Chin Peng's body cremated in Bangkok in simple, sombre affair

BANGKOK - The body of Chin Peng, whose remains have continued to be a subject of public debate, has been cremated at the Bangkok Wat That Thong temple at about 6pm on Monday.

The final send-off saw the reunion of over a hundred former Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members, both men and women, most now old and grey.

While maintaining their composure, most had tears flowing on their cheeks as a farewell note written by the former CPM secretary-general was read out in Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin.

Hundreds more had paid their last respects during a three-day wake proceeding at the temple since Friday, including Parti Sosialis Malaysia deputy chairperson M. Sarasvathy, who delivered a brief eulogy at the funeral.

Former Thai Prime Minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, 81, who was the Thai army commander during the height of the CPM's guerrilla fight, was the guest of honour at the solemn but simple ceremony.

Other former Thai military commanders present included General Datuk Kitti Ratanachaya and General Pisarn Wattanawongkiri.

The Bangkok Post had reported that Chin Peng's ashes could be kept by his children and grandchildren, and the rest divided in the four villages where his former comrades had resettled in southern Thailand.

However, family spokesperson Lee Chong has refuted claims made by the Thai daily.

"The family has never told anyone in the media on how we intend to handle the ashes.

"We do not know where the report came from and we do not wish to divulge details of this either," said Lee, who was identified as a nephew of the deceased.

The identity of Chin Peng's son and daughter, believed to be in their 60s, remained hidden as relatives refused to point them out of respect for their privacy.

Chin Peng was reported to have died of cancer at 6.20am in a Bangkok hospital on Sept 16, one month shy of his 89th birthday. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced that the Government would not allow the ashes of Chin Peng to be brought into the country.