Friday, September 9, 2011


This article is posted here with the kind permission of Lt Col Mohd Idris Hassan (Retired)

The battle of Bukit Kepong is a tale of guts and bravado displayed at its very best where men heavily outnumbered and outgunned, fought on to the very last knowing well that outcome was already determined.

It was our very own “Alamo”. It was 4.30 in the morning of February 23, 1950 when an estimated 180 communist terrorists (CTs) launched a cowardly attack on the Bukit Kepong police station in Johor, which was manned by a small group of policemen.

In the battle that lasted about five hours, the CTs killed 13 policemen, six Home Guards, three women and a child. Only four policemen escaped with serious injuries. That morning, it was not the number of policemen in the fight that counted rather it was the fight in them that really mattered.

As we celebrate our 54th Independence Anniversary, it’s time to reflect on the sacrifices of our security forces, which helped to make Malaysia a peaceful country.

If we are indeed a grateful nation, we will also not forget the sacrifices of the thousands of Britons, Gurkhas, Australians, Rhodesians, Fijians and New Zealanders who fought alongside us, to win this war against forces determined to impose their foreign ideology on our people.

On April 19, 1960, the then Yang Di Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman inbi Almarhum Tuanku Muhammed in his speech in Parliament said, “The debt which the people of this country owe to the security forces, both Malayans and the Commonwealth for their sustained and courageous effort over the 12 years of Emergency cannot be over emphasized.

Now Member of Parliament Mohammed Sabu has ruffled the feathers of Malaysians by its alleged remarks that those who attacked Bukit Kepong police station were heroes because they were freedom fighters, and not because they attacked the Malay policemen.

This alleged remark are in insult to not only all family members of these policemen but also all members of the Armed Forces, past and present that bore the full brunt of the atrocities committed by the CTs.

As advised by DAP Chairman and MP Karpal Singh, Mohammed Sabu should withdraw his remarks and apologise to all he had hurt.

As we laud the bravery of these Bukit Kepong heroes today, it’s time to reflect if as a nation we had played our part in ensuring the welfare of these policemen and if their families had been well taken care of, even if they were once serving under colonial rule.

It was reported in the NST of April 15, 2005, “Last Bukit Kepong hero dies”, that Sergeant Yusoff Rano 83, died a bitter man. He felt the country had forgotten him and regretted that the government did not give him and his comrades the recognition they deserved.

His son Nazri then 35, was quoted as saying the government did not value his father’s contributions. As far as I know, only one policeman was awarded the Colonial Police Medal (CPM) for gallantry by the British government.

Our country gained independence seven years later, yet these heroes and the families of those who perished did not receive any significant acknowledgement from the authorities.

In the case of Yusoff, all he had to show for his heroism was a medal Pingat Jasa Kebaktian from the Malacca government and that too, 48 years later. The then Deputy Home Minister visited the family to discuss the possibility of conferring Yusoff a posthumous Panglima Gagah Berani, the nation’s second highest award for gallantry.

The Malacca Chief Minister had also said the government would publish a book on Yusoff’s struggle during the Emergency and consider giving the royalties from the book to his family.

Why did the authorities wait for this ailing 83 year old to die before coming forward with offers of help? In addition, what about all his comrades who had passed on?

As far as I am aware, nothing has come out of these undertakings until today. It is like the Malay saying, “ seperti hangat hangat tahi ayam”, a lot of interest only at the beginning which soon fizzles out.

I appeal to the authorities to review the Bukit Kepong incident and consider posthumous awards of gallantry for all the deserving policemen and monetary rewards for all their immediate families.

With the awards, these gallant policemen should have their photographs in the gallery of heroes in the police museum in Kuala Lumpur alongside other national police heroes.



bob villa said...

Alhamdullihah, a leader who defend and fight for his men and the the absences of just recognition of their sacrifice.

P.s Dato, my apologies for my earlier comments on this matter that may have offended or hurt your feelings and your dignity.

TAG said...

