Sunday November 22, 2009
Chin Peng apologises for death of innocents
KUALA LUMPUR: Chin Peng, the man with no regrets, has for the first time offered an apology to the victims and families of the Communist Party of Malaya’s acts of violence during the long years of its insurgency.
The former CPM secretary-general said that although the party did not subscribe to the killing of the innocent, he admitted that “we might have made mistakes in some cases.”
“If we had intentionally killed innocent people, then I apologise. I apologise to the families who had suffered (too),” he told The Star in a rare interview in Bangkok last month.
“I take full responsibility for my comrades’ actions. (But) in war, we cannot differentiate the innocent from the non-innocent,” he added.
In the past, Chin Peng had been unrepentant over the loss of lives, nor regretted taking up the armed struggle. He also remains a committed communist.
During the interview, he said he did not expect the public to forgive him for the past but hoped they could put their differences behind them.
“That was war. That was then. If you say that we killed people, the communists too were killed by the security forces,” he said in the interview that he gave to mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Peace Accord on Dec 2, 1989, in Haadyai, Thailand, between the Malaysian Government and the CPM.
Chin Peng, who lost his court battle last year to be allowed to return to Malaysia, touched on various topics during the interview, including his living arrangements in Bangkok; his relationship with his children and his source of funds.
He also alleged that he was prevented from returning because the Government played him out soon after the Peace Accord.
At 85, the former jungle guerrilla is in frail health but remains obsessed with his fight to be allowed back to his hometown of Sitiawan, Perak, where he wishes to be buried.