In the annals of the Malaysian Military History no one person was more decorated than Kanang anak Langkau of the Ranger Corps. He is one of the very few survivors ever conferred the "Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa" whilst still alive and a "Pingat Gagah Berani". No other person has ever received two gallantry awards in the history of the Malaysian Armed Forces. No other Corps can boast of a warrior of his stature but the Ranger Corps. In an operation in the Korbu Forest Reserve at Fort Legap on the 1st June 1979 whilst on a mission tracking the enemy, Sgt Kanang's group came across a temporary enemy resting camp. Sergeant Kanag ak Langkau from the 8th Battalion Royal Rangers immediatedly launched an attack on that enemy camp, an enemy that far outnumbered Kanang's group. In this fierce contact with the enemy, two of the Rangers went down, mortally wounded. Five of the enemy were killed, enemy equipment too were captured. He was conferred the highest gallantry award, the "Pingat Gagah Berani" by his Majesty the King. In another operation, which was a follow up on an enemy ambush on a section of soldiers from the 20th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment at Ladang Kinding, Sungei Siput, Perak, 8th Battalion Royal Rangers was tasked to conduct the follow up. One of the follow up groups was commanded by Sergeant Kanang ak Langkau. Sergeant Kanang who was a skilled tracker managed to track down the enemy. He made contact with the enemy, several of his soldiers were wounded. Even after experiencing casualties, his morale and the indomitable fighting spirit of the Ranger Corps within him remained high. . 901378 Sarjan Kanang Anak Langkau was leading the Unit Combat Intelligence Platoon of 8th Battalion Royal Rangers(now known as 8th Paras). This platoon was tasked to track down and destroy a group of communist terrorists who were present in the operational area. Who awhile ago shot dead one soldier in the Tanah Hitam area of Perak on the 8th February 1980. The tracking skills and his courage led him successfully to followup on the enemy. The lay of the land at that time was an obstacle as they were in very difficult terrain. The enemy was cunning and skillfull in the use of the ground to their advantage. They were very adept at concealment, with the years piled on fighting the British and the Malaysians. The tactics used by the enemy to throw off Kanang and his group off their trail was never ending. Due to the courage of Kanang and his tracking skills the Rangers managed to keep up with the enemy.Even as some of his men were disheartened, he kept their morale up by encoraging them. This dogged pursuit and tracking of the enemy took 11 days ! Since the death of the soldier 11 days he managed to doggedly track and identify the enemy's exact route of escape. On the evening of 19th February 1980 at around 1500 hours in the afternoon, after conducting a recconnaisance with great caution and care, his platoon mananged to estimate the location of the enemy, which was located not very far from their location. Actually they were inside the location of the enemy, as they were at the foot of the hill. They only realised that they were inside the enemy's location when they found a communictions cord from the enemy sentry's location. This cord was running from the sentry's location to the enemy's main force. This cord is normally attached to a small bush or empty cans which make noise when pulled. This way the main force can be alerted by the sentry when an enemy approaches. At that moment Sergeant Kanang was approximately 8 meters from the enemy sentry's location. Realising that, he launched the assault towards the right by firing towards the right of the enemy along with his platoon. After lauching the attack to the right, it suddenly struck everyone that the enemy's main force was on the left, below the slope of the hill. Without losing his senses, he switched the direction of fire to the left, at the same time changing the direction of the assault to the left. They ploughed into the enemy, a large force of the enemy managed to escape. The platoon and Kanang on that day managed to bag five Communist Terrorists on that day. Even with that success, they were saddened by the loss of one of their group who was killed and one more seriously wounded.Whilst trying to rescue his wounded friends, Sergeant Kanang himself was repeatedly shot, he took three rounds from the enemy into his body. The will to live and fight another day was strong, he recuperated and was back on active duty. Kanang anak Langkau following the highest fighting traditions of the Ranger Corps was conferred the "Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa" for valour in decimating the enemy on the 3rd June 1981 by his Majesty the King. Sergeant Kanang was from Simanggang, Sarawak. He joined the service with the the Sarawak Rangers as an Iban Tracker on the 21 April 1962. He was absorbed into the Malaysian Rangers when Malaysia was proclaimed on the 16th September 1963. He left the service after 21 years of service as a Warrant Officer 1.
His full citation in The London Gazette reads:
Iban Tracker, Johore, Federation of Malaya.
During operations against the bandits in Malaya a section of a platoon of the Worcestersbire Regiment was ambushed by about 50 of the enemy. The leading scout was killed instantly and the Section Commander fatally wounded.
Awang anak Rawang was hit through the thigh bone and at the same time a soldier, moving behind him, was hit below the knee, the bullet completely shattering the bone. Awang anak Rawang, although wounded and lying exposed under heavy rifle and automatic fire, collected his own weapons and that of the soldier and dragged him into the cover of the jungle. In view of the impending bandit attack Awang, completely disregarding his own wound, took up a position to defend the injured man.
There he remained, firing on every attempt made by the bandits to approach, and successfully drove off several attacks. Ultimately Awang was again wounded, the bullet shattering his right arm and rendering further use of his rifle or parang impossible. Despite loss of blood from his undressed wounds, be dragged himself over to the wounded soldier and took a grenade from the man’s pouch.
He resumed his position on guard, pulled out the pin of the grenade with his teeth and with the missile in his left band defied the bandits to approach. So resolute was his demeanour that the bandits, who had maintained their attacks for some forty minutes, and who were now threatened by the other sections, withdrew.The coolness, fortitude and offensive spirit displayed by Awang anak Rawang were of the highest order.
Despite being twice severely wounded he showed the utmost courage and resolution to continue the fight and protect the injured soldier.
Worcestershire Regimental History records the following action:
On 26th May 1951, 12 Platoon, “D” Company (2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, R.A.O.C. att. 1 Worc. R.) were encamped in some rubber on Ulu Paloh Estate, three miles West of Niyor. At about 1530 hours one of the platoon sentries was fired on by a party of eight terrorists.
The sentry returned the fire and the terrorists withdrew in a North-Westerly direction. The Platoon Commander then took two sections in pursuit of the terrorists, but after making a wide circling movement through the jungle could find no trace of the enemy and returned to base.
The following morning (27th May) the Platoon Commander, with two sections, set out once more in search of the enemy.
They moved due West into the jungle and followed a narrow track, which had jungle on the left and felled jungle on the high ground to the right. The track was used by woodcutters who were engaged in cutting the jungle further back.
Having moved about a quarter of a mile into the jungle, the leading section came under very heavy automatic fire from the front and left flank. The patrol went to ground and returned the fire.
In the first few minutes Private Dykes, the leading scout, was killed. The section commander (Corporal Stanton), two more privates (Hughes and Payne), and the Iban tracker (Awang anak Rawang), were wounded. The Platoon Commander shouted several times to Corporal Stanton to withdraw his section, but he received no reply. 2/Lieut. Morris then moved back and deployed the rear section to the left; they then engaged the terrorists as best they could. 2/Lieut. Morris moved forward again to investigate the state of the leading section. During this time he fired two complete magazines from his carbine.
The Platoon Commander was killed shortly afterwards, but the Platoon fought on for about forty minutes, when the terrorists withdrew.
The sound of the firing had been heard back at the Company base, and the Company Commander, with two platoons, moved out and arrived at the scene of the action about an hour later.
During the action Private Hughes fell wounded in the middle of the track, and Awang anak Rawang, the Iban tracker, although wounded himself and lying in an exposed position, dragged Private Hughes under cover of a fallen tree.
From behind the tree Awang defended Hughes and continued to engage the terrorists when they tried to approach. For his gallantry Awang anak Rawang was subsequently awarded the George Cross. He was the first, and at the time of writing the only, Iban tracker to receive such an honour.
The casualties in the action were 2/Lieut. W. O. Morris, Corporal B. Stanton and Private N. Dykes killed, and the wounded were Private G. Hughes, Private N. Payne and the Iban.
The enemy lost three killed, including Lap Kwang, the company commander and a terrorist leader of repute. The terrorists numbered about fifty and were later identified as 3 Platoon and 7 Platoon, 4 Company, of the 9th Regiment. The two sections of 12 Platoon had a total strength of between fifteen and twenty. That's the spirit of the Rangers who evolved from the Iban Scout-BM.
There were long range fighting patrols, where their fatigues virtually rotted on their bodies, as they spent day in day out in the swamps hunting down the killers. Everyone in Seventh Rangers wanted to very much close up with the enemy and kill them.
There was one patrol led by an Officer Commanding, he was Captain Sabdin Ghani.
They were airlifted for the follow up to the most likely enemy escape route. They jumped off the hovering helicopter into waist deep brackish and a foul smelling swamp. The helicopter left them there. They started looking for signs of the enemy, soon they came across a trail. They had picked up the fleeing trail of the enemy. They pursued the enemy by day until nightfall, where they continued pursuing the enemy aided by the moonlight in the swamp.
They suddenly came upon solid ground, which was covered by "mengkuang" leaves. These large leaves if stepped upon would make a crackling sound. Captain Sabdin Ghani split his men into two groups, one led by himself and the other led by Sergeant Lucas. Sergeant Lucas moved his men into a flanking movement.
In the moonlit night at a distance they came upon two huts connected by a walkway.
Captain Sabdin's group got on their knees and started crawling, clearing the "mengkuang leaves" so as not to give away their positions. Soon his group started climbing up the huts which were on stilts. The enemy became aware of the presence of the Rangers. The moment the enemy became aware Captain Sabdin Ghani opened up with his Sterling sub machine gun. His group too opened up. The short and fierce encounter resulted in two of the enemy being killed.
Another group led by Captain Abdullah of A Company laid a claymore ambush. This was a linear ambush. A group of six of the enemy who were also fleeing walked into the ambush position. One of the enemy realising that they were in an ambush position started stomping his feet into the ground trying to warn the others. The Rangers were not going to let them get away. The person holding the M57 firing device fired the claymore mines.
The mines got four of the enemy, two others managed to flee. When the clearing patrol, led by Lance Corporal Rahman Putih, saw one of the wounded enemy crawling trying to escape, he was badly wounded at the hip. Lance Corporal Rahman Putih was not feeling merciful that morning, thinking of his 15 dead comrades in arms. He finished off the wounded enemy with a burst from his Sterling sub machine gun. A total of 4 dead enemy were recovered by the clearing patrol.
‘We have our scars’: Chinese army vets slam Ummah for denying minorities’ part
Macva president Major Tan Pau Son during Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus LatifMacva president Major Tan Pau Son during Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus LatifKUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Ethnic Chinese army veterans have railed against Malay-Muslim coalition Ummah today over the latter’s erroneous claim that only Malays had resisted British colonists, Japanese occupiers and Communist insurgents.
At a press conference today, Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association (Macva) president Major (Rtd) Tan Pau Son said cleric Ismail Mina Ahmad’s remarks were not only historically and factually wrong, but had belittled the contributions of the non-Malay veterans including the Ibans, Indians, Sikhs.
“We participated in defending our country and some of us still have scars to show that we were there — risking our lives,” Tan told a press conference at Mavca headquarters at Midvalley Boulevard here.
Tan said Mavca, with a membership close to 1,000 veterans since inception on August 31, 2016, and thousands who have passed on before them is a true testimony of a large group of Chinese veterans who had served loyally in military campaigns.
“Needless to say there were also Chinese veterans who sadly lost their lives and limbs in the defence of the nation.
“All Malaysians should rebutt all these inaccurate and irresponsible assertions made by Ismail,” he said.
Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association pose for group photo after press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus LatifMalaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association pose for group photo after press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus LatifTan also pointed out that there were six Chinese members of the armed forces who were bestowed with the Panglima Gagah Berani medals for their extreme bravery: Colonel Maurice Lam Shye Choon, Major (Rtd) Lee Ah Pow, Second Lieutenant (Rtd) David Fu Chee Ming, Sergeant (Rtd) Choo Woh Soon, Sergeant Cheng Eng Chin, and Ranger Mat Isa Hassan.
Meanwhile, three others, Lieutenant Colonel Chong Kheng Ley, Lieutenant Colonel Leong Fook Cheong, and Captain Tien Sen An, were awarded Pingat Tentera Udara for their valour.
“We have Chinese veterans who receive gallantry awards and this alone is a testament that the Malays were not the only ones who protected the nation,” he said.
On Saturday, Ismail who is the chairman of the Ummah umbrella group for Muslim organisations, also asserted that only the Malays had battled the Communists, which he claimed made the community a target of the predominantly-Chinese Insurgency that lasted for forty years.
One particular war veteran who narrowly escaped death while fighting a battle in Southern Thailand in 1978, said he was hurt and angered by Ismail’s remarks in the convention outlining the demands of the Muslim lobby.
WO Patrick Lee ai Tong, 71 shows scar from a bullet during Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. — WO Patrick Lee ai Tong, 71 shows scar from a bullet during Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association press conference at The Boulevard Mid Valley City January 15, 2018. Warrant Officer Patrick Lee Kai Tong said Ismail’s statement was not only ignorant but hurtful to armed forces who had witnessed countless deaths and suffered various injuries in the name of the country.
Lee, now 71, walks around with a hole in his left arm after being shot by the communists who had zeroed in on the Nuri helicopter he was in while landing to provide ammunition supply to his own troop.
“Does he even know what it is like to be in a warzone? He can say what he want but do not hurt people’s feelings,” Lee said.
“Maybe this scar from an M-16 is not enough for me to prove that I was there fighting for the country but know that every memory, every death — even the smell of it stays with me.”
Tan also chided Ismail for conveniently forgetting that there were many Malay members among the Communist insurgents.
“In Ismail’s speech, he failed to mention that the 10th Regiment Malayan Communist Party was predominantly a Malay regiment unit operating in the jungles of Northern Malaysia and Southern Thailand.
“The leader was Abdullah CD and his followers Suriani Abdullah, Shamsiah Fakeh, Abu Samah Mohamad Kassim and Rashid Maidin,” Tan said.
Contact At The Kinta Forest Reserve - Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) SP, Ranger Bajau ak Ladi PGB & Cpl Osman PGB
Major Jayandran Koren extreme left, Thanaraj centre and Ray Chandran on the right. Late Capt Chandran was killed at about 2.40pm on 13 June 1971 in contact with the Communist.
