THEY have been dead and buried for decades, but these fallen warriors have certainly not “faded away”.
Locals, foreign servicemen, war veterans and family members honoured those who sacrificed their lives during the Malayan Emergency at a memorial service at God’s Little Acre cemetery in Batu Gajah recently.
During the annual Remembrance Day organised by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA), guests attended a service at the Church of Holy Trinity, before proceeding to lay wreaths at the memorial at the heroes’ graves.
A moment of silence was observed before Gurkha Pipers performed a lament as guests placed their wreaths.
Among those present were Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm Sum Chang Keong, British High Commission defence adviser Col Stephen Hall, New Zealand High Commission defence adviser Capt Keith Robb, and Australia High Commission defence adviser group captain Matthew Dudley.
MPOA Perak Little Acre sub-committee chairman R. Sivalingam in his speech said the auspicious morning symbolises the commemoration of those who laid down their lives in the hands of the communist terrorists during the emergency from 1948 to 1960.
He said among them were planters, tin miners, policemen and soldiers, who were all steadfast in their duties yet well aware of the imminent dangers that prevailed.
“As the Japanese surrendered, the communist were trying to take over Malaya, and help from commonwealth countries, especially from Britain, Australia and New Zealand arrived.
“So annually we pay homage to the men from these countries who had sacrificed themselves by protecting and saving the nation from the communists.
“If these eminent souls had not been there at that point of time, Malaya would have turned into a killing field,” he added.
Sivalingam said June 16, 1948 is that day that sends a chill up our spines because it was the day of cold murders in Sungai Siput.
He said three gallant planters, Walker, Allison and Christian were mercilessly murdered, and their deaths sparked the declaration of Emergency.
“There were also individual planters, tin miners, policemen and soldiers who in their own courageous way formed a strong barricade to prevent the communist from infiltrating and exercising their crude execution.
“We pay homage to all these collective formidable forces that fortified our struggle against the communist insurgency.
“Many of those who were sacrificed, now lay in peace in God’s Little Acre,” he added.
The ceremony was first organised by former Batu Gajah OCPD Datuk R. Thambipillay in 1980 before the Perak Planters’ Association (now the Malaysian Palm Oil Association) took over the organising of the remembrance ceremony in 1984.