PETALING JAYA - Former Communist Party of Malaya secretary-general Chin Peng, 90, died Monday in Bangkok and remains a controversial figure in Malaysian history.
Some consider him a hero, others say he was an enemy of the state.
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) National chairperson Dr Nasir Hashim said Monday that Chin Peng must be remembered as one of the pioneers in the struggle for independence as he fought against the colonial masters - first the Japanese and then the British.
"If history is rewritten, he has a place in the country's struggle for independence," he said.
Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar said Chin Peng's death marked the end of an era.
"He was a resourceful leader in difficult times," he said.
He added that whatever Chin Peng had done it had been done for the greater good of the people and the principles he stood for.
"He did not intend to make himself or his cronies rich. It was for the benefit of the country. That has to be recognised," he said.
Chin Peng's struggle, however, began to be viewed negatively when he continued to fight the forces of the newly independent Malaya.
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said if Chin Peng's last wishes were for his ashes to be brought back home, it should be allowed.
However, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said his ashes shouldn't be allowed back into the country.
"To me, Chin Peng was not only the head of the violent communist movement but also a criminal. Chin Peng must be erased from history, so that the people especially the younger generation do not know him.
"There are some black moments in the county's history that should be taken as lessons but not the history of terrorist and criminals who did harm to the country," he said.
Malaysian government leaders have consistently insisted that Chin Peng's return would upset many Malaysians who lost their loved ones during the communist insurgency.
Some 10,000 people are believed to have been killed in the communist insurgency.