SITI Aishah Abdul Wahab, the innocent girl who left Malaysia 40 years ago on a government scholarship to study in London, but became an ardent believer and follower of Maoist ideology, should not be treated as a superstar.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar was in the right when he warned a social media columnist to not go overboard by comparing the government's treatment of Siti Aishah with its treatment of Chin Peng (NST, Dec 1).
Even world-famous American singer Bob Dylan was charged with inciting hatred in France after he compared Croats to Nazis in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
The nipping in the bud by the authorities to prevent unhealthy polemics was the right thing to do, as we should judge each case based on its own merits.
|Chances of Siti Aishah returning slim
She was an idealist, not a terrorist ~ Hasan Talib
Siti Aishah was never a threat to this country, nor are her hands stained with blood. She was simply a dreamer, an idealist and a romantic, who was caught up by the socialist ideological fervour that swept campuses all over the world in the 1970s.
For 40 years, the "enslaved" Siti Aishah lived peacefully in cold Britain, which she has called home, turning her hand to charity work. It would be difficult for her to come back to hot and humid Malaysia, unless it was to the cool hills of Genting or Cameron Highlands.
It is best for Siti Aishah to remain in Britain, as it is now her natural home more than anywhere else. Bringing her back would be like bringing Robinson Crusoe back to cold and grimy London.
Since blood is thicker than water, it is understandable that her sister travelled to London to meet her, hoping that Siti Aishah would "repent" and follow the teachings of Islam. Siti Aishah promise her sister that she would read the Quran.
Her sister came back without her, as Siti Aishah needed to stay for another nine months in Britain to settle some unfinished business --the police investigation in the alleged slavery case.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian High Commission in London has given its assurance that it would assist in consular matters if needed.
The whole episode was not about Communism or Maoism, but one of the sad case of a bright young girl lost in an ideological dream, who decided to break off all relationships with her parents, siblings and relatives in Malaysia.
Her discovery by the British media only helped to strengthen her courage to meet and unite with her long-lost sisters and brothers.
In the case of Siti Aishah, it is up to God to enlighten her. And, with the Quran given by her sister, perhaps she can now find life more meaningful. Let her have her peace.
Hassan Talib, Gombak, Selangor New Straits Times Online Opinion Letters-to-the-Editor 07/12/2013