One of the unfinished tasks which Mahathir must do before he steps down as Prime Minister in six weeks’ time is to honour the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accords with MCP and allow Chin Peng to return home to Malaysia

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): One of the unfinished tasks which Datuk Seri Dr.  Mahathir Mohamad must do before he steps down as Prime Minister in six weeks’ time is to honour the 1989 Haadyai Peace Accords with the Malayan Communist Party (MCP)  and allow the MCP Secretary-General, Chin Peng to return home to Malaysia. 

If Mahathir does not honour the spirit of the Haadyai Peace Accords before relinquishing office, it is unlikely that his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would have the political confidence and authority to do so, until quite a considerable time. 

DAP commends the government for not banning Chin Peng’s book “My Side of History” which should be a must reading for all political leaders and  Malaysians  to understand an important part of the Malaysian history – whatever one’s judgment of Chin Peng and the MCP armed insurrection. 

In his final chapter, entitled “A continuing exile”, Chin Peng wrote: 

“More and more these days, I think of Sitiawan and of the shophouse where I was born.  The establishment selling Ford motor cars across the road closed down just before the Japanese invasion. It was replaced by a coffee shop which, I understand, still operates to this day. I wonder if any of my old friends meet there and, over kaya toast and coffee, exchange views about the world – the way our fathers had gathered in similar settings, long before the war that changed all our lives. 

“After meeting my end of the 1989 peace accords, I had looked forward to a homecoming. In late 1990 I made applications to settle down in Malaysia but was rejected at the end of December 1991.  Some eight years later, in early 1999, a Special Branch officer in Yala asked me whether I would like to apply for a sightseeing tour. My reply was: Of course. I indicated my wish to be allowed to visit my hometown so that I could pay homage to the graves of my grandfather, parents and my brothers in the Chinese cemetery, half-way between Sitiawan and Lumut.  This duty is still uppermost in my mind. 

“For some reason or other, things have not worked out yet. It has been a frustrating wait.” 

The government should give a Ministerial statement in Parliament as to why Chin Peng has not been allowed to return to Malaysia in the past 14 years since the Haadyai Peace Accords or  to launch his memoirs “My Side of History”. 

Chin Peng concluded his biographical account with this wish: 

“I fought a liberation war. To ask whether I would do it again is idle talk. I was a young man in an entirely different setting. But the realities and the lessons I learned from that time comprise a body of values I can share with the young who may wish to look beyond their palmtops and understand how history is shaped.  I would like to be involved in a forum.  It is the exchange of ideas that ultimately moves the world. The barter of views still exhilarates me. You can tell me I was wrong. You can tell me I failed. But I can also tell you how it was and how I tried.” 

Not only the youths, but Members of Parliament can also benefit  from such a forum and exchange of ideas and experiences, which is why I hope MPs, regardless of party, will embrace this issue to ask the government to allow Chin Peng to return home in keeping with the spirit of the Haadyai Peace Accords. 

There is no reason why Malaysia should be afraid of such a “barter of views”, which will in fact be a yardstick as to whether Malaysia has the makings to become a fully developed nation, not only having “First World Infrastructure” but also “First World Mentality”.


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman