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The three stars: Chin Peng, Najib and Dr M

 | September 27, 2013

If communism is so bad, why does the Malaysian government entertain China, whilst demonising the CPM and mistreating Malaysians of Chinese origin?


It is communism which bonds the late secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) Chin Peng, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno Baru president, Najib Tun Razak.

Members of CPM cadres wear a jungle green uniform complete with a cap sporting a badge of three red stars. These three stars signify the three main races in Malaysia – Chinese, Indian and Malay, much like Najib’s ‘1Malaysia’.

Chin Peng preached communist ideology, but the Malaya he envisioned was a country where the races were equal, unlike the Ketuanan Melayu concept of the Umno Baru elite, where Malays reign supreme.

Over the last few days, Malaysians have found a reason to rejoice. Former prime minister, Mahathir has recovered from a bout of amnesia, which marred his performance at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Project IC, in Kota Kinabalu.

Last week, during a press conference, at the International Youth Centre in Cheras, Mahathir reminded Malaysians that Chin Peng wanted to make Malaysia a communist state.

Amazingly, Mahathir remembered Chin Peng, but it is hardly surprising that he was critical of the communist leader. He is keen to deflect criticism as a prime minister who does not honour agreements.

Both Mahathir and Najib are conscious of their public image. Neither men like being known as untrustworthy. The timing is critical as Mahathir has an election to manage, in which he will back his favourite contender; his son, Mukhriz.

Mahathir tried to project the image of a government that was magnanimous and would help rehabilitate former communist guerrillas. When the 1989 Hadyai treaty was signed, guerrillas voluntarily surrendered and their arms and stockpiles of weapons were destroyed.

However, Chin Peng was barred from entering Malaysia and when he died, his ashes are also prevented from being interred at his family grave near Lumut, for fear that a memorial to honour Sitiawan’s former son would be built.

Mahathir had no intention of honouring the peace treaty. His word is as good as Najib’s “Janji di tepati”.

Mahathir criticised Chin Peng for his communist ideology, but failed to note that Malaysia has become a closet dictatorship, in which the sons of past prime ministers, are groomed, in exactly the same manner as the North Korean communist dynasty.

At least, in a communist state, the financial and social status of peasants is elevated to that of the middle classes, and the upper classes are brought down to the financial and social status of the middle classes.

Everyone is made (almost) equal. In communism, production is controlled by the state and the state owns everything.

In Malaysia’s dictatorship, most of the wealth is in the hands of Umno Baru politicians, their cronies and the government controlled GLCs. In Sabah and Sarawak, the wealth from these oil and timber rich states is inaccessible to the ordinary folk.

The communist threat

Chin Peng may have wanted a communist state but in 2001, it was Mahathir who declared Malaysia an Islamic state. He tried to convince Malays that the Islam preached by Umno Baru was more acceptable than PAS’s brand of conservative Islam. He erased Tunku Abdul Rahman’s secular vision of Malaysia.

If Malaysia was democratic, as Mahathir claims, the rakyat would have been able to throw off the yoke of oppression in GE13, when 51% of the electorate, voted for the Opposition. Yet, the nation is still saddled with the oppressive regime of Umno Baru.

After World War II, countries were rebuilding and Malaya’s riches from rubber and tin, were needed to fund the reconstruction of Britain. In war-scarred Malaya, factories were rebuilt, estates started producing and mines resumed operations. The output was twice what it had been before the war but workers wages were still depressed.

Food was in short supply and the suffering of the people was compounded by the discovery that Japanese war-currency was useless. Malayans were destitute.

Chin Peng’s efforts to obtain better conditions and wages for the workers were futile. He encouraged strikes which turned nasty. His excuse was that he was fighting for the people. At least, he did not commit treason by giving ICs and citizenship to illegal foreigners.

Some people might wonder what Malaysia would be like as a communist state, and make comparisons with the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC).

The economic output of the PRC helps keep the economies of many countries alive. PRC nationals form the highest numbers of tourists to many destinations around the world. Singapore is attracting PRC nationals to work and live on the island, to the detriment of its own citizens. The rate of millionaires and billionaires being formed in PRC is high.

If communism is so bad, why does the Malaysian government entertain the PRC, whilst demonising the CPM and mistreating Malaysians of Chinese origin?

Malaysian schoolchildren are not taught that British forces funded, trained and supplied arms to Chin Peng during World War Two. The combined effort was to liberate the country from the Japanese aggressors. A few years after WWII, the communists waged war on the British because the CPM wanted to free Malaysia from British colonial rule.

Chin Peng’s role in the struggle for independence is not recognised. He is not even mentioned for helping to speed up the process of attainment of Merdeka, although Tunku Abdul Rahman acknowledged that his meeting with Chin Peng, in Baling in 1955, led straight to Merdeka.

Mahathir and this government find it convenient to use “the communist threat” to intimidate Malaysians, but only when it suits them.

Despotic dictatorship

When Najib felt threatened by Bersih’s call for free and fair elections, former IGP Hanif Omar supported Najib’s allegations of a coup attempt and said that he recognised communists inciting violence, from the video footage of the Bersih 3 march.

In the PRC, corrupt officials are swiftly investigated, and if found guilty, are executed with a bullet in the back of the neck. The family is charged for this bullet.

In Mahathir’s Malaysia, corrupt officials don’t believe they have done anything wrong, abuse taxpayers’ monies for personal gain, spirit millions of ringgits out of the country and any investigation against them, dies an early death.

Despite criticising Chin Peng for being a communist who would oppress the people of Malaya, it is Mahathir who reneged on deals and acted in a thoroughly undemocratic manner.

He allegedly used bribery, blackmail and corruption, to maintain his stranglehold on power, whilst oppressing the rakyat with a despotic dictatorship, which masquerades as a democracy.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.


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