I remember watching Bukit Kepong as a kid, deeply moved by the patriotism of the police officers and their families fighting against the communists. I remember thinking the communists were Japanese. When I learnt otherwise, I became confused. The vivid images from the film convinced me that Parti Komunis Malaya was dreadful.
I had no idea that PKM fought against the Japanese. When I did, I became like a curious cat. I had one question in mind: were Chin Peng and PKM really that bad? I tried to understand the other side of history that I never knew. I read and watched documentaries and films but to no avail. My opinion is still the same as it was when I first watched Bukit Kepong. I still think Chin Peng is an enemy of the state, the terrorist, the Persona Non Grata. I just cannot see him as the great hero who fought against the Japanese. He may have fought against the Japanese but he killed lots of other innocent people too, how can he be a hero?
The issue here that is abuzz right now should not be whether he is a hero or not, nor whether or not he was given a fair story inside our history books. The issue here is whether he should be allowed to come back?
Other communists have been allowed to return to Malaysia. If Chin Peng is not allowed to come back, what about Rashid Maidin, Abdullah CD, Shamsiah Fakeh and Shamsiah Fakeh’s China born and bred children? The three are important members of PKM, equally as influential as Chin Peng. Is it because they are Malays that everything is okay with them, regardless of who they were before?
The government said that Chin Peng does not have any proof of citizenship but hey, didn’t they allow that lady in Korea to come back and meet her children? I followed the articles and TV shows about her and correct me if I’m wrong but she did not have any documentation either. Why the double standard?
Wouldn’t it be easier if the government said that they do not like Chin Peng? The government should not hide behind the law to do things like this. Didn’t the government sign a treaty with the Thai government PKM in 1989 that allowed the members of PKM to come back? By refusing Chin Peng entry, isn’t it like going back on their words?
I think the government should take a majority vote and decide based on the votes. Communist leaders like Castro can visit us (or did we visit him?) and Najib even went to China to kiss Hu Jintao’s ass so why can’t Chin Peng visit Malaysia, for instance to visit his father’s grave etc?
I don’t really care whether Chin Peng comes home or not. To me, he is not relevant anymore.
If the government is afraid that his comeback will spread communism, well I have news for you. Even amongst normal citizens, how do we really know whether that person is a communist? The late Tan Sri Samad Ismail once said that he would always be a communist. Did he revolt against the government? Did he form a secret society based on communism, did he invite others to join this secret communist society? Not that I know of. Communism was just his ideology.
The thing is, communism is no longer appealing. Most communist countries are just communists by name. China is now more capitalist than those who claim to be capitalists. Cuba is opening up. The only country that is a staunch Communist that I can think of right now is North Korea and I don’t even understand why they are what they are. Not many people nowadays even know what is communism.
Socialism on the other hand, is like the white witch of this ideology of welfare state. Sweden, Denmark are socialists and they are not bad countries. DAP, PAP are all socialists. Tony Blair, and most labour parties are socialists. It just means that the welfare of the people are better protected by the government so that it will not be that much of a free market. I even read somewhere that since it was vague on the type of government Muhammad had in Medina, there is a huge possibility that Medina was a socialist state because the concept of equality and welfare were the most important aspects in his government. I don’t know. Even socialism has problems. If you have read Animal Farm, you would know what I mean.
Of course, in a free society like ours, the notion of one being more equal than others is not uncommon. It seems it even goes to the extent of our so-called enemies. In the case of Chin Peng and other PKM members, those who were allowed to return are more equal than Chin Peng.
Note : Nora Ahmad is the pen name of an in-house legal eagle in a corporation which doesn’t like its employees having individual opinions.