"Capt Ray Mohana Chandran was killed in action in June 1971. He was in 4th Rangers in Ipoh. I was then in 7th Rangers in Sg Petan, a 2nd Lt. Chandran clashed with a group (5th Assault Unit - AU) led by State Committee Member (SCM) Chong Kwai Hong. After the clash SCM Chong withdrew to South Thailand. We spent a lot of time trying to track him down but our efforts were futile.
In 1974, I was a Capt then, and was dealing in combat intelligence in 7th Rangers. While operating in Sg Siput area, about 10km from where Chandran clashed with SCM Chong in 1971, my boys (7th Rangers) came across some markings made of bamboo along a mountain ridge streching on the slopes of Gunong Korbu. These findings were on 20th April. I instructed my boys to lay an ambush along the ridge close to the bamboo markings.
On 22nd April at 10.55am, BANG - the ambush was sprung. Two terrorists were killed in the initial burst and during the follow up 30 mins later another 3. In this clash, 5 bodies were recovered, one was SCM Chong and another his wife. After this not much was heard of 5th AU. It was replaced by 6th AU. We recovered quite a bit of $$$ from this clash- obviously, he was their high ranking leader. What pleased me was, we avenged Chandran's misfortune. I have not shared this with anyone till now. Maybe because we were just too busy then to sit back and rejoice on the success.
Unlike now, on reading and listening to the script, I just realised what we had scored. Its 50 years ago!!!! May God bless Chandran's soul and let him know the score. I will raise this with the 4th Rangers guys so that some closing can be done at unit level."Leader 5th Assault Unit Chong Kwai Hong was killed by 7th Rangers on 21/22 Apr 1974 at 1155hrs in Pos Legab area during Gonzales 1. Five CTs were killed in that chance ambush. One escaped and was killed by 2nd Rangers, 2 or 3 days later
Chong Chor was captured by the Special Branch in Chow Kit area, circa 1987" - Lt Col Baldev Singh (Retired)
"When signs of enemy presence(Communist Terrorists) were discovered at the Korbu Forest Reserve, Sungei Siput and Tanah Hitam from the 8th May until 31st May 1971, a mixed Reconnaissance Group was formed.
The intelligence received at that time, was that the enemy had just moved into the area. The enemy unit was commanded by DCM Chong Kwai Hong, the overall Commander being Chong Chor. What the intelligence failed to notice was that the enemy had moved into the area 2 months ago. The position the enemy was entrenched in was fortified with trenches.The enemy camp had even an underground kitchen.
So to destroy is enemy a sub - unit of the Unit Combat Intelligence Platoon (4th Rangers) , comprising of ten men led by Captain V.Mohan Chandran of the 4th Battalion Royal Rangers, Special Government Agents (Surrendered Enemy Personnel from the 1st Emergency- SEP), Special Branch and members of the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment. They were tasked to reconnoiter the movement of the enemy in the Ulu Kinta forest, Perak. This group was sent, as there were signs and information concerning the movement of the Communist Terrorists in the whole of that area. They were moving with impunity in that area, they dominated the ground there, it was time to show the Enemy that their days of terror were over.
This combined group was inserted into the operational area on the 3rd June 1971. This combined unit was commanded by Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) and assisted by 2LT Donald Patrick John (2000913), both who, were from the 4th Rangers. Left : Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) Aged : 24 years old. A role model for Officers of the Ranger Corps.
They moved off from Camp Suvla Lines, located along Jalan Tambun in Ipoh with 2 X 3 ton trucks and a single Land Rover. They left the camp at 1100 hours heading towards Tanah Hitam, Chemor through Ulu Kinta. They debussed in a rubber plantation near the North Brigade Police Field Force Camp in Ulu Kinta. They moved for about a map square (1 km) to spend the night there. They moved for about a week in the area looking for enemy traces guided by the SEPs', who were mostly Chinese. During one of their outings on their own, escorted by the Rangers, they came upon an "Orang Asli" (Original People of Malaysia) settlement. The SEP's were familiar with the settlement and knew the people from this settlement. The SEP's managed to get some information from the Orang Asli. The rest of the group was not far off. They came back and said this," Friends, If you all want to be safe, it's better not to go"("Kawan kalau mahu selamat lebih baik tidak usah pergi"). To which Rgr Abang Bolhi bin Abang Din replied, "How can we do that, it is up to our Officer?"(Mana boleh buat apa, itu terpulang kepada Pegawai saya"). One of the SEP's asked one of the Orang Asli to guide the Rangers to the the Enemy location believed to be at Sungei Kinding. On the route to that location they came across an Orang Asli and two Chinese men. They detained them for awhile, releasing them only after their Orang Asli guide clarified that these 3 men were familiar faces and that they were looking for tin ore. The Orang Asli guide was only willing to guide them until Sungei Kinding, he was not willing to go further as he had come across a group of the well armed and uniformed enemy who numbered around 30 men. The Orang Asli left them there and returned to his settlement. They rested for the night at Sungei Kinding The following morning several patrols were sent out by Captain Chandran in many directions to get the lay of the land and to look for the signs of the Enemy. Rgr Bolhi was in 2Lt Donald's group. On that day they came across a hut. They checked out the area around and inside the hut. Rgr Abang Bolhi found a piece of paper, it was a receipt for the purchase of a chainsaw dated 24th March 1971. He handed over the receipt to 2Lt Donald. Rgr Bolhi then went down to the washing area near the hut, he found a green shirt which was hidden there. 2Lt Donald then, instructed Rgr Bolhi to move to Captain Chandran's location and hand over the shirt him and inform him of the finding. The following day they went out on a patrol which was the 12th of June 1971, with the intention of picking up traces of the Enemy's activities. After they came back from the patrol, Captain Chandran told them to cook, have their food and rest, as in the evening he wanted to discuss something with them. After they had their lunch and had rested they gathered for a briefing and orders from Captain Chandran. After delivering his orders, his final words before they were dismissed was,"Clean your weapons well, for tomorrow we are going to do battle". Most of the Rangers felt uneasy and anxious with these final words from Captain Chandran. Even his tone of voice was different that day. The words, we are going to do battle tomorrow, kept on playing in Rgr Bolhi's mind over and over again, all along the return journey to 2Lt Donald's location. Those words kept on ringing throughout that evening. He occupied himself by sewing his pants which was torn. He started sewing, one by one all the needles he used broke until he was left with the largest needle, which too broke. He was left thinking of all these ominous signs that were gathering. To keep his mind from further being troubled he went fishing to a nearby stream adjoining the base. He manged to catch some fish at dusk. He cooked them up to be eaten for the following day. The following day he forgot to take the cooked fish along with him on patrol. As planned on the 13th June 1971 a patrol of 15 men with two SEPs' went out on patrol. Which further broke up. Rgr Bolhi followed Captain Chandran's group, along with 601509 Cpl Rahman bin Jaafar, 929223 Rgr Bajau ak Ladi and 928939 Rgr Ali bin Jaafar. 