Chin peng reveals new information


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This is an assignment written in 2005 when Chin Peng's memoirs were first published.

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Chin peng reveals new information

  1. 1. I. THE REAL STORY OF LAI TECK/ LAI DE THE TEXTBOOK “Lai Teck was a good organiser and an inspiring leader. Affected by changing the mindset of the extremists in the MCP and through practical action, he won the support of the party” “In 1948, Lai Teck suddenly disappeared from Malaya, taking the party’s funds with him. This greatly affected the MCP’s morale” – Impact What happened to him? Who was he? THE REVELATION His Personal Life “I uncovered disturbing information about Lai Te’s private life. Miss Jang, a Hakka from Penang, turned out to be the Secretary General’s 4th wife. In Singapore, I learned that his first wife, a Vietnamese, was the daughter of a government contractor who had purchased a beachside bungalow in Katong for the family There was also another beautiful Vietnamese mistress who had lost a hand in an accident. She lived in a flat in the Hill street area of Singapore paid for by Lai Te. Our Secretary-General had also provided the capital behind the bar and restaurant she ran in the same district. A third woman, a Cantonese, also lived in quarters maintained by Lai Te. “ – Chin Peng, p 178 His Duplicity “The Vietnamese community in Singapore had long suspected Lai Te was operating for both the Japanese and the British. The Vietnamese business community on the island at this time was some 300-strong. In a matter of weeks, I was able to amass a huge file of evidence detailing our absent leader’s various activities”. – Chin Peng, p 178 Lai Te’s Death Towards the end of my stay in Bangkok, a senior Siamese communist official escorted me by trishaw from their party headquarters, a wooden building located on Si Phaya road, to the Cathay Pacific Airways office then situated on Suriwong Road During the Trishaw ride back from the airline office, we were travelling along a main thoroughfare with our driver pedalling in a rather leisurely fashion, well to the left. My eyes wandered beyond the oncoming traffic line to the footpath on the opposite side. My attention was suddenly caught by the outline of what seemed a very familiar figure. Surely it couldn’t be Lai Te! I saw Lai Te board a motorised tuk-tuk and take-off in a cloud of blue-black smoke. Pedal power was no match for the motor and soon my quarry had vanished into the high-noon traffic. The Siamese comrades had sent a three-man squad to meet Lai Te…they pounced as soon as Lai Te entered the premises. One grabbed him in a headlock. Another lunged for his
  2. 2. throat. The man gripping him around the neck applied increased pressure. The struggling form began writhing and contorting. Then he frothed at the mouth, went limp and stopped breathing. At the back of the shophouse, the men conveniently discovered some length of hessian used for making sacks. They wrapped the body in these and waited for darkness. Late that night, the deposed and disposed leader of the CPM – surely one of Britain’s greatest spying triumphs – was unceremoniously dumped into the swift flowing waters of Bangkok’s Chao Praya river.
  3. 3. 2. THE ATROCITIES - REASON FOR COMMUNIST DEFEAT IN THE EMERGENCY THE TEXTBOOK “The use of terrorist tactics, like killing and torturing Chinese squatters to intimidate them into providing supplies, did not win them any support.” “Led by dynamic and decisive men, the British took daring measures to combat the communists. Gerald Templer’es daring attempt to include the people as partners in combating communism won the heart of the people” THE REVELATION Templer Reassessed Templer for all the glory that has been bestowed upon him, was a most controversial man. He faced heavy criticism even among the ranks of loyal colonials. If anyone employed terrorist measures, he did. His techniques of brow beating and threatening peasant villagers – well beyond Tanjong Malim – are documented. Combine all this with British military ruthlessness and its accompanying brutality and you have a particularly abhorrent anti-insurgency campaign. If Britain had gone ahead and posted Templer, without the Briggs plan being in place, I am quite certain that his leadership style would have worked substantially to our advantage, swiftly compounding problems for the authorities an only adding further to our mass support – Chin Peng, p 301 Atrocities Reassessed “…the greatest challenge British propaganda experts would be required to face through the entire Emergency” The Daily Worker articles- “On April 28, 1952, the London communist morning newspaper, The Daily Worker ran a front page photograph across four columns showing a Royal Marine commando posing for the camera and holding the severed head of one of my guerrilla fighters. The British soldier stood outside a hut which bore the sign ’40 Commando RM’. To his right were two Dyak recruits wearing Royal Marine berets, one of whom was pointing a rifle at the severed head. In the background, other British troops appeared to be walking about unconcerned. The headline above the photograph read, “This is the War in Malaya” – Chin Peng, p 303 Templer's response - Templer’s telegram to Oliver Lyttleton, Colonial Secretary – “War in the jungle is not a nice thing but we cannot forego the necessity for easy identification of communist dead” Colonial Secretary's response - Oliver Lyttleton’s response to House of Commons query – “The photograph was not authorised and should not have been taken. Instructions have been given to the High Commissioner that bodies should not be decapitated for identification which should be secured by photographs and fingerprints” Senior Civil Service expert advice to the Colonial Office on the best propaganda approach – “…the most dignified way of dealing with this matter would be to ignore the articles in The Daily Worker and to deal with the matter in Parliament if it is
  4. 4. raised there. Moreover, to issue a statement would be to draw much wider attention to this matter and might well provoke further discussion in the press.’
