By Terry Xu
Bangkok, 23 September 2013 – Close to 300 people turned up for the funeral of former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) secretary-general, Chin Peng, to bid him a final farewell on Monday.
Many travelled from afar just to attend the funeral, which was held at the Wat That Throng temple in Bangkok to show their respect to their former leader and comrade.
Chin Peng , born to the name of Ong Boon Hua, was the leader of the CPM, the party which was responsible for the emergency insurgency in Malaysia that lasted 12 years from 1948 to 1960.
Representatives from the villages and societies took their place in front of the coffin to pay their respect and to place a flower each on the altar of Chin Peng. A few of the attendees were weeping out loud as the farewell letter by Chin Peng was read out in both Bahasa Malaysia and in Chinese.
Apart from relatives, friends and former party members, prominent Thai figures were also present to show their last respect to this once feared and respected figure who shaped the history of the Malayan Peninsular.
Mdm Chen, 66, who came from the Betong Peace Village, Chulabhorn Village No. 9, said that apart from seeing Chin Peng as a great person, she also sees him as a fatherly figure. This was a common sentiment of other villagers as well, who turned up for the funeral.
Mr Hong Qing Bu, a former CPM member, said that he had spoken to Chin Peng on a few occasions and found him to be liberal and receptive of the idea of democracy. Mr Zhou, 57, another former CPM member, said that he looked up to Chin Peng as a leader.
Former Thai Prime Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, 81, was the guest of honor for the cremation ceremony. He was the then Thai army commander during the height of the CPM’s guerrilla fight in Malaysia.
Chin Peng’s eulogy was then delivered in Thai by the Thailand representatives who noted Chin Peng’s contribution to the Japanese during World War 2.
In Perak, Chin Peng was responsible for establishing communication and supplies lines between the urban areas and the guerrilla forces in the jungle camps. He was the liaison officer between the British special operations group, Force 136, and top party officials in the Blantan highlands in 1943 to 1945, to arrange the smuggling of men and equipment inland as well as well as to provide sanctuary and supplies for them.
Chin Peng’s remains will still be barred from entering Malaysian soil as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said that even the ashes of Chin Peng would not be allowed back into Malaysia.
The family had denied earlier rumours that the remains will be smuggled back into Malaysia and that the remains will be divided among the family and the four villages in Betong, Thailand.