2Lt Donald's group comprised of 203523 Cpl Osman bin Sharif (3rd Recce), Rgr Zainal, Rgr Norsin and 22594 Rgr Khasan bin Awang, the third group comprising of 5 men was commanded by Cpl Musa. Whilst on patrol 2Lt Donald asked for the M79 carried by Rgr Bolhi to be handed over to him. He told 2Lt Donald to ask Captain Chandran's permission. After receiving the instructions form Captain Chandran to hand over the M79, he was handed a sterling sub machine gun, like the rest in the group, with the exception of Rgr Ali who was carrying a Light Machine gun. They left their jungle base at 0800 hours in the morning, led by 2Lt Donald's group. Cpl Musa's group was instructed to lay an ambush on the trail they took, after leaving them behind, Cpl Musa's group they came across an Orang Asli hunting with his blow pipe. The SEP approached the Orang Asli and spoke to him. After that they left the Orang Asli. Rgrl Bolhi was the leading recce (scout) for Captain Chandran's group. He was followed by two of the SEP's, then followed by Capt Chandran, Rgr Bajau, Cpl Rahman and Rgr Ali. They were separated from 2lt Donald's group by a mere 10 meters. Relates Rgr Bolhi :" I was following the trail taken by 2Lt Donald's group, when I came across a trail cutting across, it looked suspiciously fresh. That trail was already crossed by 2Lt Donald's group who apparently did not notice it. I indicated that faint trail to the SEP's who were behind me. The SEPs' and I followed the trail which cut across the ridge. After following the trail for sometime, the SEP's confirmed that the trail was that of the Enemy. The SEP's were not sure whether it led into an Enemy stronghold or just a trail leading to the right of the ridge. We turned back to inform Captain Chandran of our findings. Captain Chandran ordered a halt, ordering me to move up and make contact with 2Lt Donald's group to return and marry up with his group for further discussions at the place where we halted. I ran towards the direction I last saw 2Lt Donald's group. At one point I nearly released a shot at a figure which suddenly emerged form the dense foliage, I later realised that it was Cpl Osman, the last man in 2Lt Donald's group. I hand signalled to Cpl Osman that 2Lt Donald and his group had to turn around. I took them back to the Captain's location. During the briefing by Captain Chandran, he told us that the SEP's were reluctant to follow the trail to the Enemy Camp. They knew that if they met up with their old comrades, they would be despatched to the nether world without mercy. They were therefore very adamant that they would not want to get involved in a direct confrontation with their former friends. Therefore he ordered them to move back to their base camp at Sungei Kinding on their own, without escorts. They could not be used for any battle, being the ex-commies they were. Captain Chandran radioed for reinforcements, instead he was instructed to make do with what he had. After lunch at around 1400 hours, 2Lt Donald moved off with his group to the right of the ridge, whereas our group (Captain's) moved to the left following the trail along the left of the ridge. As we moved along the trail, Captain Chandran reminded us about the river below the ridge, to be used as a guide back to Chemor, in the event, we needed to save ourselves. The river flowed towards Chemor. On the descent from the ridge, I was leading, followed by Captain Chandran, Rgr Bajau, Cpl Abdul Rahman and Rgr Ali bringing up at the rear most. From the beginning of the descent, I stopped several times to take a leak (urinate). Captain Chandran who was wearing a greyish shirt looked troubled and was chain smoking, I saw that his lips had turned pale. I even asked him if anything was the matter. To which he replied, that there was nothing the matter with him. There was this weird feeling in my gut. I tried to push away this gloomy and negative thoughts playing in my mind. With this fleeting disturbing thoughts I raced downhill, I reached the bottom of the hill where I reached a waterpoint, complete with a bamboo acting as a conduit for the flow of water. I filled up my water bottel, not realising that it was an Enemy waterpoint. Captain Chandran followed me quickly without stopping, overtook me, crossing the stream and started ascending the hill rapidly in front of me, as though he had picked up the scent of the enemy. After going up a few meters, I saw him signalling with his thumb pointed downwards with his left hand and followed by an indication of direction. That meant, enemy in front ! Without missing a heartbeat, I raced towards him to close up with him. As soon as I reached him, he told me to move forward and reconnoitre the enemy's position. Very slowly I moved forward to get close to the enemy's location. My distance to the enemy was 3 long strides away. I saw two of the enemy digging a fire trench whilst one other enemy who was in full uniform was acting as a lookout. The two enemy who were digging, were in white singlets and wearing grey colored pants. Suddenly 3 pairs of eyes locked onto me. They held my gaze for a fleeting moment before anyone reacted. Meanwhile Captain Chandran was taking cover behind a boulder to the right of me. The rest of the men were still downhill, not aware of what was happening in front of them.Thoughts were racing through my mind whether to to fire first, worrying I would not be able to kill them all. The thoughts of 3 against 1 started racing. I decided to use the grenade 36, I reached for the grenade, then the thought what if the greande fails to explode. I put the grenade back all this happening in split seconds. I quickly made a final decision, I opened up with my sterling sub machine gun, I saw all three of them fall. As I fired in the direction of the enemy, the enemy too, fired in my direction. I was hit in the left palm of my hand. The bullet penetrated my palm and came out. One more round went through the back of my right arm pit and came out through my right chest. The blood gushed out. I told myself, "God ! I am dead," thinking about death this time around. I fell and rolled downhill. As I rolled downhill I lost a magazine of rounds. In that instant Captain Chandran moved quickly to cover me, from being hit some more, by the direct enemy fire. He started firing on the enemy, from his cover to save me and keep the enemy's heads down. As soon as I had reached the bottom of the hill, I was being embraced by Rgr Bajau who was asking me, "What's happening Bolhi?" I was in a daze, I replied, that I was dying and that I was shot. Rgr Bajau ak Ladi on hearing this released me and immediately started firing uphill ". Rgr Bajau, then charged uphill firing until he was quite near Captain Chandran. The Captain ordered Rgr Bajau to provide him with covering fire, so as to enable him to close up with the enemy, Rgr Bajau obliged by bringing withering fire to bear upon the entrenched enemy. By this time, Cpl Abdul Rahman had reached the location, he took up a position beside Rgr Bajau and concentrated his fire too on the enemy poistion. Meanwhile Rgr Ali with the LMG still had not crossed the stream at the foothill. Rgr Bajau seeing tha Rgr Ali had difficulty moving with the LMG, raced downhill to take the LMG. Right :This is a Bren Gun, a LMG is a modified bren, the magazine in an LMG is straight unlike the bren which is curved. One can actually see the word Bren etched into the metal which is crossed out. He swapped his sterling for Ali's LMG. He heard Captain Chandran yelling " Section 1 to the left. Section 2 to the right. Attack ! Attack ! Attack ! Giving his orders clearly and cooly. During this exchange of weapons whilst Captain Chandran was assaulting the enemy, covered by Cpl Abdul Rahman, the enemy's rounds slammed into Captain Chandran. Rgr Bajau raced uphill with the LMG and set it up to provide covering fire for Captain Chandran. Without him (Capt Chandran) realising it, the enemy's bullets had hit him in the head. He continued firing by reflex action until he lay still, on the battle field that day in the forest of Ulu Kinta, Perak. Even though he had such a small group of men, his courage managed to confuse the enemy on the actual strength of the security forces. He knew he was outnumbered, after he had established contact with the enemy. It was too late to back off and wait for reinforcements, as it was late in the day.
