Over 500 former officers and soldiers of the 4th Battalion Royal Ranger Regiment, along with their family members, attended a reunion at the mess hall of Camp Syed Putra on Saturday, March 26. The get-together was for a reason. The date coincided with the battalion’s 50th Anniversary. It was one of nostalgia, hugs and tears. The Ranger battle cry, “Agi Hidup Agi Ngelaban” filled the hall.
Fifty four, inclusive of five widows and five disabled veterans, received their long over-due meritorious medals, the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM), in recognition of their service to King and Country.
Formed on March 28, 1966 with its nucleus at Camp Syed Putra (Sulva Lines), Ipoh the battalion is presently stationed at Camp Oran, Kangar. It remained in Ipoh for a good eight years (1966-1974) before being rotated to other bases in the country.
Organising chairman, Col (Rtd) Dato’ Syed Othman bin Syed Ali Alsagoff, recalled with much emotion how the football field was used as a helicopter landing point to bring in wounded soldiers and casualties in the early 1970s. It was at the height of the Second Malayan Emergency (1969 to 1989) and the jungles around Tanjong Rambutan and Ulu Kinta were Communist hotbeds.
The audience was moved to tears when Brig-Gen (Rtd) Dato’ Kamarudin bin Mantan, the deputy organising chairman, narrated how Capt Chandran a/l Velayuthan and his men successfully dislodged a band of Communist Terrorists operating in the Ulu Kinta forest in 1971. Chandran and his men charged up the enemy position. He was shot twice in the head. In spite of being mortally wounded he kept firing at the enemy until his last breath. Cpl Rahman bin Jaafar, Rjr Abang Bolhi and Rjr Bajau anak Ladi were with Chandran during that fateful day on June 13, 1971.
Ipoh Echo spoke to two of the pioneering members of the battalion and this was what transpired.
Cpl Abdul Malek bin Puteh, 57, from Kuala Selangor began his service in 1979 and served the battalion for 15 years. “I still remember the many operations we did in Sarawak, especially in areas such as Bau, Biawak, Lundu and Sri Aman,” he recalled.
Lt-Col Yap Chok Sang (Rtd) joined the army in 1966 and was commissioned into the Rangers in 1968 as a subaltern. “It’s so nostalgic, especially when I had a look at the barracks. Way then I was a young officer and my formative years spent with the battalion were my most memorable,” he remarked.
Johor-born Yap came all the way from Melbourne, Australia, where he now lives, to attend the gathering. His advice for all serving soldiers, “Carry on soldiering like we used to.”
Present at the ceremony were Dato’ Aminuddin bin Md Hanafiah, state assemblyman for Hulu Kinta who represented Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, Minister of Finance II, Maj-Gen Dato’ Fadzil bin Mokhtar, General Officer Commanding 2nd Infantry Division, Brig-Gen Mas’od bin Hj Muhammad, Commander 2nd Malaysian Infantry Brigade and Lt-Col Mohd Nazri Madjan bin Abdul Rahman Commanding Officer 2nd Battalion Royal Ranger Regiment.