Times, July 17, 1997
BY Ho Wah
communist leader Fang Chung Pi, whom Senior Minister
Lee Kuan Yew nicknamed the "Plen" (from
plenipotentiary), has urged Singapore's Government to
insurgents return, according to a newspaper report
71-year-old Fang made this call in an exclusive
interview given to Mr Lee Soo Puang, editor of
Chinese newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau, and Mr Kua Kim
Teck, senior feature writer for the paper.
Pic/ Nanyang Siang Pau
Mr Fang, who was
Singapore leader of the defunct Malayan
Communist Party, had urged Singapore "to
follow the spirit of the Haadyai Peace
accord, signed on Dec 2, 1989, in Haadyai
between the Thai and Malaysian governments,
and the MCP, allowed the safe return of 1,200
MCP leaders and members to Malaysia and
Thailand to lead a normal life.
accord brought to an end MCP's jungle-based armed
struggle, which lasted for more than three decades.
It lets former insurgents participate in economic
development and, eventually, local politics.
of them have chosen to settle in Thailand while 800
have returned to Malaysia.
Singapore was not a signatory to the accord, Mr Fang
said he hoped it would let more than 20 former MCP
members return to lead a normal life.
Singapore-born fugitives are now residing in the
"Peace Village", a settlement on the
Thai-Malaysia border catering to former MCP members.
It is more than five hours' drive from Haadyai, where
the interview took place.
said that although the Home Ministry allowed him to
return to Singapore, he had chosen not to return now
because of "disagreements in conditions",
which Mr Kua interpreted as "conditions being
that he had met the Senior Minister on Aug 23, 1995,
in Beijing to discuss the return of the Singaporeans,
but there was no consensus on the matter.
pointed out to Lee Kuan Yew that he and I shared the
same duty and obligation to help the return of these
comrades, whether we looked at it from the
historical, political or moral perspective.
was hoping he would respect the spirit of the Haadyai
accord and settle this problem in a fair and amicable
manner. But, unfortunately, we failed to reach a
consensus about what was duty and what was
obligation," Mr Fang was quoted as saying in the
despite the differences during the Beijing meeting,
Mr Lee told Mr Fang he could return to visit
said that apart from talking to him about the plight
of more than 20 Singaporeans, he had wanted to use
the Beijing meeting to "reconcile with Lee Kuan
described by Mr Lee in the '50s as "an able and
determined person", first met him in March 1958,
when the latter was the secretary-general of the
People's Action Party (PAP).
had held several meetings to discuss a united MCP and
PAP anti-colonial front, as well as the prospects of
a Malaya-Singapore merger, according to writer James
Minchin in his book, No Man Is An Island.
who then represented the MCP's top leadership
purportedly, had also told Nanyang Siang Pau of his
dealings with Mr Lee. These are to be published
today, according to Mr Kua.
Next: The Plen
hopes to solve CPM
issue while SM is around
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