Yesterday, April 17th 2010, I was invited to attend a medal presentation to 50 recipients of former officers of the Royal Malay Regiment, held at the Royal Malay Regiment Club House. The presentation was made by Defence Minister, YB Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi representing the King and government of Malaysia.
The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (Malaysia Service Medal) as it is called was created in 2004, and is to award British and Commonwealth forces (including the Gurkhas) who served in this country during the Malayan Emergency and the Malaysian-Indonesian Confrontation period. The award is in recognition of their “distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice or loyalty” in contributing to the freedom of independence of Malaya and subsequently Malaysia. This medal is also awarded to officers of the Malaysian Armed Forces who had served during the aforesaid period.
The highest British officer to have received the medal is Field Marshall Lord Bramall who was the British Chief of Defence Forces prior to his retirement in 1985. FM Lord Bramall served in Malaysia in 1965 i.e. during the Malaysia-Indonesia Confrontation as the Commanding Officer 2nd Royal Green Jacket.
At the medal presentation ceremony, the highest and oldest former Royal Malay Regiment officer to receive the medal is Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail who is presently in his 80’s; failing in health but never in spirit. Another recipient and veteran is Major Abdul Manan who was among the first army officer to be schooled at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and later, at the British Staff College.
Other notable recipient includes Gen Tan Sri Yacob (Jack) Mat Zain, Gen Tan Sri Borhan (Commando) Ahmad, Gen Tan Sri Ghazali (Joe) and Gen Tan Sri Ghazali Mat Seth. My presence at the ceremony was made more memorable at having to meet many of my former bosses, and of particular interest to me are Col Dato Abdul Rahman (Rimau) Lassim, Lt Col Dato Zarazilah Ali, Lt Col Adnan Tajuddin and Maj Gen Dato Abd Kadir Nordin (a PGB recipient) and Maj Gen Dato Dahalan Sulaiman. These are the officers who were my source of inspiration that have guided me in my career, and have shown me examples of what an army officer ought to be.
During a speech by the Defence Minister, I was pleasantly surprised when he said that he is reviewing the granting of some form of monetary payment to recipients of gallantry awards other than recipients of the SP and PGB. I believe the minister was referring to recipients of the JPP, PTU and KPK, and if this is so, blogger Mej Nor Ibrahim RMAF (B) persistence has finally paid off. I personally wish to thank the Defence Minister for having being considerate and passionate to the appeals of Mej Nor Ibrahim, and when the official announcement is made, I know it will be a feather in the cap for the Defence Minister.
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