Veteran policeman remembers Malays and non-Malays who fought the communists

IPOH: A former senior police officer who served during the communist insurgency said his team of Malay and non-Malay personnel fought together in defending the country.

According to Datuk R. Thambipillay, 88, who retired as Ipoh Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief in October 1984, there were no fatalities among his men, but he knows of non-Malay officers who were killed or wounded during operations.

"We have to take note of all races who were involved in the war," said Thambipillay, who joined the police force in 1953.

Before his stint, he had joined as an auxiliary policeman and worked as a clerk/interpreter in the police force.

He was commenting on the statement by the chairman of Ummah, an umbrella group for Muslim organisations, Ismail Mina Ahmad, who stated in a convention recently that only the Malays fought the British, Japanese and communists.

Thambipillay recalled the shooting of former Perak police chief Tan Sri Khoo Chong Kong at a traffic light junction at Jalan Raja Musa Aziz and Fair Park by two Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) members on a motorcycle on Nov 13, 1975.

They were later tried in court and hanged for the murder of the officer.

Thambipillay described Khoo as an intelligent officer who "knew the CPM organisation and their strategies well."

His sacrifices had not gone unnoticed, as the government named a road after him in the city.

According to Thambipillay, many non-Malays joined the armed forces, police and auxiliary teams, like Area Security Units and home guards as special police constables.

Thambipillay, who had served in communist hot spots like Sungai Siput, Kuala Kubu Baru, Sarawak (Rascom) and the Thai-Malaysia border said many non-Malay personnel received awards for their courage and bravery.

Meanwhile, in Kota Kinabalu, eight non-Malay heroes were given recognition for their sacrifices for the nation during the Japanese Occupation.

Their names were the latest to be inscribed on a plaque for fallen heroes at the Petagas World War 2 Memorial Park in Kota Kinablu today, joining 176 others.

The honoured heros were Lim Hock Beng, Mohinder Singh Harnam Singh Kalsi, Lothar Wong Manjaji, Vitalianus Joseph Lim @ Ubing, Paul Lee Fook Onn @ Paul Lee Onn, Simon Thien, Bung Ah Tee @ Stephen Pan Tet Liong and Chong Pin Sin.