  5. 5. 3. THE MALAYAN COMMUNIST THREAT IN THE POST-COLD WAR PERIOD, RE-VISITED (1960-1961) THE TEXTBOOK “There were also other Chinese educated members in the PAP led by Lim Chin Siong, who was pro-communist” – Impact, p 142 “Malaya’s sense of security was undermined by the threat of communism at her doorstep. The communists gained strength in Singapore. They were especially against a merger with Malaya as they had always used the anti- colonial struggle as an excuse for communist subversion. They would lose this stand if Singapore were to achieve independence through a merger. “ On 26 July 1961, the pro-communists left the PAP and formed the Barisan Sosialis party to challenge the PAP. This alarmed Tunku Abdul Rahman who feared that Singapore might end up in the hands of the communists” – Impact, p159 THE LIM CHIN SIONG SAGA-REASSESSED What was the status of Lim Chin Siong. Was he really an MCP mole or pro- communist? Chin Siong's importance - "Someone told me the key to meeting and interviewing Lim Chin Siong and other prominent ex-detainees is in your pocket," John Drysdale said to me. …this suggests the importance of Lim Chin Siong, whose side of the story could not be ignored when one writes about politics in Malaya (including Singapore) in those turbulent years of anti- colonial struggle" - Dark Clouds in the Sky, p 170 Colonial Office records - “while we accept that Lim Chin Siong is a Communist, there is no evidence he is receiving his orders from the CPM, Peking or Moscow. Our impression is that Lim is working very much on his own and that his primary objective is not the Communist millennium but to obtain the control of the constitutional government of Singapore. It is far from certain that having obtained this objective Lim would necessarily prove a compliant tool of Peking or Moscow.” - Phillip Moore (UK Deputy Commissioner of Singapore) to Secretary of State, 18 July 1962. Comet in the Sky, p 38 “The fact is that there is no evidence at present that Communists or Communist sympathisers in Singapore intend to resort to illegal activities or violent action. So long as this remains the case, I do not see how the examination of individual cases can produce justification on security grounds for arbitrary arrest, nor is there a political case for arrests, especially in the light of the referendum result” - Lord Selkirk (UK commissioner of
  6. 6. Singapore) to Duncan Sandys (UK secretary of state for Commonwealth Relations) 8 Sept 1962, Comet in the Sky, p 41 Lee Kuan Yew views - “whether a person is a Communist or a Communist agent, only he knows and God knows. Between his conscience and God of course lies the Special Branch and it is up to him to show that these men whom they have arreste are Communists or Communist agents” – Lee Kuan Yew, Debate on Operation Liberation, Singapore Legislative Assembly Debates, 5-6 November, 1956. Comet in the Sky, p 21 Lim Chin Siong on himself - “Sir, I should like to say that I am an elected representative of the people. As such, I am not answerable for my actions to a colonial official. I am only answerable to the people. Secondly, as a member of the PAP, I stand for a free democratic Malaya through peaceful and non- violent methods”, Lim Chin Siong, Singapore Legislative Debates, 16 May 1955, Comet in the Sky, p 20 Said Zakaria on Chin Siong - "Of course, it is no longer relevant, in the 1980s, for them to call Lim Chin Siong or Said Zahari communist or chauvinist. Their 'anti-communist' mission had been finished.' - Dark Clouds in the Sky, p 170. Other Pro-Left views on the nature of communism - The choice between co-operating with the Communists or not, is not a simple choice between good and evil, or in neutral terms between black and white. .. one is always faced with the suspicion in one's mind, whether one is not weakening the anti- colonial struggle by not co-operating with the Communists. This makes the choice even more difficult. - James Puthucheary's statement of Political Belief, letter to Lee Kuan Yew from Changi Prison Camp, 2 Sept, 1957 in Battle for Merger, p 196 THE COMMUNIST THREAT REVISITED How coherent and effective was the communist strategy and plan? The real strength of the MCP - “Although nominally I remained Secretary General of the party from 1961 onwards, the day-to-day functions of this position really lay in the hands of Ah Hai. In Peking my job became one of coordination at the highest levels” – Chin Peng, p 436 MCP calculations and reaction to Malaysia - “Senior Singapore Communist leader, Eu Chooi Yip (ECY)..briefed me. Two years earlier, the CPM Central Committee had warned that Lee Kuan Yew, having secured such a resounding electoral victory in May 1959, was likely to move heavily against the Party’s island-wide infrastructure. Our predictions had been premature. However, in 1961, we remained more convinced than ever that the crackdown we had long feared was just around the corner”. – Chin Peng, p 437 “The three of us – ECY, Chin Peng and Siao Chang – examined in detail the Malaysia plan and came to the conclusion that it would be in the best interest
