September 20th, 2013

Chin Peng komunis, bukan nasionalis

Keganasan PKM tak boleh dimaafkan

Tidak berapa lama dulu ketika sakit, pemimpin Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM), Chin Peng memohon supaya dibenarkan ditanam di kampung asalnya di Sitiawan, Perak apabila meninggal. Dia sebelum itu telah memohon untuk kembali ke Malaysia pada 2000 tetapi ditolak oleh kerajaan dan mengharamkannya pulang.

Permohonannya ke Mahkamah Tinggi pun ditolak pada 2005 yang kemudian disahkan oleh Mahkamah Rayuan dan Mahkamah Persekutuan.

Kini setelah meninggal di hospital di Bangkok, sudah ada pula usaha untuk membawa abu mayatnya pulang ke negara ini. Ini juga telah ditolak oleh kerajaan. Ramai sangsi nanti akan ada puak yang bersimpati dengannya menjadikan tempat abu mayatnya disimpan sebagai satu tugu untuk memperingati perjuangannya.

Keseluruhan riwayatnya adalah menentang pemerintahan. Mulanya dengan penjajah British dan Jepun kononnya mahu membebaskan negara daripada penjajah tetapi penentangannya itu berterusan walaupun negara sudah mencapai kemerdekaan.

Darurat yang mulanya diisytiharkan British pada 1948 telah berterusan hingga 1960 apabila ia diisytiharkan sudah berakhir. Dalam tempoh itu lebih daripada 10,000 anggota keselamatan dan orang awam, termasuk wanita dan kanak-kanak menjadi mangsa keganasan Chin Peng.

Tragedi Bukit Kepong

Antara keganasan yang tidak mungkin boleh dilupakan ialah serangan segerombolan 180 orang PKM ke atas balai polis di Bukit Kepong, Muar pada 1950 yang mengorbankan 14 anggota polis dan enam pembantu serta dua isteri dan dua kanak-kanak.

Melihat kepada keganasan berterusan mereka bukan saja terhadap penjajah British tetapi juga terhadap kerajaan yang sah setelah negara mencapai kemerdekaan, bagaimana sesetengah warga negara ini boleh menganggapnya sebagai pejuang kemerdekaan?

Malah dalam usaha untuk ‘memutihkan keganasannya’ itu ada pula blog yang jelas penyokong sebuah parti pembangkang tergamak bermain politik, kononnya kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu dan kemudiannya Malaysia adalah atas rancangan British sendiri untuk menubuhkan sebuah kerajaan bonekanya di sini.

Kononnya kemerdekaan tulen hanya boleh tercapai dengan peperangan rakyat ke atas penjajah.

Berikutan kematian Chin Peng itu, kelompok ini telah tampil untuk menutup keganasan PKM kononnya mereka juga adalah pejuang kemerdekaan dan harus diiktiraf sedemikian.

PKM mungkin berjuang menentang British sebelum kemerdekaan dan juga Jepun waktu peperangan Dunia Kedua antara 1940 dan 1945. Tetapi setelah merdeka diisytiharkan dengan rakyat negara ini menubuhkan kerajaan yang mereka sendiri pilih melalui pilihan raya, apakah ini pun masih menjadi negara boneka? Apakah keseluruhan pengundi di sini boneka British?

Rundingan Baling gagal

Inilah masalahnya apabila tidak boleh menerima kenyataan hanya kerana mempunyai perjuangan politik berbeza dengan parti yang dipilih rakyat.

Bagaimanapun menjelang tercapainya kemerdekaan pimpinan negara pada waktu itu, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra berusaha untuk memujuk Chin Peng dan pengganasnya memberhentikan peperangan mereka dalam satu pertemuan di Baling. Malangnya rundingan itu gagal hanya kerana Chin Peng tegas tidak mahu meletakkan senjata tetapi bertekad mahu terus berperang.

Sejak itu keganasan PKM terhadap orang ramai berterusan walaupun setelah darurat diisytiharkan tamat pada 1960. Malah keganasan mereka semakin ketara dengan tumpuan dialihkan ke bandar.

Ini telah membawa kepada pelbagai serangan seperti menembak hingga mati Ketua Polis Negara ketika itu, Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim pada 7 Jun 1974 di tengah-tengah bandar Kuala Lumpur di Jalan Perak.

Setahun kemudian mereka membunuh Ketua Polis Perak, Tan Sri Khoo Chong Kong dan telah juga mengebom dan merosakkan Tugu Negara.

