Parliament should debate Chin Peng’s request to return home or visit his Sitiawan hometown and the 14-year Haadyai Peace Accords during the 2004 Budget Committee Stage deliberation on the Home Ministry scheduled on 27th October
by Lim Kit Siang
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that
the decision not to allow former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM)
secretary-general Chin Peng to return to Malaysia is final.
Abdullah seems to have taken a more categorical and inflexible position than ten days ago, when he said that the government will not allow Chin Peng to return to Malaysia “for the present”, adding: "I have been told by a third party that Chin Peng had expressed a wish to return now. I replied that we should put off a decision for the present." (Bernama 28.9.03)
Whatever the reason for this sudden hardening of government position on the question of Chin Peng’s return home or to visit his Sitiawan hometown, Parliament should debate this issue and the 14-year Haadyai Peace Accords during the 2004 Budget Committee Stage deliberation on the Home Ministry scheduled on 27th October – especially as Chin Peng’s book “My Side of History” has made revelations about the Haadyai Peace Accords which had hitherto been kept from the public domain and which now calls for a government response as to their veracity or otherwise.
In the past few weeks, the issue whether Chin Peng should be allowed to return home or to visit his Sitiawan hometown has become a major and heated topic of discussion in the country, including in the letter-to-editor section of the various language print and electronic media, except for Parliament.
If MPs continue to ignore this issue, they will only confirm their irrelevance in the Malaysian scheme of things, who could not rise above issues like excessive parliamentary claims to address bigger questions confronting the people and country.
In Malaysia, the government is responsible and answerable to Parliament and not the other way round. For this reason, during the debate at the committee stage of the 2004 Budget on the Home Ministry scheduled for Oct. 27, MPs should be informed of the government’s reasons not to allow Chin Peng to return home or visit his Sitiawan hometown despite the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accords as well as a progress report of the 14-year Haadyai Peace Accords, detailing in particular:
During the committee stage debate on the Information Ministry scheduled for 22nd October, the Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainudin Maidin should be called upon to explain the statement, "We have to remember Chin Peng is a communist. Once a communist always a communist. He is a rebel and a traitor to this country" he made two days ago, and how this squared with the return to Malaysia of two top CPM leaders, Musa Ahmad former CPM Chairman and Shamsiah Fakir, head of the CPM Women’s Wing, in the nineties, and who were given big media play, including the Malay media.
Zainuddin should also be asked to explain whether he is aware and accept that his view of CPM leaders as traitors of the country is only one view of Malaysian history, as there is another view in the universities and among Malaysians regardless of race or political beliefs which though disagreed with the CPM armed struggle and deplored the loss of lives and human sufferings of ex-servicemen, civilians and their loved ones, regard them as nationalists who had chosen the wrong path of nationalist struggle.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman