By Graham Earnshaw
PENANG, Malaysia, Dec 13, Reuter – Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said on Wednesday the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) could try other means to take power despite its recent agreement to lay down arms.
Lee also told a news conference that Singaporean members of the CPM, which signed a pact on December 2 to end its 41-year armed insurgency, could return home but must first prove they no longer wanted to create a communist state.
The agreement signed in southern Thailand between Thai and Malaysian authorities and CPM leader Chin Peng reflected a general decline of communism around the world, Lee said.
“It’s the end of one phase. It marks the formal acknowledgement by the communists that their attempt to seize power by force…has collapsed,” he said.
But he added: “Is it the end of the communist movement? I don’t know.
“At the same time, you will notice that Chin Peng said ‘I am a Marxist-Leninist’, which means that his basic convictions have not altered, and one of the tenets of Marxist-Leninism is that you seize power by a combination of deception, subterfuge and force,” he added.
Lee, on an four-day private visit to this northwestern Malaysian resort island, said he was concerned how people who had devoted most of their lives to the communist attempt to seize power by force could fit back into society.
“Do they write this off as a bad investment…Or do they say: ‘We lost one phase of this fight via force, but I’m not getting off. There is a chance some time, some place and I am going to seize it’.
“That may well be the position of many who have dedicated, absorbed their whole being in the futile attempt to seize power. We have got to be alert against such people,” he said.
He said Singaporean members of the CPM could return to the island but would have to satisfy authorities they had been fully rehabilitated.
Chin Peng told reporters there were 30 to 40 Singaporeans among the 1,100 members of the CPM’s armed unit. Malaysian sources said there were 21 Singaporeans, virtually all ethnic Chinese.
REUTER GAE JXK AM NNNN