By Tan Mei Kuan
Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association (MACVA) hosted a lunch to honour members of the Perak Disabled Veterans Club (Kelab OKU Veteran Perang Perak) on Saturday, December 7 at Hotel Seri Malaysia, Ipoh.
Attended by over 50, it was aimed at fostering fellowship amongst all veterans associations under the Department of Veterans Affairs (JHEV).
Present were Brig-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Goh Seng Toh, President of MACVA and Captain (Rtd) Roslan bin Mohd Din, President of Perak Disabled Veterans Club.
“I’d like to stress that our good deeds have got no ethnic boundary. We will assist anyone in dire need. Plus, we always encourage the youth to be involved with the defence of their country,” said Goh, 74, to Ipoh Echo.
Pontian-born Goh enlisted in the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in the midst of Confrontation in 1965 at the age of 19. In 1968, with only two years of operational experience and only 500 flying hours under his belt, he was selected to go to the United Kingdom to be trained as one of the earliest Qualified Helicopter Flying Instructors.
“During the height of confrontation, the Indonesians landed their paratroopers in Labis and seaborne guerillas on the beach in Pontian. As the Commonwealth Forces were still with us, I saw a lot of helicopters flown mostly by foreigners landing and taking off. Being a Form 5 boy at the time, I told myself how nice it would be to fly one of them. Two years later, I was flying them,” he said.
After serving for over 35 years and having been to every part of Malaysia, the amiable Goh retired in the year 2000 as the RMAF Commander East Malaysia based in Labuan.
“In 1976 when we were fighting the communist terrorists along the Thai border, my helicopter was shot at. Four rounds of bullets hit the fuel tank. That happened when I was picking up casualties from a clearing. Our commandos captured a communist camp and while they were clearing the area they stepped on booby traps. There was no place to land so I had to winch up the injured. While we were winching, the terrorists shot at us. I managed to pick all four casualties but sustained the four shots to the fuel tank. Fortunately, we did not crash,” Goh recalled.
“It’s my commitment to the Air Force and the country,” he explained when asked what motivated him to serve the nation.
His advice for those aspiring to join the armed forces: “Look at the bigger picture and further ahead.”
Next on the MACVA calendar will be the launch of its book entitled, “Memoirs of the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans” scheduled for March 2020.
“The intention is to raise enough funds to print more of this book for distribution to schools,” Goh added.
The Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans who contributed significantly in the early years decided to take the lead in penning their experiences via The Memoirs after observing that little was recorded of the contribution of the Malayan and later, Malaysian Armed Forces, certainly not from the perspective of the local military.
In The Memoirs, Gen (Rtd) Tan Sri (Dr) Hashim Mohd Ali, a former Armed Forces Chief was quoted as saying, “The Memoirs narrate explicit events of their activities whilst in service. Even though we have left the service, our DNA has not changed and this book expresses our fond memories of our comradeship in arms whilst serving in the Armed Forces.”
“I congratulate MACVA for the publication of The Memoirs. It should be read by all Malaysians,” Hashim concluded.
Available now at RM90 (paperback) and RM110 (hardcover), interested readers can email to MACVA at Memoirofveterans@gmail.com.