Malaysia stands firm against return of communist leader Chin Peng's ashes

MALACCA - The Government will not allow the ashes of Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng to be brought back to Malaysia, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Sunday.

"We will not allow his ashes to be brought back as we are sensitive to the feelings of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the soldiers, policemen and others whose family members were killed or maimed by the brutal CPM insurgents," he said.

A news portal reported the call made by the 21st Century Malaysia Friendship Association, a non-governmental organisation, for the Malaysian Government to respect the Hatyai Peace Accord signed on Dec 2, 1989 between the CPM and Thailand, which allowed Chin Peng's ashes to be brought back to the country.

Zahid also said that several elements were taken into consideration in strengthening the Sedition Act 1948.

Among them included sedition through the Internet, touching on religious sensitivities, and calling for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia. He said the move was necessary to preserve unity and harmony among Malaysia's multiracial society.

"These (three elements) are among the many elements that we have carefully studied in strengthening the Sedition Act ... discussions were held with legal advisers in the Home Ministry and Attorney-General's Chambers on what needs to be tightened or amended," he added.

Zahid said sedition through the Internet, especially the social media, should not be allowed to go on just like that, but needed to be curbed.

"The Sedition Act was introduced in 1948 where there was no Internet at the time. Therefore, this Act needs to be amended.

"The Bill to amend the Sedition Act is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March next year," he said at a news conference after launching the "From Bikers 4 Gaza" programme and Malacca Motorcycle Carnival at Autocity, Ayer Keroh, here.

Also present were Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and state police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye.