing where she operated the Siaran Melayu Radio Beijing Antarabangsa, otherwise known as Suara Revolusi Malaya (I used to listen to it over short wave frequency when I was a teenager). In 1965, she was in Indonesia where she formed the Malayan National Freedom League, when Suharto launched a coup and Sukarno was deposed. As a result, Shamsiah Fakeh was arrested and spent two years in prison.
She returned to China in 1967 to find that the CPM had split into three – the CPM, the CPM Revolutioner and the CPM – Marxist Leninist. She and her husband Ibrahim became strong critics of the CPM and were eventually expelled from the organisation. This was probably one of the reasons that she was brought back by the Prime Minister’s Research Department on 23 July 1994; psychologically she was already against the CPM. Who was the Prime Minister who allowed her to return then?
Were Rashid Maidin and Abdullah CD allowed to return home as claimed by Mahathir? The answer is no. However, they were granted visit passes as agreed in the Hat Yai Agreement. Each time that they wanted to enter Malaysia to visit relatives they would have to inform the police first and a pass would be issued to them. Rashid Maidin died in Amphoe Si Sakhon, Changwat Narathiwat in September 2006 while Abdullah CD still lives in Amphoe Sukhirin, Changwat Narathiwat and is 96 years old. Who was the Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs who denied them citizenship and a chance to return to Malaysia?