Ex-army man proud of fighting off communists for the country

22 Aug 2019 / 16:21 H.

KOTA BARU: Every year come August, Ab Rahman Yaacob, 65, will always look around him with pride to see how the country is thriving as Merdeka Day draws near.

The 65-year-old war veteran’s pride is well deserved as he played a direct role in defending the country‘s independence from the clutches of the communists back in 1976.

Memories of non-stop gunshots and the death of a fellow soldier in an operation in Sadao Thailand, in 1976, are some of the images imprinted in his mind.

Ab Rahman, a retired army sergeant, had served in the Royal Ranger Regiment (RRD) for 20 years and now resides in Kampung Paloh Rambai, Ketereh.

Telling Bernama about the operation dubbed Op Toya Musnah recently, the father of four said that his platoon of 20 soldiers was directed to venture into Bukit Sadao to track communist terrorists.

“We received command to surround and attack the area, where 200 communists were estimated to be hiding,” he said when met at Ketereh, here today.

Ab Rahman said the nightmare started on the first day of the operation, when his troop lost one member to a booby trap which ripped his jaw off his face.

“The next day, our platoon was ordered to continue patrolling the area, and there we arrested five uniformed female communist terrorists. However, we did not harm them for fear that they could be pregnant.

Those arrested were taken out of the jungle while the rest were suspected to have fled the area,” he said.

On the third day of the operation, the platoon was directed to continue patrolling the area around the communist camp.

“While on patrol, we came across a garden full of papaya and banana trees laden with ripe fruits.

“Looking back, I think it was a tactic used by the communist, as we were ambushed while we took a break to pick the fruits to fill up our empty stomach and to rest our exhausted bodies,” he said.

After 15 minutes of being under rapid fire, his troop was rescued by a helicopter and taken to the Alor Setar Hospital.

In the attack, Ab Rahman also took a bullet in his right leg and was admitted in the hospital for more than two months.

“I can still feel the effect from the bullet wound until now with my right leg being constantly sore.

“Although I have lived with the pain for so long, I am proud to have served my beloved country and to have protected its peace and sovereignty,” he said.

In November 1978, he was transferred to serve as a clerk with Infantry Battalion 105 of the Territorial Army Regiment which managed Vietnamese Refugees who fled to Malaysia, before going for his compulsory retirement with his final post as a chief clerk in the same battalion in 1993. — Bernama

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