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Thursday July 20, 2006

Malaysia honours British veterans


LONDON: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has paid tribute to British war veterans for their sacrifices for the country during the Emergency and Confrontation periods. 

The Deputy Prime Minister said the British, as well as other Commonwealth including Malaysian blood, had been shed to ensure that peace was achieved. 

He said Malaysia’s continued peace and prosperity must be attributed to the demonstration of such great valour and courage. 

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Follows showing The Jungle Beatto Najib after the award presentation ceremony in London yesterday.
“Honouring all of you today is not only be a sign of our gratitude to you, but more importantly an eternal symbol of man’s sacrifice and dedication to preserve peace for future generations to cherish,” he said. 

Najib was speaking at a special ceremony to confer the Pingat Jasa Malaysia award on the first batch of 40 British ex-servicemen at the Malaysian High Commission in Belgrave Square yesterday. 

This is the first time such awards have been presented to British war veterans who served in Malaysia between 1957 and 1966. 

The second batch of 74 is scheduled to fly to Kuala Lumpur to receive their awards in October. 

Najib, who is Defence Minister, said many British ex-servicemen had contributed to Malaysia’s success story. 

He said that too often, the young generation had taken for granted the country’s peace, independence and sovereignty without realising they had to be fought for. 

He added that Malaysia’s appreciation of their good deeds would project a good image of the country as war veterans were highly regarded in British society. 

Among those who received the award were Field Marshal Lord Bramnell, Gen Sir Garry Johnson, Gen Sir Jeremy Mackenzie, Sir John Best-Shaw, Major-Gen Corran Purdon, Brig-Gen Miles Hunt-Davis and Brig-Gen Allan Alstead. 

Ex-servicemen Roy Follows (The Jungle Beat), George Richey (Wings over Malaya) and Tim Hatton (Tock Tock Birds) also took the opportunity to present their books to Najib on their campaign against the communists in the Malayan jungles. 

Follows, 77, for instance, told of an unforgettable incident when he gunned down a communist and slashed another with a parang during a raid on an enemy camp in Johor in 1954. 

Richey, 75, spoke of his success in spotting four communist camps – two in Betong, one in Pattani in southern Thailand and one in the Belum Forest, northern Perak – between 1958 and 1959. 

The discoveries were significant as it led to the Malayan and Thai forces jointly seeking out and destroying the camps, thus crippling their operations, said Richey, who was one of three British pilots on reconnaissance flights to check out communist camps.  

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