Last Saturday, 26 June 2010, hubby n me attended the Royal Military College (RMC) OLD PUTERA ASSOCIATION (OPA) Annual Dinner 2010 at Shangrila Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Most of hubby’s friends from RMC class of 1973 were there. It was so exciting because some of them he had not seen for many years.
Every year the OPA will have a motto for this event and the motto for this year was “OPA Salutes Our Heroes”… meaning this year's event was dedicated to those Old Puteras (OP) that were awarded gallantary recognition for their bravery by His Majesty the Yang Dipertuan Agong.
There were 7 recipients in the history of OPA. 3 received the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) award which by the order of precedence is higher than the award of "Tunship". And the other 4 received the Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB), which is the second highest award for bravery.
The main criteria for these two awards, the SP and the PGB, are for the act in the face of enemy action to be of “conspiciuous gallantry and intrepidity beyond and above the call of duty and at the risk of oneself”. Soldiers and policemen take an oath to defend this nation even if it means sacrificing themselves in the process.
Therefore merely dying for the nation would not entitle one to automatically being recommended or awarded these awards, since death is part of the occupational hazard faced by soldiers and policemen in the course of executing their duties. It should be an act of extreme bravery which may result in the ultimate sacrifice as in the case of the SP where, more often than not, awards were posthumous. The key phrase here is “above and beyond the call of duty” and you will know what its really means.
I like to share with all viewers how these OPs performed above and beyond the call of duty for them to be awarded with this recognition.
The award of Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa
OP Mohan Chandran A/L Velayuthan (Postumous), Intake 1964-1966 ex-boy from F Company of Royal Military College, served in Royal Ranger Regiment after graduated from The Royal Military College of Australia Portsea in 1968. He is a Captain/Unit Commander in the 4th Battalion Royal Ranger Regiment. “HE TOOK ON AN ENEMY THREE TIMES LARGER THAN HIS OWN UNIT” on 13th of June 1971, Korbu Forest, Chemor, Perak. He personally killed 4 communist terrorist and injured a few others before bullets slammed into his body. After action report stated that he continued firing whilst being injured before succumbing to the mortal wounds. He died at the prime of his youth aged 24 years.
OP Hamid Bin Awang ex-boy from A Company, Intake 1964-1967 of Royal military College. He was selected for Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and commissioned into the 2nd Battalion Royal Malay Regiment in 1968. “FOR HIM WAR WAS UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL” on 7th of April 1973, Gunong Pueh, Lundu, Sarawak. He attacked and rushes into the communist terrorist camp and risking his life by engaging the enemy in a brutal hand to hand combat before the enemy tried to shoot down his man. With his left hand and body he clutched the enemy’s weapon and struck the enemy’s head with the grenade launcher, the force of the swing neutralized the enemy but dislocated his right wrist in the process. His company scored 3 kills and captured 3 enemy weapons, as well as ammunition and assorted equipment and suffered one Killed In Action. The only one who still alive until now.
OP Jalil Bin Ibrahim (Postumous), was an ex-boy from A Company, Intake 1964-1966. A brilliant student in Boys Wing, Royal Military College and graduated from University of Christchurch New Zealand 1969-1971 majoring in accountancy. “HE KNEW THE DANGER YET CONTINUED TO PERFORM HIS DUTY” and he was killed in Hong Kong in July 1983 while investigating a case involving the fraudulent award of RM2.5 billion in loans of Bumiputra Finance Berhad to the Carrian Group. To date he is the only civilian to receive the award.
The Award Of Panglima Gagah Berani
OP Neville Siebel joined Blienheim Company, Federation Military College(before change to Royal Military College), Intake 1956-1957. Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Federation Reconnaissance Regiment,(Royal Armoured Regiment),one of the first batch of officer deployed under the United Nation to served in Congo as Malaysian Special Forces contigent.”HE KEPT HIS COOL AGAINST DAUNTING ODDS”,on 11th of November 1961 Kundu Republic Of Congo,he was the troop commander of the Ferret Scout Car in Congo. When a group of Congolese rebels encircled the Malaysian Army officer’s mess which was hosting 13 Italian Airforce officers, he challenged the rebels with his Ferret Scout Car and neutralized them with its main gun.
OP Lee Ah Pow joined Inkerman Company Federation Military College Intake 1953-1956. And commissioned into the Federation Reconnaissance Regiment in 1958. “HE STARED AT DEATH AND TRIUMPHED”,on 12th of September 1962 Elizabethville, Republic of Congo. Lt Lee Ah Pow whilst serving under United Nations in Congo rescued 16 soldiers from the Indian Army 2nd Battalion 5th Gurkha Regiment from certain massacre by the Katanagense rebels. When he and the Katanagense rebel leader were eyeball to eyeball, it was the latter who blinked and fired first which forced Lt Lee Ah Pow to return accurate and sustaining fire. His citation’s was personally written by the Indian Army Brigade Commander and was a shining example of Malaysian Armed Forces Officers Corps being held in high esteemed by foreign nations.
OP Kamaruddin Mohd Jamal joined A company, Boys Wing, Federation Military College Intake 1958-1960. He joined Intake 5 of the Cadet Wing in 1961 and commissioned into the Battalion Royal Malay Regiment, the unit his father served before retiring.”HE TOOK ON THE CRACK INDONESIAN MARINES AND LITERALLY BLEW THEIR HEADS OFF”, when he was tasked with reconnoitering an area where 2 suspected Indonesian soldiers were spotted during 1963-1965 Indonesian Confrontation in Pontian Johor. Based on firefight the soldiers from Indonesian Kor Marinir was gauged to be around 15 men while 2nd Lt Kamaruddin’s men only 5. By the end of the fire fight his unit killed 4 enemy marines and suffered one Killed In Action.
OP Mohd Halim Khalid joined A Company, boys Wing, Royal Military College Intake 1979-1980. He was commissioned into the Royal Malay Regiment in 1982. Now is Colonel in Malaysian Army attached to Armed Forces Command as the Director of Defense Training and Operations. “JUSTICE WAS SAVED BY THE COURAGE OF THIS MAN” on 27th of September 1993 Mogadishu, Somalia. Capt Halim whilst serving under United Nation Operation in Somalia 11(UNOSOM 11) as part of Malaysian Batallion (MALBATT) distinguished himself during an operation to rescue trapped and besieged judiciary officials of UNOSOM 11 by militants loyal to Farah Aideed who attacked the court complex.
From left, Puan Rashidah (w/o OP Ayub Shaharum), myself and Puan Nani (w/o OP Yaacob Ali)
From right, OP Yaacob Ali, OP Hamzah Mustafa and wife Puan Nadiah
From left, OP Md Alwi Che Ahmad (YB ADUN Ketereh, Dato') n OP Hasnor Yahya