Chin Peng's remains won't return, says minister
THE death of Chin Peng, who led a bloody insurgency against British rule in Malaya, drew bitter responses in his home country, even after he had lived in exile for five decades.
The former communist leader died in a Bangkok hospital, where he had been hospitalised for several years. He was 89.
Despite launching a court battle to return in 2005, government leaders had insisted that his return would upset many Malaysians who lost their loved ones during the insurgency.
Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that Chin Peng's remains would not be returned.
"I want Chin Peng to be remembered as a terrorist leader. The security forces which had fought a bloody war with him still cannot forget or forgive him for the atrocities during the Malayan insurgency," Datuk Seri Zahid told The Malaysian Insider.
But not all were so harsh. Mr Lim Kit Siang, a senior Malaysian opposition leader, wrote that Chin Peng's death marked the "end of an era. Whether one agrees or not with his struggle, his place in history is assured".
Born Ong Boon Hua in Perak, Chin Peng was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire and won two medals for his contributions during World War II.
As the leader of the Malayan Communist Party, he led an insurgency against British and Commonwealth forces during a period known as the Emergency (1948-1960), the bloodiest time in the country's modern history.
Some 10,000 people are believed to have been killed then.