Dr Mahathir Mohamed

SEOUL: There should not be a fuss over former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng’s ashes being brought back to Malaysia, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“Who are we trying to appease by raising this issue? Do you want us to collect his ashes now? This small matter will be exploited just to paint a bad picture of the government. This sort of things happened during Najib’s (former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) time but there was nothing (reaction wise). Now everything seems to be flung back to the PH government.

Dr Mahathir Mohamed

“He (Chin Peng) is dead. There were many others in the past, such as the Japanese, who also tortured us, but all that seem to have been forgotten. It is not as if he (Chin Peng) can do anything anymore, it is only his ashes that are back,” he told Malaysian media at the Incheon International Airport here today.

The prime minister said in the past, the government had allowed former CPM leaders like Shamsiah Fakeh and Rashid Maidin to return to Malaysia, but it never became an issue.

“Why is it because she is a Malay? Rashid Maidin also came back to Malaysia, and several others too, but Chin Peng we did not allow then because he was their leader,” Dr Mahathir said.

At the same time, the premier did not rule out that possibility that the issue was being exploited by parties with their own agenda.

“How are we to know when exactly they would bring the ashes back… it is (kept) in a flask and we would never know as who is going to notice it, and even if someone does, it is only ashes,” he said.

On Wednesday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin said the government had never allowed for Chin Peng’s ashes to be allowed back in Malaysia.

It was reported that the ashes of Chin Peng, whose real name was Ong Boon Hua, were brought back on Sept 16 from Thailand with a funeral ceremony being held on the same day.

His ashes were later scattered at a hillside near Chemor and at sea, about three kilometres from Lumut.

Chin Peng, who was born in Sitiawan, Perak, died of cancer in Bangkok in 2013, a month before his 89th birthday. – Bernama