London slavery: Syed Husin recalls meeting with sect

PETALING JAYA - Veteran politician Dr Syed Husin Ali has revealed that he came into contact with members of a Maoist sect while doing his postgraduate studies in Britain.

The then secretary-general of Parti Rakyat Malaysia had pursued his doctorate at the London School of Economics.

There, he met Comrade Bala, Siti Aishah Abdul Wahab and two other Malaysians who were also part of Comrade Bala's group. "When I arrived in London, there were several friends who introduced me to Comrade Bala, or Ara as he was known then.

"I was under the impression he was a Singaporean, although I can't speak for his nationality now." Dr Syed, a PKR senator now, told The Star Online.

Dr Syed recalled Aishah as being "young, pretty, intelligent and loyal to the group."

The two other Malaysian women who joined Comrade Bala eventually quit the group and returned to Malaysia.

One become involved in religious missions, while Dr Syed is not too sure what happened to the other.

"During that time in the late 1960s, there were all sorts of volatile situations in Vietnam, China, France and the United States and students became radicalised.

"But very few became Maoists, and even those who did eventually left the cause," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has advised Siti Aishah not to carry on with her political movement if she returned to Malaysia, reports CHRISTINA TAN.

He said the assessment was that Siti Aishah was not a "risk" to national security.

"All activities of the 1970s are no longer relevant today and should be stopped,'' he told reporters after the launching of the Sek Agama Tarbiyah Husnul Khatimah at the Kluang Prison by the Sultan of Johor yesterday.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said Siti Aishah would be forgiven if she repented and returned to the right path.

Siti Aishah was one of three women believed to be have been held for more than three decades by a cult-like Maoist sect led by Indian national Aravindan Balakrishnan and his partner Chanda Pattni, a Tanzanian national of Indian descent.