What Captain Chandran did not know was that the enemy who were lying in wait for him was only a third of the enemy and very well entrenched, the other two thirds were out on a patrol. The enemy on top of the hill fought with great vigour bringing heavy and concentrated fire to bear upon Rgr Bajau and Cpl Abdul Rahman. Rgr Ali had by that time reached them, none of them could move due to the intense fire from the enemy. Cpl Abdul Rahman observed the situation for awhile and decided that maybe, maybe, Captain Chandran was killed as he was not moving and as his voice was no more heard, he was not sure of anything at that time. Rgr Bajau continued advancing, firing fiercely with his LMG braving the enemy's bullets. As he advanced, trying to destroy the enemy who were uphill and dominating the ground, Rgr Bajau felt something collide with his left thigh. He saw blood flowing from the impact of the round and felt the warm wetness of the blood spreading on his trousers. He shouted out to Cpl Abdul Rahman, "Corporal I am hit in the leg ! " He took cover assisted by Cpl Abdul Rahman behind a boulder, which prevously was the location Captain Chandran. Which he had used as his own cover, before assaulting the enemy from that position. With the enemys strength being very much larger and them dominating the ground , not much could be done by Cpl Abdul Rahman and Rgr Ali. After sometime they heard two explosions from an M79, probabaly from 2Lt Donald's group, which did not seem to have much of an effect on the enemy. The enemy continued raining bullets on them. After half an hour of intense firing by the enemy the firing gradually abated. Cpl Abdul Rahman's ears were ringing with the sounds of the battle. The line of sight was fading for him He looked in the direction where Captain Chandran lay, before losing sight of him. Suddenly he saw a jungle hat hanging on the thorns of a rattan plant, swaying gently, being blown about by the wind. He recognised that as belonging to his Company Commander, Captain Chandran. He was still hoping in his heart that his Officer was still alive, hoping to see the jovial and familiar face, for at that moment, he felt so very alone and the responsibility of command weighed down on him so very heavily. He continued observing to see whether Captain Chandran would walk up to him. He crawled towards the direction where Captain Chandran lay, ordering Rgr Ali to lay down covering fire for him. He went close to Captain Chandran, he was lying in the prone position. He did not notice any wounds on Captain Chandran at first. He turned him over and found two holes in the left and right of his head and blood flowing out of them. There was no pulse. All his fears came true that day. Cpl Abdul Rahman pulled and dragged his body into a depression in the ground not far from his previous position. He took Captain Chandran's pistol, sub machine gun, compass, map, watch and all the ammunition on him,. he covered the body with leaves from the "bertam" plant, found in the area. Before he withdrew from the position, he yelled out with all his might, "B Company covering fire, C Company assault !! This was a ruse, trying to deceive the enemy that two companys of troops were assaulting them. With that cry they continued firing uphill on the enemy. After sometime they heard the enemy gathering their belongings to retreat, shouting, "Chau, chau, chau "(let's go, let's go, let's go ). He informed Rgr Bajau and Rgr Ali that Captain Chandran was no more with them. Cpl Abdul Rahman ordered Rgr Bajau and Rgr Ali to stay at their posts until night fell. The intention was to withdraw from their location under the cover of darkness, to avoid being spotted by the enemy who might still be hanging around the top of the hill. The rain started coming down in torrents, Cpl Rahman ordered Rgr Bajau who was wounded to observe uphill, Rgr Ali to observe the left while he himself observed the right of their location. Captain Chandran's body was not too far behind them. After sometime he ordered them to maintain their watch as he wanted to get the radio at the bottom of the hill. Even though the radio was faulty he managed to get his message to Platoon 1 of A Company which was in the vicinity. He was instructed to remain in his position be patient and that help was on the way. At around 1800 hours, Rgr Bajau started complaining that he could not stand the pain. Cpl Rahman put on fresh dressings on him and told him to be patient and that help was on the way. They were there and the time was now 2000 hours, help still had not arrived. Rgr Bajau continued bleeding profusely and was in great pain. There was alot of blood coming out of his thigh. Cpl Abdul Rahman started worrying, he repeatedly reassured and consoled Bajau, asking him to bear the pain. He reassured Bajau again and again. He also told him that people who must die will die, but not Rgr Bajau. He asked Rgr Bajau if he was willing to walk at night to reach their base. To which Rgr Bajau agreed, at 2030 hours they started walking leaving the place of battle. They left the area with a heavy heart, knowing well that they were leaving the body of their commander and leader and Rgr Bolhi whose location they did not know. They walked all night until morning stopping to rest every now and then. That night as they were walking back to their base they saw alot of flares being fired, not knowing the reason for this. The flares guided them back to their base. As dawn broke he had sucessfully brought the two men to the bottom of the hill. The sun arose and the day cleared, aiding visibility. They continued moving, after climbing a hill at around 0830 hours they ran into a group from B Company commanded by Captain Ariffin, who were actually racing towards them to provide support. They were given food and drinks by Captain Ariffin's group. Captain Ariffin organised a stretcher party to carry Rgr Bajau to a LP (landing point). This was to evacuate Rgr Bajau who was suffering from a severe loss of blood. A helicopter came in and evacuated Rgr Bajau. After which Cpl Abdul Rahman and Rgr Ali took Captain Ariffin's group to the place of battle. On this journey they did not follow their initial route, They followed a different direction, in the event the enemy was still around to surprise them. They were hoping to destroy the enemy by surprising them instead. This too was to prevent them running into a well defended enemy location. Even as they tried avoiding running into the enemy, they made conatct with th enemy. They were fired upon by the enemy, there was an intense exchange of fire. The day was getting dark, therefore Captain Ariffin ordered all of them, to go into an all round defence position, as it would be too risky to conduct an assault in unfavourable light conditions. If at all they were to do battle, it would be the following day. The Enemy had withdrawn, therefore, Captain Ariffin on the third day after the battle ordered them to look for the body of Captain Chandran and Rgr Abang Bolhi, whose location and his state was still vague. The Platoon was broken up into smaller units and sent in all directions to look for them. They repeatedly shouted the name of Abang Bolhi. At around 0900 hours in the morning they heard a very faint reply in the silence of the jungle, "I am here, I am here". He was found in a very weak state. There were maggots in his wounds. This was good news indeed for Cpl Abdul Rahman who felt very guilty and responsible for Rgr Abang Bolhi. He gave his praises to God for answering his prayers. Not long after that the body of Captain Chandran was discovered. Rgr Abang Bolhi and the body of the Captain were carried to a nearby hill, located not far from the enemy camp. Rgr Abang Bolhi and the body of Captain Chandran were winched out of the area after which they were flown to the Ipoh General Hospital. After that, they conducted a search on the Enemy Camp. It was very well constructed, located on a strategic location, dominating all approaches to it. It was constructed on a small hill, on the slope of a ridge, not easily detected with a very narrow approach to it. It would have been very difficult to detect, as sometimes hunters and soldiers always used the easier route by following a ridge. To reach the Enemy camp one had to scale a very steep incline. It would have been very difficult to conduct an attack. It would have taken at least a Battalion to successfully conduct an assault. There were many tracks and trails out of the camp, left by the Enemy. It was a large camp which could accomodate around 60 men. The camp had communication trenches to enable the Enemy to move around without being exposed to outsiders by sight or fire. The communication trenches were 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep, connecting their fighting trenches.The communication trenches were dug in the direction that would be the probable approach of an attacking force. Logs were used to reinforce the parapets of the fire trenches. The sleeping accomodation of the Enemy was dug into the ground. It was constructed to withstand aerial and artillery bombardments, unless of course, there was direct hit. They constructed a piping system, using bamboo to bring water to their camp, having a continous supply of clean water. They left behind their supplies of "belachan" (prawn paste) and salted fish in their haste, fleeing. From these observations it was assessed that the camp was not a temporary camp but a permanent camp which was being actively used. Ranger Abang Bolhi relates his story :"I prayed to God to keep death away from me. I also prayed that there be heavy downpour to wash away the blood trails left by me, so that the enemy would not be able to detect me. God, granted this request by a heavy downpour. I am grateful for this. I lost my strenght