Apakah segala keganasan demikian mahu dilupakan puak yang menyokong mayat atau abunya dibawa ke Sitiawan? Bagaimanapun pada 1989, perjanjian keamanan telah ditandatangani di Haatyai, Thailand antara kerajaan dan PKM yang mana mereka bersetuju untuk menamatkan keganasan.

Di bawah perjanjian itu, anggota PKM diberi tempoh setahun untuk memohon kembali ke tanah air hidup sebagai rakyat biasa tanpa terbabit dalam sebarang keganasan.

Tiada ruang kembali

Ketua Polis Negara waktu itu, Tun Hanif Omar, berkata 300 anggota PKM telah memohon dan diterima kembali. Bagaimanapun, Chin Peng tidak memohon, tidak seperti yang ditohmahkan oleh sebuah akhbar Inggeris di sini.

Sekiranya waktu itu ketika diberi kelonggaran yang amat meluas dia tidak mahu kembali, kenapa pula setelah sudah begitu tenat baru terfikir mahu kembali. Ia sudah terlambat dan kini jasad atau pun abunya pula mahu dibawa pulang ke negara ini dan disokong pula DAP.

Jelaslah, mereka tidak menghiraukan segala keganasan yang telah berlaku dan mahu dilupakan begitu saja.

Rejal Arbee ialah Felo Kanan UKM. Berita Harian Online Rencana 19/09/2013

Pengkhianat bukan wira

TINDAKAN segelintir rakyat kita sendiri yang cuba menonjolkan bekas Setiausaha Agung Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM), mendiang Chin Peng, yang meninggal dunia di Bangkok baru-baru ini sebagai wira dan pejuang negara cukup menyedihkan dan mengecewakan.

Hal ini kerana sejarah negara dengan jelas membuktikan betapa komunis menjadi ancaman yang cukup besar, melakukan pelbagai kemusnahan terutamanya kekejaman terhadap rakyat tempatan. Ringkasnya, ribuan nyawa terkorban, termasuk anggota pasukan keselamatan, angkara keganasan dan kekejaman komunis terhadap rakyat negara ini. Kenapa begitu mudah rakyat kita sendiri lupa tentang sejarah ini atau pura-pura lupa hanya untuk meraih pengaruh politik dalam kalangan masyarakat?

Seperti kata Bekas Panglima Angkatan Tentera, Jeneral Tan Sri Mohd. Ghazali Mohd. Seth, dosa Chin Peng terhadap negara dan rakyat ini terlalu besar dan tidak boleh dimaafkan sama sekali.

Justeru tindakan untuk mengagungkan perjuangan Chin Peng dan komunis wajar dilihat sebagai usaha menafikan perjuangan para perajurit kita, malah ia boleh disifatkan sebagai tindakan menghina bekas-bekas perwira negara yang telah terkorban di tangan komunis dalam mempertahankan ibu pertiwi.

Kita berharap sangat agar pihak yang cuba mengangkat Chin Peng sebagai wira hentikan segera perbuatan tersebut. Baca dan fahamilah sejarah negara dan sejarah perjuangan komunis secara menyeluruh sebelum membuat sesuatu kesimpulan mahupun tuduhan.

Selami dan fahami juga hati dan perasaan ahli keluarga mangsa kekejaman komunis di negara ini tatkala kita cuba memuja Chin Peng dan perjuangannya.

Apa yang pasti komunis tetap komunis selamanya. Ideologi perjuangannya cukup nyata dan jelas. Maka tidak perlu dan tidak wajar ada rasa kasihan, apatah lagi usaha untuk menghalalkan perjuangan dan tindakan kejam mereka terhadap perwira negara.

Sekarang Chin Peng sudahpun menjadi sejarah. Biarlah sejarah menghakimi segala kekejaman dan keganasan yang beliau dan rakan-rakannya lakukan terhadap rakyat dan negara ini. Setiap nyawa yang terkorban serta setiap titisan darah yang diakibatkan oleh komunis tidak wajar dilupakan begitu saja.

Dalam hal ini generasi muda yang ada pada hari ini wajar dididik dan diberi penjelasan serta penerangan yang betul tentang kekejaman komunis serta perjuangan para perwira negara dalam melawan komunis dan mempertahankan negara. Jangan sesekali kita cuba memutarbelit fakta dan sejarah demi merasionalkan tindakan mahupun hujah kita.