Dear Kol Idris

Words have been used and will continue to be used as an offensive weapon on one's enemy by way of propaganda by twisting and spinning them to one's advantage. The target of the propaganda are the masses whose support are critical to win the 'war'.
The ones who took up arms against the British Colonialists were either the Communists or they were true blue freedom fighters like Mat Indera. Mat Sabu said Mat Indera was a freedom fighter and a hero. Susah benar ke nak faham! unless you chose to perpetuate UMNO's propaganda because of your political leanings. If so taapa lah.Then I am like you except we are in different camps.
You have like me, lost our rights to fade away.
Bukit Kepong is Bukit Kepong. It pales in comparison with the Alamo. Next somebody might equate Bukit Kepong with Dien Bien Phu or Khe Sanh. We are good with dramas and making mountains out of molehills. That is why our TVs are littered with these cheap malay dramas that draw on our emotions of hate, love and tears and not forgetting patriotism. Yeecch!
Dien Bien Phu is a French affair, Khe Sanh is an American affair and Bukit Kepong is a British affair!
Hey we are staff college trained man. Cant we understand this basic element of Military History.
It is this deliberate attempt to distort military history in the name of politics is what riles me up.
We got no business trying to glorify Bukit Kepong and honoring the dead with posthumous Malaysian gallantry awards. Bukit Kepong is a British Failure ( I did not say that the defenders did not fight with gallantry; they did and we should be proud of them but then that is something else). Kan bodoh tu if we want to agong the Mat Salleh's (British) failure.
Please leave history to what it is even if it hurts.Leave sentiments and emotions out of history. They dont gel and tend to distort the truth.
Hope you now understand why the British only award one CPM to one among the dead at Bukit Kepong.

Tabik Kol. Notwithstanding , I still regard you highly.

Malaysian said...

Regardless if Mat Indera did help speed up the process of independence or not, the Johor government or Mat Sabu should not recognize him as a hero. He killed innocent child, women and police. The policemen were just doing their job to uphold the law. Furthermore, we don't need to use force to seek independence. If Gandhi can do it peacefully than Mat Indera could have done it peacefully too. Though I am a supporter of Mat Sabu but I am shock by his statement. Yes, Mat Indera played a roll towards independence but he's not a hero but coward. Are we trying to encourage people to take up arm if they think the government is illegitimate? Lastly, Mat Sabu should focus on fixing corruption, economy, racism, etc.

Farhan Dahan said...

Sir can I share this in my blog? I will link back to you.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Bob Villa,

Please be rest assured that I do not take offence in what people say of me or my writing. I have learn to accept the fact that I by writing, I am expose to criticism. So do not worry Bob.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Farhan,

You have my approval.

taming said...

Many of us spent the best part of our lives defending our country, served the government of the day and prefer to remain APOLITICAL.

Most of us hate inmatured and dirty politicians, be the BN or PKR, who would do anything to gain cheap publicity. We had enough of Ibrahim Ali of PERKASA, Azeeez of UMNO Putra and now the Deputy President of PAS, Mat Sabu! Anybody cares to watch Mat Sabu's press statements and his political speeches? As a supporter who was instrumental to elect him to the No.2 party position, I feel disgusted and ashamed of his shallow remarks and "excuses" meant to "mislead" the RAKYATS. The styles and words from dirty mouths of such politicians were always ugly, deceiving and we, the reasonable thinking humans, must always be on the watch out for such politicians!

If Mat Sabu did say what the authorities confirmed that he did, what are we waiting for? Put Mat Sabu to task for trying to distort history and mislead the RAKYATS!

If the authorities are not prepared to teach "mulut celupar" politicians, there are enough among us who are ready to get him to the "firing squad" or throw him into the deepest South China Sea!



Did we really believe, i'm talking conscience here, those who fought against British colonialist were 'traitors'? Because the method they used were violent that would negate their status as 'pejuang bangsa'? Did the american used of forces that killed thousands men, women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya forfeit their motive as freedom /democracy advocators? Yes, we might use violence but his status as a freedom fighter should be recognized.

EAGLE said...

Regardless but what we are interested is to come out with the truth.
Get the facts and come out clean.
Mat sabu ke?, Professor Khoo ke? or this Lt Kol ke? is not important and who cares unless the truth nothing but the truth of what happen on that day of the assault on Balai Pasong Bt Kepong.
So nak reward apa benda? Siapa yang terkorban dan siapa yang berkorban pun tak tahu kecuali ikut sedap sendiri sahaja.
As though that it all depend on which side of the bed that I will wake up tomorrow that will decide the outcome.
Who has the real story? If none just shut up! No reward! nothing as it all rubbish or else ask Jins Shamsuddin!

azmie said...

"Member of Parliament Mohammed Sabu..." Mat sabu an MP??? I think the Colonel should remain retired before he hurt himself. By the way, the thousands of britons, gurkhas, and the rest of the hoods were here to defend the british empire. Maybe we should let them drain more of our resources, huh??. Lagi pun, kita tak pernah dijajah british - Zainal Kling, Khoo KK, Hanif Omar

Anonymous said...

Saya di Muar semalam dan pernah gi bukit Kepong.Pak cik saya berkhidmat sebagai SC diBalai Polis Bukit Kepong beberapa hari sebelum ianya diserang pada 23 Feb 1950.kerana ditukarkan ke Labis.Beliau kata cerita Jins Shamsudin mengenai peristiwa Bukit Kepong itu banyak yang tidak tepat dan diubahsuai untuk filem dan bukan cerita sebenarnya.Maka siapakah yang bercerita benar UMNO atau Mat Sabu?