Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CHIN PENG - OBITUARY by LAWYER TOMMY THOMAS

OBITUARY 
CHIN PENG, A MALAYAN NATIONALIST.

BY 

Tommy Thomas 
(Tommy Thomas is a senior lawyer
based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
 


Photo: Chin Peng Passed Away on 16 SEPTEMBER, 2013, on the exact day, that Malaysia, the Country of his Birth Celebrates its 50th Anniversary of MALAYSIA DAY. He was 90 years old.

According to the Bangkok Post, he was pronounced dead at 6.20am.His relatives will perform religious rites for him on Friday.


1. CHIN PENG'S PLACE IN MALAYSIAN HISTORY

Chin Peng fought alongside the British against the invading Japanese during WWII. After the Japanese surrender, the returning British colonizers nominated Chin Peng for the Order of British Empire, an award which HE DECLINED.

When the British took back Malaya, Chin Peng took to the jungles and fought against BRITISH COLONIALISM in the Malaysian jungles for Malaya's independence.

Is it the alignment of the stars or that Providence had allowed Chin Peng in death on the 50th Anniversary of MALAYSIA DAY to make a statement of his role for the independence of the country of his birth.

(Malaysia was created on 16 September, 1963 when Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore decided to leave from British control to join Malaya to form Malaysia)

We might today disagree with his vision of the country of his birth, but the fact of history is that he was willing to put up-front his and his fellow comrades' lives on harm's way to fight against the Japanese invasion and against the British for Malaya's independence. That much, ALL historians agree despite the spins and political propaganda by his detractors.

Although he was reviled by the MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES over CPM's insurgency which left many Malaysians dead, historians believe Chin Peng has HIS PLACE IN HISTORY as he had led communist forces against the Japanese invaders and British colonialist.

In the words of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (AIDL):

"..Chin Peng's immense contribution to defeating the Japanese invaders and in securing the independence of Malaya from British colonialism CANNOT BE DENIED..."

Interestingly, even though he had lived in adverse and extremely severe conditions in the jungles of Malaya for the better part of his life, he still lived up to the very ripe old age of 90, in exile in South Thailand.


2. THE FIGHT FOR MALAYA'S INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITISH COLONIALISM

(read here for more on the website of IADL( International Association of Democratic Lawyers: http://www.iadllaw.org/en/campaigns/Chin+Peng)

For almost three years after the Second World War, the CPM under Chin Peng, by then its Secretary-General, actively participated in peaceful and democratic activities to oppose colonial rule and to secure independence for Malaya.

In fact, the CPM was the FIRST POLITICAL PARTY LEGALLY ESTABLISHED IN MALAYA TO DEMAND INDEPENDENCE AND FREEDOM, first from the British, then from the Japanese, and then from the British again.

OTHER GROUPS in Malaya were also seeking independence from the British including:

-- the Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM)-led Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (PUTERA), headed by Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy, and

--the All-Malayan Council for Joint Action (AMCJA), led by Tun Tan Cheng Lock, who had jointly declared a People's Constitution for an independent Malaya in 1947.

In a bid to destroy the rising anti-colonial forces and the CPM, the British colonial authorities arrested thousands of Malayan youth ( Chinese, Malays and Indians) who were demanding independence in early 1948.

And in June 1948, it declared a State of Emergency and banned the CPM and other anti-colonial and labor organizations.

The CPM was left with no choice BUT TO RESORT TO AN ARMED STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE.


3. CHIN PENG'S PEACE AGREEMENT WITH THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT AND THE HAADYAI AGREEMENT

In 1955, the FIRST peace negotiation with the CPM took place in Baling, Malaya. It was inconclusive.

It was only in December 1989, upon the mediation of the neighboring Thai government, that a second peace negotiation successfully resulted in the signing of the Haadyai (Thailand) Agreement between the CPM, (represented by Chin Peng, CPM chairman Abdullah CD and Rashid Maidin), and the Malaysian government.

The Haadyai Agreement stipulated that :

(A) The CPM would disband all armed units and terminate all armed activities.

(B) All weapons would be destroyed and CPM members would locate and destroy all landmines it placed in Malaysia.

(C) The Malaysian government would pay medical costs for any CPM members injured while removing landmines.

(D) For these concessions, CPM members who wanted to re-establish legal residence in Malaysia COULD DO SO AFTER SPENDING AT LEAST 6 MOONTHS IN PRE-DESIGNATED PLACES IN THAILAND.

(E) Those taking residence in Malaysia would have to swear allegiance to the King and abide by the Federal Constitution and laws of Malaysia.

The CPM leadership has since ensured scrupulous implementation of the agreement.