Semoga pihak kerajaan terus tegas dalam soal ini. Tiada ruang untuk berkompromi mahupun bertolak ansur walau dalam apa jua keadaan sekalipun. Kita tidak mahu pengkhianat diangkat sebagai wira hanya kerana kepentingan peribadi mahupun politik pihak tertentu.


NOOR MOHAMAD SHAKIL Serdang, Selangor Utusan Malaysia Online Forum 20130919

From ashes to stashes

Some people have strange ways of fulfilling the last wishes of the dying – milk, sand and even gold. So, how about the dying wish of a man who will soon be nothing but a handful of ash?

AN aunt is dying. My late mother’s sister, now into her 90s, is bedridden and very ill. She doesn’t recognise most people around her and is unable to talk.

In fact, the doctors believe she should have gone by now. But the once sprightly lady is hanging on to her fragile life.

My sister has her own take on it. She believes the old lady has a dying wish. She wants to see her estranged son.

“If only we can find the son who was last seen in Penang and take him to Taiping, she will go in peace,” says the sister.

I don’t know. It sounds like a lot of superstition to me. But stranger things have happened.

My grandmother – the mother of the dying lady – was also one who refused to go easily. Known as the bespectacled lady in Taiping, she was also ill for a long time.

Actually, her headstone was stored under her bed, waiting for the fateful day. They even got some vashtu sastra guys to rearrange her bed so she would breathe her last.

Nothing worked – until someone pointed out that she was “The Bespectacled Lady”. So, they put her glasses on. The funeral was held the next day.

There was also another relative who would not go easily. He had left his wife and remarried a much younger woman. When his time came, he too was hanging on to dear life, until a son managed to convince his mother – the first wife – to visit.

She finally relented and agreed to come, provided the second wife was not around. She showed up and hours later, he was gone.

I tell you, we Indians have some strange rituals for those on their deathbeds. Usually, all and sundry would show up and feed the dying person a spoon of milk each.

In some cases, they feed the dying person water mixed with fine sand – it’s supposed to satiate the person’s attachment to the earth and their property. Or water mixed with melted gold – that’s supposed to allow them to take wealth with them to the hereafter.

Me? I think it’s just a case of choking the dying person to end their misery. Which brings me to another old man with a dying wish. Chin Peng is dead and he wanted to die in Malaysia, the land of his birth.

He failed miserably there. He was too much a bad guy here to be allowed in even in his dying days.

But his ashes? I think it’s a bit of an overkill to harp on his evil ways of old to justify not allowing his ashes to be brought in. There are those who fear that the place where his ashes are placed might be turned into a memorial.

Then, I say, the authorities should identify the place where his ashes are and monitor the spot to ensure no one changes it into a memorial.

That beats monitoring the entire border from east to west to prevent anyone from smuggling in the ashes in a backpack, bottle or talcum powder container.

I mean, it’s just ash. You could stash it anywhere. And it’s not as if the ashes are likely to coagulate into some kind of Sandman and start spouting communism.

Meanwhile, there’s this other neighbour that, come every August, sends over tonnes of ash, blinding our eyes, choking our throats and raising our medical bills. We haven’t been able to do anything about that ash either.

So what makes anyone think they can stop some guys from smuggling a little ash over the border?

These guys are smuggling guns in by the thousands (I get the impression) and we haven’t been able to do anything about that either.

There are many who have written about the monstrosities that Chin Peng wrought.

Having been born this side of Merdeka and having grown up in Penang, I had little or no experience with the communist terrorists.

Final rites: The Wat That Thong temple where Chin Peng will be cremated in Bangkok.

There was May 13 and terrorism for me was what happened in New York or Indonesia. But even if he was a bad man, it was a war then and people died on both sides. The victors write history and he was a loser. We can forgive and move on.

Nelson Mandela is a great man because he forgave his jailers even as he walked out of prison.

Or we can remember Mahatma Gandhi who said: “The weak can never forgive, forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

And we can be strong.

Mahatma Gandhi would turn 134 on Oct 2, if he were still around. And the writer DORAIRAJ NADASON , who can be reached at raj@thestar.com.my, The Star’s Deputy Executive Editor  thinks it would be nice if the great man’s words will ring loud here, too. The STAR Online Home News Columnist 20/09/2013

Chin Peng: Painful memories remain

IT must have been a prank of fate that just as Malaysia was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its formation, two of its most historic nemeses stole the headlines.

