THE award came 22 years after his retirement, but former crime buster Sjn-Mej Manickam Alagappan could not hide his exhilaration when conferred the Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara.
The 71-year-old, who retired from the police force in 1997, said the ‘warrior medal’ was a sweet remembrance of his 31 years as a serviceman.
“I joined the force when I was 18, and spent most of my career in the Secret Society, Gaming and Vice Division (D7) as well as the Criminal Investigation Command (CID).
“They were among my most challenging but rewarding times, as I have encountered numerous experiences throughout my journey.
“They taught me a lot of things in life,” he said after receiving his award from Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas in conjunction with his 81st birthday celebration at Dewan Sri Pinang, George Town, on Thursday .
Sjn-Mej Manickam was among 248 retired police officers and personnel who were honoured with the award at the ceremony.
He recalled a significant moment in his career involving a particular gun battle in 1980 where he and his partner Kpl K. Loganathan were caught in a shootout with an armed robber.
“I vividly remember the moment when Loganathan and I were in a crossfire with one of the most wanted armed robbers in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth.
“We were exchanging fire with the robber and it seemed forever, but we managed to take him down in the end.
“Since that incident, The Star back then gave us the nickname of Malaysian ‘Starsky & Hutch’, following the popular 1970s American detective TV series of the same name,” he said.
Sjn-Mej Manickam, who had served in different states such as Johor, Selangor, Pahang and Penang, has received a number of awards over the years.
In 1982, he received the Juara Penuh Disiplin medal for being recognised as Penang’s best policeman and in 1989, he received the Pingat Pangkuan Negara from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Later in 2011, he received the Darjah Johan Negeri award.
Sjn-Mej Manickam last served as the police chief of the Butterworth police station for five years before his retirement.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Mazlan Mansor, who was also present, said all of the recipients are from Penang.
“The award marks the government’s recognition of the struggles and sacrifices of our former policemen,” he said.
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