4. DENIED RETURN TO MALAYSIA

BUT Chin Peng's petition to return to live in Malaysia HAS BEEN DENIED TO DATE.

As stipulated by the Haadyai Agreement, within a year after the 2 December 1989 signing of the Agreement, Chin Peng notified the Malaysian government of his intention to return to reside in his country of birth.

ALTHOUGH HE COMPLIED with the terms and conditions of the Haadyai Peace Agreement, to date the Malaysian government has refused its obligations under the Agreement.

The Malaysian Government's refusal to grant Chin Peng residence not only VIOLATES MALAYSIA'S SOLEMN OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THAT HAADYAI PEACE AGREEMENT, but it ALSO VIOLATES ITS OBLIGATIONS under (i) the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and (ii) the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

(read more here:http://www.iadllaw.org/en/campaigns/Chin+Peng)

R.I.P.
The fight is finally over.


http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/obituary-chin-peng-a-malayan-nationalist

AS A LAWYER FOR CHIN PENG, and the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) in their recent unsuccessful litigation before the Courts of Malaysia, I am deeply saddened by his death in Bangkok on September 16, 2013 at the ripe old age of 88, and call on the Malaysian Government to honour the 1989 Peace Treaty with the MCP by permitting his burial in his birthplace, Sitiawan, next to his parents.

Posterity will remember Chin Peng as ONE OF THE GREAT LIBERATION FIGHTERS of the second half of the 20th century. 

Indeed, he led an armed struggle AGAINST TWO IMPERIALIST POWERS: 

- the Japanese from December 1941 to August 1945, and
- the British thereafter until 1957.

HISTORY WILL CONSIDER CHIN PENG IN THE SAME WAY AS HO CHI MINH and SUKARNO, who led nationalistic campaigns against French and Dutch imperialism. 

Treating Chin Peng as a major contributor to Merdeka does not in any way detract the equally worthy contributions of Founding Fathers like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Tan Cheng Lock and V. T. Sambanthan. 

Appropriate analogies would be the different roles played by:
- General George Washington and politicians John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to the American War of Independence in 1776, and 
- peaceful non-violent campaign of Gandhi and Nehru, 
in contrast to the armed struggle of Subhas Chandra Bose which led to India’s Independence in 1947. 

All of them were TRUE PATRIOTS.

Leading scholars of modern Malayan history and politics, including Professors Jamie Mackie, Anthony Reid, Anthony Short and Wang Gung Wu, attended a Symposium with Chin Peng at the Australian National University in Canberra in February 1999 which resulted in the publication of a book entitled Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party, edited by C. C. Chin and Karl Hack. 

In a dialogue session on MCP’s role in Merdeka, Chin Peng was quoted as stating:

“But we didn’t experience defeat in forcing the British to grant independence to Malaya. Without our struggle, I don’t think the British would grant independence to Malaya. Or it will be many years later. According to Sir Robert Thompson (the British counter-insurgency expert whose services were later sought by the Americans in the Vietnam War), before he passed away, he admitted we at least accelerate the Merdeka for 10 to 15 years. The BBC people told me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the chance to meet him." (Pages 234-235].

One of the most contentious issues during the 5 rounds of negotiations between the Malaysian Government and MCP, under the auspices of the Thai Government, held in 1989 in Phuket, was MCP’s role in achieving Merdeka. 

In his My Side of History, published in 2003, Chin Peng stated:

"Would Britain have granted independence to Malaya as early as 1957 had the military activities of our guerillas not been a factor in the equation? This was explored at length during the private negotiating sessions. Finally, Rahim Noor, speaking in the Malay language from notes in a fully recorded meeting, made the announcement that Malaysia did not deny or dispute MCP’s contribution to the struggle for independence. As to the extent of this contribution, he went on, there was no need to argue the matter in this forum. It should rightly be an issue left for historians.” [Page 490].


Hitherto the ORTHODOX HISTORY OF MERDEKA has by and large been written by the victors: hence, IT IS UMNO and ALLIANCE-CENTRIC.

Hardly any mention is made of, let alone proper acknowledgement given, to others deserving of praise like Onn Jaafar, Burhanuddin Helmi, the Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) and other non-mainstream figures.

We hope that THE TRUE HISTORY OF MERDEKA WOULD BE RESEARCHED AND PUBLISHED IN THE COMING DECADES. . We are confident that in such an endeavour, CHIN PENG WILL TAKE HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE AS A MAJOR NATIONAL ICON. 

At a personal level, representing Chin Peng is one of the highlights of my career. 

