Tuesday March 19, 2013
Sarawak Rangers veterans offering to fight Sulu intruders in Lahad Datu
By VANES DEVINDRAN
KUCHING: Veterans of the famed Sarawak Rangers are volunteering their services to assist the security forces fighting in Lahad Datu.
One such veteran is Corp (Rtd) Jampong Daong who had fought side by side with the late war hero Datuk Temenggong Kanang Langkau.
Speaking via handphone — which was on speaker mode — Jampong’s wish to help out in the operation resonated clearly.
“Boleh, boleh! (Can, can!),” he said with enthusiasm when asked if he truly meant what he had earlier on told fellow veteran, Col (Rtd) Fabian Wong (pic).
In true men-of-honour spirit, Jampong said enemies had infiltrated Malaysia and he was ever willing to serve once again if he was called to protect its sovereignty.
In his 21 years of service attached to the 8th Rangers, Jampong from Kampung Grogo in Bau was a demolition specialist.
The 60-year-old said he was often deployed in pair or a group of three in commando-styled operations.
He believed his experience and skills could come in handy when it came to drawing up strategies in Ops Daulat. He is also a recipient of the Kepujian Perutusan Keberanian (KPK) award.
“Jampong is one of the many retired men of honour who have called us to voice their willingness to go on active duty once again,” war veterans Col Fabian and Capt (Rtd) Mohammad Johari Ibrahim told pressmen yesterday.
They said this was the spirit they hoped to see among Malaysians now, which according to them, is similar to the famous “fight to the end” battle cry, “Adi Idup, Agi Ngelaban”.
“It is the support for our boys fighting in Lahad Datu that is very important here. This is not the time to bicker and analyse what should have been done. The enemies have intruded on our land and we need to focus on this first,” said Wong.
He said a few security forces personnel had sacrificed their lives in this battle and Malaysians must stand as one now more than ever.
He said for these security personnel to succeed in the current operation, they needed the moral support of all Malaysians to keep their spirit high.
“All veteran associations and ex-police associations should come out and show their support. The same goes for other organisations, too. We must show concern and not demoralise them,” he said.
Wong said he felt disappointed by those who had spoken out against PKR vice-president Tian Chua over alleged remarks he made on the incident.
Describing these people as being “distracted and not focused” Wong said: “Let the court handle that. We need to stay focused. This is the time when retired army generals must come forward and give advice on what strategies to take,” he said.
Asked whether the present security forces were well-trained to handle the conflict, Wong said: “What they have been doing shows that they are well-trained. As a result of this, the enemy has now dispersed into small groups,
“Not many know this but the Malaysian army is well-trained in fighting in oil palm estates as they have carried out many of their exercise operations in such estates. “Sure the enemies are also seasoned fighters but I believe we still have the upper hand,” he said. Johari, who is the Sarawak Rangers Veterans’ Association secretary-general, said during their time in battle, the forces were fighting both the communists and the Indonesian insurgents.
“But we had a front line because we knew the territory line and we closed in on each other at a point. What’s happening in Sabah is that they intruded, occupied a village and invaded the surrounding area.
“Our forces don’t know the battle line so it’s a different scenario,” he explained. Furthermore, these terrorists were well armed, unlike in those days when weapons used by the enemies were less sophisticated,” he said.
Johari was a significant figure in Operation Jemput, a mission that resulted in the crippling of the communist terrorists in Sarawak, leading to their surrender.
Johari advised the security personnel in the Ops Daulat to be vigilant at all times and apply whatever they had learnt in training.
SRVA presently has 1,000 members out of the more than 10,000 veterans who are eligible to join the association.