Not many Malaysians know that one of the figures of history who led the formation of Malaysia, Singapore's founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, celebrated his 90th birthday on Sept 16, the same day the leader of Communist Party of Malaya, Chin Peng, died in Bangkok.

In Malaysia's charged political atmosphere, the issue of Chin Peng returning to Malaysia has become yet another political flashpoint, debated by both sides of the political divide.

DAP leaders were quick to advocate for the remains of Chin Peng to be buried in Malaysia. They argued he was a nationalist who fought for the independence of Malaya against the British colonials.

The government is standing firm that Chin Peng cannot return. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi asserted that Chin Peng was a terrorist and not a freedom fighter. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein called him a traitor who had undermined national sovereignty.

Where is the truth in all this?

History is rarely black and white, as textbooks and apologists would want us to believe. Yes, Chin Peng fought against the Japanese. Yes, the British decorated him for his role in resisting the Japanese occupation. But, Chin Peng didn't stop there.

He fought the British and he fought the Malayan government, which by 1957 was a sovereign government when Tunku Abdul Rahman and his colleagues took over from the British. And, yes, he fought against Malaysia, too, when it was formed in 1963.

Chin Peng an "independence fighter"? Yes, he was fighting against the Japanese in order to impose a communist state in Malaya. Some argued that the Malayan government post-1957 was still a British construct. Perhaps, but by 1955, this was also a government that was duly elected by its people. And, at no time in Malayan history, or even Malaysian history, could it be said that there was a plurality of Malaysians who wanted a communist state. The fate of Malaysia would have been different if Chin Peng had won.

Many of those who decry the government's stand against Chin Peng's return to Malaysia are the very people who denounce the Malaysian government's alleged clampdown on freedom, free speech and other transgressions against liberal freedom.

But, as we can see from the fate of Russia, China and other countries run by communists, they have little interest in such niceties as free speech. Gulags, "struggle sessions" and other hallmarks of repression have entered the lexicon of politics by way of communist rule. It is doubtful that many of those who claim to speak for Chin Peng's right to return to Malaysia would have enjoyed much rights under a Chin Peng administration.

There is a racial undertone to Chin Peng, which shows how far we still have to go as a nation. When I was growing up, parents would bid their children to shush by invoking Chin Peng, or Botak Chin. The former was especially effective, and for good reason. For those of my grandparents' generation, the memories of "Bintang Tiga" filled them with dread and bitterness.

Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper drew attention to the confrontations between Malay villagers and the Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army, which was a forerunner of the Malayan Communist Party in the interregnum following the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

After Malaya's declaration of independence, the communists continued to struggle against the government, which was by this time led by Umno and its partners in the Alliance.

The police force, which was mostly Malay, bore the heaviest brunt of the communist insurgency. Many lost their lives in the struggle to defend the sovereignty of the newly independent nation against the communists.

These are painful and bitter memories, which cannot be erased merely by platitudes or artful concealment of shared history. Only the unceasing tide of time and the passing of generations can possibly put enough distance between those memories and the future when we can truly dissect the issues with honesty and candour.

Let him rest in exile. He had his reasons for militating against his country and we can perhaps forgive him for having a different vision for Malaysia. But, the bloodshed and terror of those years are hard to forgive, let alone forget.

As much as we respect his desire to want to return here and lay down his burden after years of struggle, those who fought and died defending Malaysia against his militancy, and hence protecting our way of life today, must certainly lay greater claim to history's favour.



Ziad Razak New SraitsTime Online Letters to the 20 September 2013

It's best not to open up old wounds

CHIN PENG'S REIGN OF TERROR: Some wounds are hard to heal, even to this day

IT was impossible not to have any reaction to the news of Chin Peng's death in Bangkok.  After all, he had been a figure my peers and I feared, and even loathed, when we were children.

Later, he was found to be a wily nemesis to contend with when I was actively soldiering. On this matter, I can still remember being part of a small force on a difficult operation out to get him at a location near the Malaysia/Thailand boundary. This unsuccessful operation was carried out in the early 1970s after he had issued a directive to his assault units and work forces to revive the communist armed struggle in the peninsula.

Then, again, there is the contentious issue surrounding his requests to return to Malaysia, which were denied.

My generation, born just after the end of World War 2, grew up during the whole 12 years of the Malayan Emergency, which ended in 1960. It was a testing and difficult period for us. Even the mere mention of "communist terrorists" (CTs) and Chin Peng in those days could send shivers up our spine, particularly for those who lived in the remote and isolated areas of the country or who had to move about and work unprotected.