His charm, easy-going manner, sense of humour and humility left an indelible mark on the legal team, led by Malaysia’s leading barrister then, the late Raja Aziz Addruse (who we also deeply miss and fondly remember) and also included Chan Kok Keong and Leong Cheok Keng. Chin Peng graciously hosted us in Bangkok.

ONE OF CHIN PENG'S REQUEST IN THE BALING TALKS OF 1955 with Tunku Abdul Rahman was for the Malayan Government TO REVOKE THE BANNING OF THE MCP AND TO ALLOW IT PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL PROCESS, thereby giving the voters of Malaya an opportunity of accepting or rejecting MCP as a legitimate political party. 

That request was wholly unacceptable to Tunku, and DISMISSED OUTOF HAND. 

He returned to the jungle to resume the armed struggle against the colonial power. 

Chin Peng truly believed and practised the principle that those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.

In 1959, the State of KERALA IN KERALA elected the first Communist Party in the world in free, fair and democratic elections. In the next 50 years, Kerala’s communist party has been defeated and re-elected on numerous occasions. Never has it not left office peacefully when the electorate rejected it.

HAVING MET CHIN PENG, no doubt in his twilight years when he appeared as everyone’s favourite grandfather, I am convinced that had Tunku agreed to permit the MCP and Chin Peng to participate in Malaya’s general elections, the first one held in 1959, and had MCP been elected, and had Chin Peng come to power, he would have voluntarily relinquished power if MCP had subsequently been defeated in the polls. 

It is MALAYA'S TRAGEDY that such a possibility NEVER occurred.

I hope the Malaysian Government will be compassionate in permitting Chin Peng’s burial in his motherland, a country which he loved so much, and for which he fought two imperial armies far more powerful than his own guerilla force. 

May his soul rest in peace.

TOMMY THOMAS 
September 17, 2013.

-------
Tommy Thomas - Profile

Tommy Thomas was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1976, Mr. Thomas started his career at one of the largest law firms in Malaysia before being invited to join its partnership in 1982.

In a career as a Barrister spanning over 35 years, Mr. Thomas has had the privilege of appearing as counsel in landmark cases in various branches of the law; in all the courts of Malaysia, from the magistrate’s court to the Privy Council in London, which was Malaysia’s highest court until 1985. 

Mr. Thomas has had more than 120 reported cases and countless unreported cases. 

He has been singled out as one of Malaysia’s leading litigation lawyers by numerous independent international publications including The Asia Pacific Legal 500, Which Lawyer, Who’s Who Legal (The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers), Commercial Litigation Lawyers of Asia and Chambers Asia.

http://tommythomas.net/profile-tommy-thomas/

Photo: OBITUARY -  CHIN PENG, A MALAYAN NATIONALIST. 

BY  

Tommy Thomas 
(Tommy Thomas is a senior lawyer
based in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/obituary-chin-peng-a-malayan-nationalist

AS A LAWYER FOR CHIN PENG,  and the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) in their recent unsuccessful litigation before the Courts of Malaysia, I am deeply saddened by his death in Bangkok on September 16, 2013 at the ripe old age of 88, and call on the Malaysian Government to honour the 1989 Peace Treaty with the MCP by permitting his burial in his birthplace, Sitiawan, next to his parents.

Posterity will remember Chin Peng as ONE OF THE GREAT LIBERATION FIGHTERS of the second half of the 20th century. 

Indeed, he led an armed struggle AGAINST TWO IMPERIALIST POWERS: 

- the Japanese from December 1941 to August 1945, and
-  the British thereafter until 1957.

HISTORY WILL CONSIDER CHIN PENG IN THE SAME WAY AS HO CHI MINH and SUKARNO, who led nationalistic campaigns against French and Dutch imperialism. 

Treating Chin Peng as a major contributor to Merdeka does not in any way detract the equally worthy contributions of Founding Fathers like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Tun Dr Ismail, Tan Cheng Lock and V. T. Sambanthan. 

Appropriate analogies would be the different roles played by:
-  General George Washington and politicians John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to the American War of Independence in 1776, and 
- peaceful non-violent campaign of Gandhi and Nehru, 
in contrast to the armed struggle of Subhas Chandra Bose which led to India’s Independence in 1947. 

All of them were TRUE PATRIOTS.

Leading scholars of modern Malayan history and politics, including Professors Jamie Mackie, Anthony Reid, Anthony Short and Wang Gung Wu, attended a Symposium with Chin Peng at the Australian National University in Canberra in February 1999 which resulted in the publication of a book entitled Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party, edited by C. C. Chin and Karl Hack. 

