Monday, October 20, 2008

Ex-CPM member Shamsiah Fakeh dies

Nationalist, woman rights activist and ex-communist guerrilla Shamsiah Fakeh passed away due to old age this morning at 9am. She was 84.
Shamsiah has been unwell for some time now and was most recently admitted to the UKM Hospital in Cheras last week.

She will be buried at the Sungai Besi Muslim cemetery this evening after the Asar prayers.

Shamsiah was born in Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan and became politically active during her student days.

During the height of nationalism right after the second world war, Shamsiah led the women's wing Angkatan Wanita Sedar (Awas) in Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya in 1946.

And upon the ban on PKMM in 1848 by the British, she joined the 10th regiment of the Communist Party of Malaya. This regiment was predominantly made up of Malays.

As a communist guerrilla, Shamsiah spend eight years in the jungle fighting the authorities.

She eventually fled Malaysia to Indonesia and Vietnam first before eventually ending in China.

She officially left CPM in 1968 but remained in China, working in a steel factory before appealing to the Malaysian government in mid-80s to be allowed to return home.

She and her family were finally allowed to return to Malaysia in 1994. She returned to Malaysia after an absence of 40 years, along with her husband, their three sons and their four grandchildren.

In 2004, she wrote about her experience in CPM in a Bahasa Malaysia book ‘Memoir Shamsiah Fakeh - Dari AWAS ke Rejimen ke 10'.

A new edition and a Chinese language edition was published in 2007

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