GEORGE TOWN – Memories of fighting against the communists are still fresh in 62-year-old war veteran Jamaludin Din’s mind, and one that stands out is his involvement in the “Selamat Sawadee 79/1” operation.
He can still vividly remember how his best friend, Abu Bakar, was killed in an ambush during the operation in Yala, Thailand back in 1978.
“I can still remember it was 1.30 pm then, (the team) received orders from the headquarters to conduct an ambush. We were on the way to the location given but were ambushed instead along the way. We could not do anything as we were in the midst of climbing a hill. I clearly remember the order to ambush us came from a woman.
“It was only at night that we (had the opportunity) to call in the bomb squad to destroy their area. It is my friend Abu Bakar whom I remember the most right now because we always went everywhere together, ate together and drank together. However, his life ended there,” he told reporters when met at the Malaysia Day “Konvoi Lautan Merah” programme in Sungai Batu here today.
He added that two personnel were killed and four others were injured during the “Selamat Sawadee 79/1” operation, which was jointly conducted by the governments of Malaysia and Thailand to crack down on the remaining communists still active in the jungle.
He said he had just turned 20 back then and underwent only a year’s training in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) before he was sent into battle.
Jamaludin, who encouraged the younger generation to join the army, was among 20 uniformed veterans who received hampers from Sungai Batu Bersatu Armada chief Muqaddis Syah Fuaddin in conjunction with the Malaysia Day celebration.