to move due to the gunshot wounds. As I was not able to move, not hearing the voices of my comrades anymore, I assumed all of them were dead killed by the Enemy. I decided to rest there by sleeping, in my weakened state. Before I closed my eyes to sleep, I recalled Captain Chandran saying if anything bad happens, to use the river as a guide to head for Chemor. I decided to follow his advise the following morning. After getting up on the 14th June, I observed my surroundings, I had lost alot of blood. I had to look for the river mentioned by my Commander. I was very weak, I moved very slowly, to avoid a heavy loss of blood, as the blood flow could not be stemmed. The blood flow was from my chest, behind my arm pit and the palm of my hand. Sometimes I crawled. I managed to reach a very small tributary, which flowed into the river mentioned by Captain Chandran. Once I reached the stream I wet my "good morning" towel to clean off some of the blood. As I was late in cleaning my wounds, flies and little bees had visited my wounds. They had laid eggs in my wounds. As I tried cleaning the wounds at the back, I discovered that the wounds were infested with maggots. I had a field dressing, could not do much as I was injured in both the hands, I did not have the strength. Whilst I was cleaning the wounds I saw a small cave in front of me. I decided to spend the night in that cave. " At exactly 1845 hours, he observed his watch which was a "Rado", he saw 7 Communist Terrorists fully armed and equipped enter the cave. "My heart gave a leap and I let out a stifled cry of "God". I thought of throwing a grenade into the cave, I was not capable to toss the greande that far, I realised that, after thinking about it. I was too weak. The other reason was my grenade was coated with blood and had been soaked with water, the chances of exploding might not be a hundred percent. I then thought of opening fire, then I was too weak. Anyway I checked the rounds in my magazine and cocked my sub machine gun and decided to fight it out if I was discovered. I stayed awake and alert with bouts of tiredness and dizziness until the morning. At 0500 hours the Enemy came out of the cave and left the area. On the 15th June, even though I had not eaten for two days except drinking water I felt my strength return. I was wondering whether to head for the river, my guide to safety. My spirits returned, I knew I would not die. I decided I would not follow the river to head for Chemor, I climbed up the hill where I spent the previous night. I reached the spot where I had slept. I heard someone calling out, I knew it was search party, I yelled out to them with all the strength I could muster, "Heelppppp". The returning voice asked me to identify myself. I replied by shouting out my name, deceiving myself that it was a shout, it was a very weak voice of mine which said, Ranger Abang Bolhi, 4th Rangers", whilst slowly moving toward the voices. I made it to the boys from B Company, 4th Rangers, a small group which was commanded by Cpl Morni. I was carried by them uphill where they set me down, brewed hot tea and gave me a can of pineapples. After awhile I was taken to an LP, where I was winched out by a helicopter. After spending time in a Hospital in the town of Ipoh, I was taken to Camp Terendak to recuperate at the Armed Forces Hospital there. I was treated and rehabilitated there for 6 months. " This is Cpl Osman's story : "We were already at the location, below the hill, when the firing started, as ordered by Captain Chandran. We thought that the firing was a signal by Captain Chandran to signal the start of the attack on the Enemy location. Once the firing started we started moving closer to the foothill. We could not assault due to the steep incline of the hill, the superior strength, devastating firepower and the strategic location of the Enemy. The Enemy had started directing fire upon us. The Enemy could not effectively engage us as they were too high up. The bullets passed above us. We moved into better cover position and returned fire. After that I and 2Lt Donald who had joined up with me decided to relocate. To enable this relocation I released two round from the M79, I took from Ranger Zainal. This enabled 2Lt Donald to relocate. After which 2Lt Donald and his group brought fire to bear on the Enemy, enabling Rgr Zainal and me to relocate. At around 1800 hours, we went up onto the slope of the hill to the location, behind the enemy engaging Captain Chandran and his group. That location we assumed would be the withdrawal route of the Enemy. We made a linear ambush, disappointingly the Enemy did not use that route. The following morning, we met up with a group, who were reinforcements from 4th Rangers, with the news that Captain Chandran had fallen." Captain Mohan Chandran a/l Velaythan was the son of Seremban, Negri Sembilan and a son of Malaysia. He was awarded the "Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa", posthumously by his Majesty the King, for his actions which were beyond the call of duty in the highest traditions of the Ranger Corps. He was killed in action aged 24 years old in the prime of his life, so that Malaysians of all walks of life did not end up living under the yoke of communism. He was the role model for many a Ranger Officer. The valour award was received by his father. Cpl Osman and Ranger Bajau were awarded the "Pingat Gagah Berani" for valour. From the onset of the fire fight Ranger Bajau displayed his grit and determination to destroy the enemy by exchanging his Sterling sub machine gun (9mm) for a Light Machine Gun (7.62mm). He along with Captain Chandran and others exchanged fire with the enemy.When the time came to assault the heavily defended enemy position he did not hesitate to follow his leader during the assault. Ranger Abang Bolhi was awarded the "Mentioned In Despatches (KPK)". Captain Chandran was born on 15th May 1947 and the youngest in a family of 4. His mother passed away whilst he was still only a year old. His dad did remarry. He was raised and brought up by his grandmother, Madam T. Athyletchumi in Kuala Lumpur. He used to visit his step mother frequently, they did become close. His step mum loved him as her own. He received his early education in Kuala Lumpur until Form 5, where he got a grade 2 for his MCE. He started his career as a Regular Cadet on the 11th July 1965. He graduated from Port Sea He was commissioned as a 2Lt Lieutenant into the 4th Battalion Ranger Regiment on the 11 June 1966. His bravery and courage always astounded his brother Officers and his much loved men. He used to be a physical fitness fanatic. He had his men dig pits and wrestled with them in the wet and muddy pits. They were to throw out their opponents from the pits. Whoever left behind was the winner. He and his men had great fun together, he loved being with his men. On operations he used to visit his sub-units on his own in the jungle, which were distances apart. Sometimes he took his batman along visiting his platoons and sections, which lay scattered in the operational area. To move alone in the jungle, where the enemy actively operated, took alot of courage. Cpl Osman bin Sharif was selected to participate in the operation. He was from the 3rd Reconnaisance Regiment. He was directed to follow 2Lt Donald's group. The reason he was commanding a Ranger Section, was that the original Ranger Section Commander fell ill and he was tasked to act as one. Cpl Osman was born in Kampong Legong Ulu Kota, Negri Sembilan. He was the eldest of 7 children in the family. He was born on the 26th March 1941. His father's name was Sharif bin Hasan and his mum's name was Jamaah bte Ludan. He received his early education in the Melayu Legong Ulu Primary School until Standard 6. When he was a teenager he worked as a contract labourer in Singapore, after which as an estate labourer in Legong. He started his Military career on the 15th April 1961. The Military life to him was easy, as he had faced greater hardship when he was a labourer. As he showed great potential he was selected to become an instructor at the Recruit Training Center in Port Dickson. After 5 years as an instructor where he held the rank of a Corporal, he was transferred to the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment in Port Dickson. His Squadron was responsible for the formation of the 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment in Camp Ramilies in Ipoh in 1970. After that he continued serving with 3rd Recce. He finished his career with the rank of a Warrant Officer 1, becoming a Regimental Sergeant Major. He also was an instructor at the Royal Military College in Sungei Besi. He served the nation for 24 years. He is now in a Felda Scheme (agricultural scheme) in Palong Lapan in Gemas. 929223 Ranger Bajau anak Ladi is an Iban, who was born in Kampong Sebemban, Lundu, Sarawak on the 20th March 1947. He began his career in the Military in 1966. He was abandoned by his parents when he was still a little kid. He was raised up by his elder brother and had the opportunity for education until Standard 6 only, at the Bumiputera Lundu School. Before he joined the Army he worked as a waiter for the British Army in the Lundu Camp. He joined the Army after his stint as a waiter. After his completion of recruit training he joined Platoon 8. C Company 4th Rangers in Ipoh, after which they moved to Serian in Sarawak. When the troubles of May 13th 1969 broke out he was assigned in the Kual Kurau area in Perak. He was involved in the dispersion of rioters who tried to storm the Police Station in Kuala Kurau. Rgr Bajau was a member of the elite Tiger Platoon of 4th Rangers(Unit Combat Intelligence Squad). He ended his career on the 25th June 1976 after serving for ten years with the rank of a Lance Corporal.