In a dialogue session on MCP’s role in Merdeka, Chin Peng was quoted as stating:

“But we didn’t experience defeat in forcing the British to grant independence to Malaya. Without our struggle, I don’t think the British would grant independence to Malaya.  Or it will be many years later.  According to Sir Robert Thompson (the British counter-insurgency expert whose services were later sought by the Americans in the Vietnam War), before he passed away, he admitted we at least accelerate the Merdeka for 10 to 15 years. The BBC people told me. Unfortunately, I don’t have the chance to meet him."  (Pages 234-235].

One of the most contentious issues during the 5 rounds of negotiations between the Malaysian Government and MCP, under the auspices of the Thai Government, held in 1989 in Phuket, was MCP’s role in achieving Merdeka. 

In his My Side of History, published in 2003, Chin Peng stated:

"Would Britain have granted independence to Malaya as early as 1957 had the military activities of our guerillas not been a factor in the equation? This was explored at length during the private negotiating sessions. Finally, Rahim Noor, speaking in the Malay language from notes in a fully recorded meeting, made the announcement that Malaysia did not deny or dispute MCP’s contribution to the struggle for independence. As to the extent of this contribution, he went on, there was no need to argue the matter in this forum.  It should rightly be an issue left for historians.” [Page 490].


Hitherto the ORTHODOX HISTORY OF MERDEKA  has by and large been written by the victors: hence, IT IS UMNO and ALLIANCE-CENTRIC.

 Hardly any mention is made of, let alone proper acknowledgement given, to others deserving of praise like Onn Jaafar, Burhanuddin Helmi, the Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) and other non-mainstream figures.

We hope that THE TRUE HISTORY OF MERDEKA WOULD BE RESEARCHED AND PUBLISHED IN THE COMING DECADES.  . We are confident that in such an endeavour, CHIN PENG WILL TAKE HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE AS A MAJOR NATIONAL ICON.  

At a personal level, representing Chin Peng is one of the highlights of my career. 

His charm, easy-going manner, sense of humour and humility left an indelible mark on the legal team, led by Malaysia’s leading barrister then, the late Raja Aziz Addruse (who we also deeply miss and fondly remember) and also included Chan Kok Keong and Leong Cheok Keng. Chin Peng graciously hosted us in Bangkok.

ONE OF CHIN PENG'S REQUEST IN THE BALING TALKS OF 1955   with Tunku Abdul Rahman was for the Malayan Government  TO REVOKE THE BANNING OF THE MCP AND TO ALLOW IT PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL PROCESS, thereby giving the voters of Malaya an opportunity of accepting or rejecting MCP as a legitimate political party. 

That request was wholly unacceptable to Tunku, and DISMISSED OUTOF HAND. 

He returned to the jungle to resume the armed struggle against the colonial power. 

Chin Peng truly believed and practised the principle that those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.

 In 1959, the State of  KERALA IN KERALA  elected the first Communist Party in the world in free, fair and democratic elections. In the next 50 years, Kerala’s communist party has been defeated and re-elected on numerous occasions. Never has it not left office peacefully when the electorate rejected it.

HAVING MET CHIN PENG,  no doubt in his twilight years when he appeared as everyone’s favourite grandfather, I am convinced that had Tunku agreed to permit the MCP and Chin Peng to participate in Malaya’s general elections, the first one held in 1959, and had MCP been elected, and had Chin Peng come to power, he would have voluntarily relinquished power if MCP had subsequently been defeated in the polls. 

It is  MALAYA'S TRAGEDY  that such a possibility NEVER occurred.

I hope the Malaysian Government will be compassionate in permitting Chin Peng’s burial in his motherland, a country which he loved so much, and for which he fought two imperial armies far more powerful than his own guerilla force. 

May his soul rest in peace.

TOMMY THOMAS 
 September 17, 2013.


-------
Tommy Thomas - Profile

Tommy Thomas was called to the Malaysian Bar in 1976, Mr. Thomas started his career at one of the largest law firms in Malaysia before being invited to join its partnership in 1982.

In a career as a Barrister spanning over 35 years, Mr. Thomas has had the privilege of appearing as counsel in landmark cases in various branches of the law; in all the courts of Malaysia, from the magistrate’s court to the Privy Council in London, which was Malaysia’s highest court until 1985. 

Mr. Thomas has had more than 120 reported cases and countless unreported cases. 

He has been singled out as one of Malaysia’s leading litigation lawyers by numerous independent international publications including The Asia Pacific Legal 500, Which Lawyer, Who’s Who Legal (The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers), Commercial Litigation Lawyers of Asia and Chambers Asia.

http://tommythomas.net/profile-tommy-thomas/
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