Three generations of men in blue

KUALA LUMPUR: For a policeman who had never fired a single shot at criminals, the late Supt M. Govindasamy (pic) inspi­red not only his son but also his grandson to join the force.

The decorated police officer resorted to ambush tactics to capture thugs, like disguising himself as a kacang putih seller, and even wearing a dhoti to throw them off his scent.

It was this kind of commitment and guile which inspired not only his son, but also his grandson, to serve in law enforcement.

His grandson R. Mahesh Kumar, 29, passed as an Inspector in February.

“Criminals in the 60s and 70s were more cruel, and they were trigger-happy as well. So, my father felt he made the country a better place by bringing down the crime rate,” said Govindasamy’s son, retired Asst Supt G. Rishya Sirungar, 67.

Govindasamy locked horns with the likes of the notorious Mini Cooper gang, Botak Chin and once “Selangor’s most wanted thug”, Chai Jeat Wah.

He worked 18 hours a day and laid ambushes nearly every night to catch the “bad guys”, but steadfastly refused to rely on his gun.

Family pride: Mahesh (left) and Rishya proudly sharing Govindasamy’s finest moments preserved in a frame of newspaper clippings.
Family pride: Mahesh (left) and Rishya proudly sharing Govindasamy’s finest moments preserved in a frame of newspaper clippings.

“My father very much relied on the force’s K9 unit to track down and apprehend criminals. His leading dog was a German Shepherd named Chiku,” Rishya revealed. Sadly, Chiku was gunned down in his bid to save Govindasamy during a shootout.

Mahesh, who is now with the Commercial Crime Investi­gation Department, said: “The paperwork for firing a weapon is tedious, so a police officer will draw his weapon only when it’s necessary.”

Govindasamy joined the police force in Singapore in 1941, but the Japanese occupation put a stop to his ambitions of becoming a cop.

He eventually enlisted in 1945, and later earned a training stint with Scotland Yard in criminal investigations in 1956.

He rose from rank and file and was eventually recognised for his exemplary crime-busting abilities.

Govindasamy retired in 1974 and led a civilian’s existence until he died of a heart attack in 1991 when he was 72.

Rishya’s own exploits while with the field force saw him dealing with insurgents near the Malaysian border with Thailand.

“We had to be very careful when we were treading the jungles there because they had laid land mines. One explosion would take a limb off,” he said.

After serving the force for 30 years, he retired from the Criminal Investigation Department in 2005.

Although Mahesh is not familiar with his grandfather, he takes pride in knowing that some of Govindasamy’s finest traits have been passed through his father down to him.

“His life taught me about the need for positive energy in this job. Like my dad, he never gave up and served till he retired,” said Mahesh, a graduate in mechatronic engineering.