The Legendary Captain Ropee Adman Yahayauddin (12472)
Prepared to jump Ranger School USA
Though Captain Ropee Adman Yahayauddin was a small sized officer, do not be deceived he had the heart of a lion. As I was in another company, I did not serve under Ropee, so beyond what I have mentioned, I am not able to add anything more. Great man to have in a fight on you side! - Lt Col Baldev Singh (Retired)
This person was a legend in 1st Rangers, 3rd Rangers, 4th Rangers, 7 Rangers, 8 Rangers and in the 1st Special Forces Regiment. You can never find a character as colorful as him. His name was always mispronounced as Ropee Adnan, they confused the Adman with Adnan. He served as Platoon Commander in 1st Rangers, 3rd Rangers and Assault Pioneer Platoon Commander with 7th Rangers .
With his Keputusan Perutusan Keberanian (Mentioned in Dispatches - Gold Feathers) and his PJM
Infantry School USA
He was also a Troop Commander in the 1st Special Forces Regiment. Later he served as a Company Commander in 7th Rangers and 8th Rangers. He served from 20th February 1965 until 4th August 1975. He was commissioned on the 5th August 1965. He attended Weapons Course in 1965, Tactics Course in 1965, Air Combat Officer at RAAF Butterworth in 1966, Assault Pioneer Course in 1967, Airborne, Pathfinder and Ranger Course in Fort Benning, USA in 1968 and his SD Course in Lateda 1973.
Lt Col Yap Chok Sang (Retired) (Currently residing in Melbourne Australia) : "He is an ex commando Malaysian Special Services Unit. We were in 4th Rangers, Chong Thean Bok was the CO. He is worth more than 2 Pingat Gagah Berani's. You should ask for exclusive rights to write his exploits. a colourful character, I attended his wedding when 2Lt Ngo Kim Seng was his best man, love to see him. Also his contact (firefight) in Lundu, in an attack on a Communist Terrorist Camp when he failed in an attempt to capture the enemy sentry".
Lt Col Baldev Singh : "He was OC C coy, I was Pl commander in A Coy 7 Rgrs, 1971-1974. My OC was Sabdin Ghani. I know of the contact where Ropee and 2nd Lt Zulkifli Abdul Rahman (Reg 14, my junior, later CO 7RRD), were to investigate a sighting in Titiakah, some 15 kms from Lundu and killed 2 CTs, including the commander of the group.
Ropee and Zul crawled through thick belukar to the CT's location and were surprised by a clearing patrol and a fire fight ensued, and the 2 CTs were killed while the rest bolted. The reporting back to BN HQ was poor, due to heavy atmospheric interference and I was tasked to set up a relay station to facilitate communications. That is how and why I know of this contact. We were using the SLR then and the CT's arms and thighs were literally split in 2 pieces".
Captain Ropee and I crawled through the undergrowth, my heart was thudding as we were closing up on the enemy, we spotted the enemy, Captain Ropee aimed at the enemy and shot the enemy, he asked me to take the shot on the second enemy. The rest is history, he was one of the best training officers, he used live rounds on his soldiers, the soldiers hugged the ground and crawled for dear life as the rounds fell very close. His training always involved realism, he used to say, "the way we train is the way we are going to fight!" Sadly he served for only ten years, for his own reasons he left the service.
LAST year, Google catapulted Sybil Kathigasu into the spotlight by
dedicating a doodle to the wartime nurse on her 117th birthday, which
fell on Sept 3. As a result, Sybil’s name became one of the most trending searches of
that week and with it, her epic display of courage gained global
attention. Sybil’s refusal to yield to Japanese soldiers who tortured her for
information on resistance fighters earned her the George Medal for
courage in 1948.
Time magazine, in 1948, referred to her as the “Edith of Malaya”
after Edith Cavell, a British nurse who was executed by a firing squad
for aiding the escape of allied soldiers during World War 1. Sybil and her husband, Dr Abdon Clement Kathigasu, operated a clinic
in the small town of Papan, on the outskirts of Ipoh, Perak, where they
covertly supplied medicine, and provided medical services and refuge to
resistance fighters for years until their capture in 1943.
The couple also surreptitiously shared information gleaned from BBC broadcasts on banned shortwave radio sets. Sybil’s lips were sealed even when Japanese soldiers hung her
7-year-old daughter, Dawn, from a tree with her hands bound and a rope
tied around her chest with burning coal placed under her.
But Google’s doodle on Sybil might be the only highlight of what she
is remembered for, as the history syllabus in public schools continued
to remain oblivious to her contributions nearly 70 years after her
death. The National Professors Council’s head of the history, heritage and
socio-culture cluster Professor Datuk Dr Teo Kok Seong said it was high
time that History textbooks were reviewed to include Sybil.
He said the review could be easily done by researching her memoir, No Dram of Mercy, as part of the five-yearly schedule for updates and it would not take much time or funds. “It’s a shame that she is not mentioned in textbooks. “(The late) Sybil’s contribution is big and the least she deserves is an unvarnished account of her deeds.”
“Sybil is also one of the many unsung heroes of our history. There
are also underrated figures, such as Yap Ah Loy, who is widely regarded
by many as one of the founding fathers of Kuala Lumpur, but is barely
mentioned beyond a paragraph in textbooks,” added Teo. He said Sybil, being a woman of minority descent, could also become
the poster girl to push for a more balanced representation of all races
in the Malaysian historical narrative.
“The Education Ministry should strive to strike a better balance in the representation of minorities by doing a review. “It will also bring change to the historical narrative,” said Teo. He further said the review should be done within the 1Malaysia framework to serve as an impetus to engineer social change. Teo said history advocates could also open up social media for
discussions on the subject, using it as a platform to pitch who students
should learn about.