Their fears were only understandable as many had witnessed or had heard of the acts of terror against our people and members of the security forces during that period. There were also many who had been victims.

The ending of the Emergency led many to believe that the country was not threatened any more by the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) led by Chin Peng. But, the truth is that it remained and we (police and military especially) knew no respite and continued fighting the terrorists and their supporters in the deep jungles, jungle fringes, villages and even in the cities, an epic fight that went on almost unnoticed by the common public for almost three decades.

That was the fight where many of us had participated and suffered after we joined the army in 1965. A fight that also saw new recruitment into the CPM and the re-infiltration of its armed assault units from Southern Thailand into, particularly, Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan and Johor. It was also a fight that eventually saw the conduct of large-scale coordinated and combined Malaysian/Thai military operations to destroy the CTs in their bases on Thai territory.

We were suitably relieved when it was finally over after Chin Peng agreed to end the CPM's armed struggle in an agreement signed on Dec 2, 1989. This date certainly marked the beginning of a completely safe and secure peninsula and enabled many areas long denied by the CT threat to be opened up for development. It also marked the start of trying to heal deep emotional and physical wounds among many soldiers, policemen, civilians, their family members and many more, brought about by the very long war of the CPM and Chin Peng.

Those wounds, however, were found to be hard to heal, even up to this day. Therein lies a problem that the government and every concerned body and individual will have to wrestle with for a long time to come without jeopardising our national security and the wellbeing of people in the country. A problem made more complicated after some quarters began to loudly claim that Chin Peng had, in fact, fought for independence and should, therefore, be accorded due recognition.

While there are a number of people who support this assertion, there are many more who oppose. Taking into consideration our many sensitivities and the primary concern for our overarching national security, I would only wish to state that it is best not to open up old wounds, let alone make new ones.

Let there be final closure in the manner as it now stands!


Lt Jen (Rtd) Datuk Seri Zaini Mohd Said is a former army field commander. New Straits Times Online Columnist 20 September 2013

Creating right environment

RECENTLY, Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh made an honest statement saying that 70% of our English teachers were not fit to teach the subject.

We must applaud Idris for being magnanimous in admitting the glaring weakness and a source of the problem in teaching English.

For too long, we have had ministers indulging in self-denial and bluffing their way through that everything is all right with the education system.

Hopefully, Idris’ courage in telling the truth to the public will become a new way forward in transformational leadership.

To the teachers who feel the heat, they should not take it as an insult, but accept it as a challenge to better themselves.

Idris must also accept the fact that the teachers are not to be blamed as most, if not all, are the products of the national education system where English proficiency is lacking.

He also did not blame the selection committee as they have to choose whatever is available as the good ones choose to either join the private sector or other services in the government such as the Administrative and Diplomatic Service.

Teaching English in a non-English environment is not meant for the faint-hearted. Instead, the ones who can overcome the odds are those who are truly passionate about teaching, love to guide students, and have a special mission in life to be the agents of change.

Idris believes that the serving English teachers who are not up to the mark can be a good change agent if they are willing to admit their weakness and resolve for continuous improvement by attending courses, seminars, public speaking, writing and not feeling shy to speak in English whenever there is an opportunity.

Idris also said the ministry was prepared to send them for further training and retraining if needed, either locally or abroad. What more can these teachers ask when they are given all the opportunity to improve themselves.

They should realise that they have to speak in English in order to create an English environment for the students. That is the greatest challenge as 97% of our national schools comprise Malay students who speak Malay among themselves and also in English classes!

Talking about an English environment, let me give a classic example where a diplomat friend who was from the Malay medium school was posted to the Foreign Affairs Ministry. From day one, everything was in English and he almost gave up.

However, he stayed on to prove a point that he could overcome his “handicap” in English. Being in an English environment dealing with seasoned diplomats, and with the right attitude, his English today can put an Oxford graduate to shame. He is now an ambassador in one of the Middle East countries.

Similarly, the 70% “unfit English teachers”, if they were put in an English environment, would probably make excellent English teachers too. They would even come to class complete with Shakespeare’s plays and quotations.

Meanwhile, let’s hope the National Education Blueprint 2013-2025 can make the quantum leap to put Malaysia on par with other Commonwealth countries where English language is concerned.

Hassan Talib Gombak The STAR Online Home News Opinion Letters 20/09/2013