PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today played down the controversy revolving around bringing back Chin Peng’s ashes to Malaysia, saying such issues were raised to smear the government’s image.
“He is already dead. Many people tortured us in the past, like the Japanese. Let’s forget the past. And he cannot do anything now; it is just his ashes,” he said, referring to the former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader.
Mahathir was speaking to reporters in Seoul, where he is on a working visit.
On Tuesday, Malaysiakini reported that Chin Peng, who died in 2013, had “returned home” on Sept 16 this year, with his ashes brought back from Thailand and scattered at sea as well as on a hillside near Chemor, Perak.
Police are now investigating the matter for intentional insult with intent to provoke. They want to find out how the ashes were brought into the country.
Mahathir also wondered why people would make such matters an issue.
“Who do you want to appease? Do you want us to collect the ash and send it overseas?
“How do we know they brought back the ashes? They kept it in a flask. Who looks into a flask? If you do, all you’ll see is ash.
“These are trivial things that are raised to smear the government,” he said, adding that some would turn a blind eye to the wrongdoing of the previous administration.
Mahathir also said that no one kicked up a fuss when former communist leader Shamsiah Fakeh returned.
“Is it because she is Malay, maybe?”
Shamsiah spent nearly 40 years in exile in China prior to her return to the country in 1994. She died in 2008 at the age of 84.
Mahathir lamented that people were trying to find fault with his administration, claiming “everything is wrong” in what they did.