“Malaysians can put up petitions and vote for icons like Sybil to be
included and suggest names. Political will can also swing in favour of
causes like these if there are strong social media campaigns,” he added. Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul
Rahim said the “democratic” review would be a vital step in making the
subject less snooze-worthy.
She said people would be excitedly debating and pitching ideas on
figures and events they felt the next generation needed to know about. “Frankly I think all students have had an overdose of Para-meswara
and the old Malay sultanate,” said Azimah, referring to the founder of
Melaka. “History is not dead or stagnant. The fact that they can review
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics means that they should
be doing it for this subject.”
“(In this case), acknowledging Sybil in the syllabus sends a good
message to students that credit will be given where it’s due in Malaysia
and that all races helped build the nation,” she added. Azimah said honouring Sybil by including her in the books would also
mark a milestone for women as they were largely sidelined in historical
accounts on the country’s struggle for independence.
She said alongside Sybil, there were many icons, such as Tan Sri P.
Ramlee and Genting founder Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, and issues, such as
mass murders during World War 2 and concentration camps run by the
Japanese, that deserved to be documented in textbooks. Badan Warisan Malaysia president Elizabeth Cardosa said Sybil’s
fortitude against the circumstances of the Japanese Occupation, her
subsequent incarceration and torture should be recounted on every
“There should be no excuse of not having enough information to include Sybil in the annals of Malaysian history,” she said. She added that documentation available included Sybil’s memoir and
oral histories. Her old shophouse in Papan, which is now a museum
dedicated to her, also served as a valuable resource. “The question of its inclusion in our national history is one of how it fits into the official national historical narrative.”
Former history teacher Chan Cheng Huat said while the final say on
including historical figures in the syllabus rested with the Education
Ministry, social media campaigns could tip the scales. “If the campaign works, then the whole syllabus should be reviewed
after weighing the contributions of Sybil or anyone society feels
“There is no need to hire external consultants; it has the resources
to do so in the Curriculum Development Division and it can always run
them through experts such as Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim
for an assessment,” said the National Union of the Teaching Profession
executive council member.
Remembering a Warrior of Seventh Rangers - Captain Tong Lye Heng
Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.
Out of nowhere, a gunshot came from a distance and hit Captain Tong’s left hip.
“I would come to learn later after the incident from my sentry that the enemy was already walking to a claymore mine, but since it was installed improperly, it did not explode," he recounted being shot by a Communist insurgent.
Tong Lye Heng, now a 71-year-old army veteran was reliving the moment when he was fighting the communists in the dense forests of Grik, Perak during the 1970s and nearly lost his life defending his country.
Now a proud member of the newly formed Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans (MACVA), Captain Tong's story is but one of the thousands of wounded and fallen unsung heroes who have put our nation's security first ahead of their personal life.
Throughout the country’s 60 years of independence, the country has survived through many threats thanks to the sacrifices of our warriors, such as the communist insurgency during the 1970s, the Konfrontasi with Indonesia and recently, the invasion of Lahad Datu by the self-styled Sulu Sultanate challenging Malaysian sovereignty over Sabah.
Captain Tong's discharge papers.
In conjunction with Warrior's Day, Malaysian Digest is putting the spotlight on our brave soldiers have been wounded and to honour those who lost their lives in the line of duty throughout the country’s history.
Veteran Shares His Experience Fighting The Communist During The Emergency
Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.Cpt Tong Lye Heng (left), army veteran and Lt Col Wong Ah Jit, secretary of MACVA.
trousers Captain Tong wore when he was shot on 10 June 1971. The hole
in the right is where the bullet hit him in the hip, while the stains
near the hole are blood stains from the wound.
“I was assigned as the leader for 7th Ranger Platoon in the Sungai Petani camp. The 26 soldiers in that platoon were newly assigned to me at that time, so I did not know them very well.
“The boys who I was familiar with, whom I spent three months in the jungle, were assigned to other posts,” recalled Captain Tong,” who joined the army on 6th March 1969.
On 10th June 1971, his battalion established a base in the forest, and has placed claymore mines and other defenses around the outside perimeter of their base.
After his boys has finished placing the mines and gun placements, Captain Tong decided to conduct some reconnaissance at the south of the base to check whether his boys did them perfectly.
“My sentry actually spotted the enemy much earlier, before the enemy shot me, and he tried to shoot him first with his light machine gun. However, he was panicking, and could not realise that his safety catch was on the ‘Safe’ position and not in ‘Rapid Fire’ or ‘Automatic’ position,” the captain shared his brush with death with Malaysian Digest.
Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petan
A safety catch is a mechanism in all guns that is designed to prevent accidental discharge of the bullets. When a safety catch is put in the ‘Safe’ position, a gun cannot shoot.
He said he did not know that the soldier he picked as a sentry was an inexperienced soldier, since he was not familiar with the new platoon. Had it been if he was with his old platoon, he would know who would be more suited for sentry and other roles.
“There were two enemy soldiers, one of them saw me first and immediately shot me.
The trousers Captain Tong wore when he was shot on 10 June 1971. The hole in the right is where the bullet hit him in the hip, while the stains near the hole are blood stains from the wound.
“We only saw two soldiers, but in the thick of the forest, we could not know if there were more of them behind the two soldiers,” he recalled. The communists often send groups of two soldiers as scouting parties to scout the area before sending in the main fighting force.
Captain Tong’s soldiers immediately returned fire and ordered artillery strikes to hit the area around the enemies, while his second-in-command contacted the nearby headquarters and asked for a helicopter to lift the captain out of the forest.
Two hours later, the Nuri helicopter arrived but received heavy fire from the communists. However, an army medic managed to rappel down to temporarily treat Captain Tong, before the helicopter retreated.
“The medic gave me shots of morphine and IV, and that helped save my life,” he said.
After some time, the Nuri helicopter returned to the scene and this time an Alouette helicopter followed as well, to provide covering fire while Captain Tong was being rescued.
“The whole thing was reminiscent to that of the Vietnam War,” said Captain Tong.
He was lifted to Klian Intan and then to a hospital in Penang. He was immediately taken to an operating theatre for an operation. According to the doctor, the bullet missed his spine by half of an inch.
Captain Tong was treated at the Penang Hospital for three months, and then spent a month at the Terendak camp. Four months after he was shot, he returned to the Sungai Petani headquarters to resume his duty.
However, he was not assigned to the frontlines and instead handled the administration and tactics of the war effort.
“Later on, I was assigned as an intelligence officer and I helped devise an operation to strike the communists in Gunung Bongsu.
“We managed to kill some communists in that operation,” recalled the captain, who managed to use that chance to strike back at the enemy who almost took his life from that operation.
Captain Tong did not stay long in the army, and was honourably discharged on 9th October 1976. His disciplined life in the army has taught him incredible lessons that have helped him adapt to the civilian life.
Captain Tong's discharge papers. Captain Tong's discharge papers.
“After the army, I joined the plantation industry as a manager. When I was in the army, I had valuable lessons in team management as a captain and head of a platoon.
“That experience translates perfectly to managing a plantation,” he said. After 18 years in the plantation industry he switched places to work in the cargo shipping sector. Now, he runs his own cargo shipping company.
Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petani.Cpt Tong (right) during a training session in Sungai Petani.