Risking Life And Limb For The Sake Of The Nation

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By Razali Pilus &Amanina Mohd Yusof
KUALA PILAH (Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia) Sept 12 (Bernama) -- Udin Mahmud is 84 this year but it is unlikely that he will ever forget his harrowing experience with the communists.

Sometimes the events would unfold in his mind as vividly as during the days he fought them, back when he was serving as Warrant Officer 1 in the Armed Forces.

He remembers being ambushed by the communists twice – in 1954 and in 1955 – both while serving in Pahang.

“The first time my platoon of 40-strong faced off with the communists was during an operation in Kampung Ulu Atok, Raub in Pahang.

“Getting stationed in Raub was akin to signing a death warrant because the area was a communist stronghold and as such, was considered a black area,” he recalled.

He said the platoon was in chaos after being ambushed by the communists upon entering the jungle area in the village.

“The communist opened fire on us,” he told Bernama in an interview here.

Udin and his platoon fired back, killing quite a number of them.

“I managed to kill several communists myself, but we lost a few of our men in the crossfire,” he recounted with sadness.

LIVES LOST

Born in Serting Ulu, Jempol, Udin said that the second ambush took place while he was preparing breakfast during an operation in Mengkuang, Bera in Pahang.

“Bullets suddenly rained on us. We quickly grabbed our guns and fired at them. At the time I felt a strong urge to ‘seek and destroy’ the communists and that urge fired me up and gave me courage.

“I did wonder if I was going to breathe my last breath then, but it seems that God has allowed me to live another day,” he said.

His group leader was gunned down that day. He recalled dragging the former, who was slowly dying, to a safe place and guiding him to utter the shahadah (testimony of faith for Muslims) before he died.

APPRECIATE OUR INDEPENDENCE

Udin, who currently resides in Kampung Seri Pelangai, Kuala Pilah, had once worked under the United Nations (UN) in Congo after the country won its independence.

Upon return from Congo, he was stationed in Pontian, Johor in 1965 during the confrontation between the Indonesian National Army (TNI) and Melayu Raya (Malaysia).

He concluded his 23 years of service with the army with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment which was based in the Wardieburn Camp, Kuala Lumpur in 1975.

“I have never regretted joining the security forces, despite what I have encountered. This is part of my contribution for my country

“The fact is the freedom and independence we enjoy today was built on the sacrifices or the servicemen who fought for the nation’s peace and sovereignty,” said Udin.

He hoped Malaysians, especially those from the younger generation, could appreciate the labour of love of the security forces who had risked their lives and limbs for the peace and security of their beloved motherland.

FOOD STOCK

Another member of the security forces who has had to face off with the communists was retired police sergeant Sahar Mohd Zin, 66.

Sahar had witnessed his best friend gunned down by communists during Op Paraku in Sibu, Sarawak on April 6, 1975. It was a date he vowed never to forget.

“I, along with my platoon, was assigned to assist other sections at the nearby rubber plantation near Sungai Stabau.

“The police patrol team had found a food dump the day prior, comprising three sacks of rice and other food supplies.

“That was an indication that the communists would return to the location for their food supply,” he told Bernama in an interview.

The commanding officer subsequently ordered his men to prepare for an ambush that night.

AMBUSHED

“A group of policeman was ordered to stand by the food dump location. My platoon and I were assigned to enter the operation area to assist the first group.

“While we were walking towards the location, we were ambushed by the communists who had been hiding behind the rubber trees,” he recounted.

Sahar saw his best friend shot in the forehead during the exchange of fire but had to carry on as the communists were relentless in their attack.

“We have no time to mourn our fallen friends because we were determined to eliminate the nation’s enemy,” he said.

He recalled a friend being shot after his gun malfunctioned and had to resort to using a machete to attack the communists.

Three policemen and two communists died in the ambush.

HARD TO DETECT

Sub-Inspector Zainuddin Abdullah, 66, meanwhile, remembered it being difficult to detect the communists because they often posed as the local villagers.

“One of the conflicts that I remember most happened on the evening of May 25, 1978. At the time we received a tip that there was a group of communists not far from our base in Ulu Naman, Sibu in Sarawak.

“Fifteen policeman had been asked to patrol the area and as we were passing by a black pepper farm, we encountered the communists,” he said.

In the 20-minute combat that ensued, two communist members died.

Although all of the men have now retired, they will forever carry the memories of the battles they fought for the sake of their nation. Every gunshot, every life lost and every enemy killed will be a reminder of what it costs to buy the peace and security that we enjoy today.

Translated by Sakina Mohamed

-- BERNAMA