Chin Peng, the former secretary-general of the outlawed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), is not a Malaysian citizen but a British national, according to historian Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim.
Khoo said Chin Peng, whose real name is Ong Boon Hua, was born in 1923 in Sitiawan which is in the Dindings District.
He said Dindings then was a part of the Straits Settlements which came under the British colonial administration.
"Dindings was a part of the Straits Settlements since 1826 and was only handed over to Perak in the 1930s. The Straits Settlements comprising Penang, Malacca and Singapore had been under British colonial administration between 1867 and 1941.
"According to these facts of history, Chin Peng is a British national and not a Malaysian citizen," he told Bernama when asked to comment on calls by several people for the former CPM leader to be allowed to live in Malaysia.
Penang Gerakan chairperson Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan had asked the government to allow Chin Peng to return to the country on humanitarian grounds as he was no longer a threat to national security.
Teng's statement drew strong opposition from various quarters, particularly members of ex-police personnel's and ex-service personnel's associations whose relatives and colleagues had fallen victim to the communist brutality during the Emergency between 1948 and 1960.
Chin Peng's attempt to get to reside in the country through the process of law also failed when the High Court dismissed his appeal because he did not furnish his identification documents.
The Federal Court in April upheld two lower courts' decisions compelling him to produce his identification papers if he wanted to enter the country.
Chin Peng is believed to live in Bangkok.
"There may be no problems if Chin Peng intends to go to Britain. But if he wants to come to Malaysia, he has to prove that he is a Malaysian citizen," said Khoo.
He said many people assumed that only Malays were killed by the communists during the Emergency but many Chinese and Indians were also murdered.
Thousands of civilians and members of the security forces were killed in the guerrilla war staged by Chin Peng and his colleagues from the jungles between 1948 and until the CPM laid down arms in 1989.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday the government would not allow Chin Peng to return to Malaysia as it would lead to dissatisfaction among the people, especially those who fought the communists and families who lost their loved ones during the Emergency.