  7. 7. of our Party if we plotted to sabotage this. If we couldn't derail it, at least we might substantially delay its implementation. We took the position that Singapore should be kept a separate entity from Malaysia, despite the fact that, right from the outset of our struggle, we had envisaged unity between the island and its peninsular neighbour” - Chin Peng, p 437 “We were convinced Lee was planning to manoeuvre behind the Tunku and, through manipulation, smash us not only in Singapore but throughout Malaya. Our interpretation was wrong. Ultimately, it was the Tunku who determined the timetable for Lee’s move against the CPM.” - Chin Peng, p 437 MCP Reaction to Malaysia - “During the consultation with ECY, we lacked firm information on the Malaysia idea. There had been little open and authoritative discussion about the so-called Malaysia plan since it was first mentioned publicly by the Tunku earlier in the year. Although I agreed with the political aim of working to sabotage the plan, I had reservations about the workability of such strategy. - Chin Peng, p 437 Singapore, we maintained, would be entering Malaysia on terms that would be unequal to the other territories. Malaya’s legislation, we said, strongly favoured the Malays to the disadvantage of the Chinese and this situation would remain in force within the new Malaysian concept. We knew the Chinese of Singapore would be deeply worried by the prospects for education in general and Chinese schools in particular under a Malaysia controlled from Kuala Lumpur. - Chin Peng, p 438. MCP Appraisal of the PAP - ECY argued strongly that there was an ever widening split between the PAP’s right wing faction, led by LKY, and a middle-of-the-road group, seemingly led by Sinnathaby Rajaratnam, a Malayan born Tamil and former associate edior of the anti-colonial Singapore Standard. There was also a third faction ECY identified as the ‘Chinese communal group’. I doubted the depth of difference between Lee’s faction and the other two – particularly when it came to the association between the PAP leader and Rajaratnam. My two comrades were convinced that the rift was present an would worsen. I was outvoted and went along with their opinion. - Chin Peng, p 438 I was decidedly uneasy about these decisions and managed to convince my two enthusiastic comrades, that from then on, our political strategy would be to plan for the best but prepare for the worst. My idea of planning for the worst was likewise valid but, to our cost, would never be followed through. - Chin Peng, p 438 MCP on the effects of Operation Cold Store - the Singapore crackdown we had been expecting for almost four years had, in fact, only materialised after strong pressure on Lee from both the Tunku and the British. Our deliberations with ECY earlier had correctly forecast the event, but had failed to visualise putting in place any form of effective countermeasures – p 439.
  8. 8. THE DIFFERENT VIEWS TO MERGER What truly motivated merger? Singapore pro-Merger faction - "Merger between the Federation and Singapore is historically inevitable. The man made boundary at the Straits of Johore will disappear as must all the other freak colonial frontiers bequeathed to newly independent drawers and surveyors of the colonial era - Policy Statement of the Central Executive Committee of the PAP, 1960 in Battle for Merger, pp 171 The Malay Anti-merger view - "I suggested …at the University of Singapore organized by the University Socialist Club…that a genuine "Malaysia" itself referred to a geographical entity encompassing the whole of the so-called "Malay Archipelago", including especially, Indonesia. I also said at the forum that the national interests of the people, as claimed. Rather it was to be used to curb the sweeping current of the anti-colonialist and anti-imperialist uprising not only of the peoples of Southeast Asia in particular but those of Africa and Asia generally;" - Dark Clouds in the Sky, p 154. Tunku views - “The Tunku himself was not happy about the idea of a merger. There was no reason why he should wish to take over all the other Territories were it not for the Communist danger. In his view, Singapore was bound to go Communist unless something was done soon. – Record of Meeting at Chequers, July 28, 1962. Comet in the Sky, p 40 MCP view - "Singapore, we maintained, would be entering Malaysia on terms that would be unequal to the other territories. Malaya’s legislation, we said, strongly favoured the Malays to the disadvantage of the Chinese and this situation would remain in force within the new Malaysian concept. We knew the Chinese of Singapore would be deeply worried by the prospects for education in general and Chinese schools in particular under a Malaysia controlled from Kuala Lumpur" - Chin Peng, p 438. Lim Chin Siong and Barisan view - Lim Chin Siong's position echoed the old radical argument in the English revolutionary tradition, that a ruler's very 'possession of such arbitrary powers means that the continued enjoyment of civil liberty remains at all times dependent on their goodwill. But this is to say that you remain subjet or liable to having your rights of action curtailed or withdrawn at any time. And equivalent to living in a state of servitude. In the context of late colonial Singapore, Lim was suggesting that whilst discretionary powers of detention still remained, in whoever's hands, and not withstanding the transfer of power, Singapore would still be unfree and Merdeke itself would be unrealised - Comet in the Sky, p 47