On August 19, it was reported that several Felda settlers in Negeri Sembilan launched a police report after they received a message in their WhatsApp group, claiming that Chin Peng is a candidate for ‘Tokoh Kemerdekaan 2019’.
Chin Peng was a former leader of the Malayan Communist Party (MCP), which was notorious for leading two communist insurgencies in the country.
However, they knew the message was fake news. Hence, they launched a police report, urging the authorities to investigate the matter.
Nevertheless, after the long Merdeka weekend, Chin Peng becomes a hot issue on Twitter as netizens were debating on whether he fought for Merdeka or not.
Looking at the network of ‘Chin Peng’ on Twitter, it can be divided into five main clusters – blue, orange, purple, green and yellow.
First, let’s take a look at the blue cluster with @TheUsopIbrahim as influencer. The account gained a high number of feedback as he responded to a tweet by @netushabahadoor, who claimed that Chin Peng fought for Malaya’s independence as he was part of Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army.
Additionally, @netushabahadoor also stated that the former MCP leader fought against the British so that the Malayan Union could be established.
As a response, @TheUsopIbrahim tweeted that Chin Peng murdered Malaysians in the past and he never regretted it. Plus, the former communist leader even wrote a book to glorify his actions. His tweet received over 1.7k retweets and 1.3k likes.
On the other hand, @netushabahadoor is an influencer in her own cluster, the yellow cluster. Regardless, the number of responses that she received on her tweet was way lesser than @TheUsopIbrahim. She received about 150 retweets and 300 likes.
In addition, the purple cluster was also not kind to the yellow cluster. The group’s influencer, @rejaie wrote that Chin Peng fought the British, but it was not for independence.
@rejaie also stated that communists in Malaya were still fighting after the nation gained its independence, to the extent of killing the locals.
@rejaie’s tweet received a lesser number of feedback compared to @TheUsopIbrahim, but more than @netushabahadoor.
Meanwhile, the orange cluster consists of numerous influencers such as @santeira, @thetypicalmalay, @Pandaphiler and etc. All of them shared negative sentiments towards Chin Peng.
Take @santeira as example, the account voiced her frustration over the Chin Peng issue. She tweeted that the communist leader was awarded The Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the British as he fought against Japanese soldiers during World War II.
However, the award was withdrawn after Chin Peng led a communist insurgency in Malaya.
Lastly, the green cluster also have several influencers, namely @macfaisal, @azraelmuhamad and @zuriatulmida. The majority of the users in this group were also unhappy with the idea of making Chin Peng a national hero.
One of the influencers, @macfaisal agreed that Chin Peng was a freedom fighter, but he was subjugating Malaya under a different ideology (communism) aligned to China.
In overall, Chin Peng became viral on Twitter after Merdeka Day as some users claimed that he fought for the independence of Malaya. But a majority of the Twitter users frown upon the claim, as they can’t forgive what Chin Peng and his communist army have done, particularly the killing of locals.