No law to stop Chin Peng’s ashes being brought back, says Deputy Home Minister
“There is nothing any of the authorities can do. We have no laws to stop the ashes from being brought in or penalise anyone carrying the ashes in,” said Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) after closing a career carnival at the Islamic complex in Kuching today.
His statement closely followed a warning by former police chief Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor that Malaysia risked becoming a laughing stock to the world if it refused to allow Chin Peng’s ashes to be interred in the country.
Chin Peng, who died in Bangkok on September 16, had repeatedly voiced a wish to be buried in his hometown of Sitiawan, Perak.
Wan Junaidi, who fought the communists at the height of the Malayan emergency in Sarawak, said he wouldn't know how the authorities would deal with anyone found carrying an urn with Chin Peng's ashes at the airport.
“I can't imagine it," he said, adding he was not aware of any law to stop such an act.
And even if there were such laws, it would be difficult to prevent the ashes from being smuggled by those determined to do so, he added.
“There's nothing the government can do about it,” said Wan Junaidi, a lawyer.
Najib had on Friday said Putrajaya would not budge from its stand and challenged those unhappy with the decision to seek legal redress.
"The government has decided and those unhappy with the decision can challenge it in court," he said.
Wan Junaidi said that Putrajaya feared that allowing Chin Peng's remains into the country might have repercussions. He said the government feared Chin Peng's supporters would build a shrine at the site where his remains would be interred, even adding that such a site could stir a communist revival.
Wan Junaidi denied that the government's decision was racist, a charge made by Barisan Nasional's key partner, MCA. The Chinese party had contrasted the decision to the stance taken by Putrajaya in letting the bodies of two Malaysian terrorists be returned from Indonesia to be buried in their hometowns.
“It's not a question of race. It's all about his fight, his struggle and who he fought. If Chin Peng was a Malay, an Iban, a Kadazan or a Dusun, his ashes too would not be allowed back into the country. He was a communist who fought against the government of the day. He did not only fight the British.
“If he had stopped fighting after the British left, then history would have been different. He did not. He fought well into the 80s, well after Malaysia was formed,” explained the former deputy speaker of Parliament.
MCA publicity bureau chair Datuk Heng Seai Kie, in making the comparisons, had referred to the late Dr Azahari Husin and Nordin Mohamad Top, both accused of bombings in Indonesia between 2002 and 2005.
This was immediately countered by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who said: "Those terrorists did not kill our military or police personnel, or our people."
Chin Peng will be cremated in Bangkok on Monday according to Buddhist rites. – September 21, 2013.