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FEATURES

PDRM Squad 69 Veterans Reflect On Their Sabah Experience

26/09/2022 11:36 AM

By Fadzli Ramli

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 15 (Bernama) -- As Malaysia Day draws near, let us reflect on the sacrifices and courage of past heroes who fought to preserve peace and freedom in the country.

 The stories of their bravery and valour should not be remembered only on one day, but they should always be cherished in our hearts forever. When they were protecting the country’s borders in the blistering heat, they were not doing it for themselves but for their country and its citizens.

Looking at the development, progress and prosperity enjoyed today, Sabahans have every reason to celebrate as Royal Malaysia Police’s (PDRM) Squad 69 veterans recall their struggles in defending the state and the country.

Memories of their sacrifices and courage in defending the ‘Land below the Wind’ some 50 years ago made PDRM Squad 69 Veterans’ Welfare Association Deputy President Datuk Alias Abdul Rahman’s chest swell with pride.

“It is evident that the situation in Sabah today is far much better than in the 70s. We are now reaping the fruits of our struggles in defending the state against various threats,” Negeri Sembilan-born Alias told Bernama during a state visit mid-August.


He was leading a 40-member Squad 69 to Sabah, a trip down-memory-lane especially while undertaking special operations including fighting maritime violence and piracy in waters off Eastern Sabah.

The path trotted to peace and freedom enjoyed today is not handed on a silver platter. As such, all quarters especially the younger generation should give their utmost respect to past warriors who laid down their lives for the safety and security of the country.

 

APPRECIATE OUR FREEDOM


Reminiscing his early days when he first arrived in Sabah in the 70s, Alias said memories of the challenging years when they set sail to cross the South China Sea before arriving in Sabah, are still fresh.

The journey by sea on board Sang Fajar and Sang Suria vessels rented by the government took 10 days, he shared.

For Alias, 73, the poignancy of the past was almost unbearable especially when many squad members were wounded and some killed in the line of duty during their special operations which were spent between one to six months.

Albeit the various challenges, squad members soldiered on as they continued their heroic tradition as true warriors who were firm and determined in carrying out the task of protecting the nation’s security and sovereignty.

 “Sabah has grown by leaps and bounds from the old days when we were here and the changes were visible as we disembarked from the plane.


“As veterans we have made our sacrifices for the state and the country so that everyone can enjoy the freedom we fought to secure for the people and that Sabah can forge ahead and experience vibrant growth,” he said.

 As such, Alias who has served PDRM for 36 years said today’s generation should be grateful for the development and freedom achieved, allowing them to shape their future.

 

TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEM

Besides the rapid infrastructure development, the state’s telecommunication system has also evolved tremendously with the availability of advanced data dissemination and communication networks that are easily accessible.

  The paradigm shift in telecommunication networks is in line with the government’s efforts to improve digital communications in the industry, including the implementation of a National Digital Network (JENDELA) initiative.

 To date, broadband coverage in Sabah’s populated areas through JENDELA has increased to more than 70 per cent and is expected to reach 90 per cent by the end of this year.

Sharing his own experience on internet coverage in Sabah, PDRM Squad 69 Veterans’ Welfare Association President Datuk Abdul Aziz Bakar said he had difficulties in telecommunication access while performing his duties in the state, among others during the 1974 and 1978 General Elections.


Datuk Abdul Aziz Bakar

 Abdul Aziz, who was together with the squad in the 70s said the communication system was among the biggest challenges faced during the period amid danger and thick wilderness.  

  “Given the poor coverage, we had to use the PDRM’s communication devices to help the Election Commission manage the General Election during the period and it was no easy task.

“Despite the hurdles, we went ahead with the operation to ensure the General Election was conducted smoothly to allow Sabahans to choose their own leaders through the democratic process,” said Pahang-born Abdul Aziz, who has served PDRM for 35 years.

As such, he urged youths to use the telecommunication system and the internet responsibly and not misuse them.

“What is achieved today is a result of the struggles of the past generation. We are the unsung heroes but we did it wholeheartedly to ensure the people can enjoy peace and prosperity,” he added.

However, all these will not be meaningful if Sabahans are stuck in the old mentality and are not willing to rid off their negative vibes to accept change, members of the local community said.

  Village head of Kampung Andus in Papar, Mohammad Majid, 68, said independence is not only measured by infrastructure development but how much the people in Sabah can tap into the opportunities available to propel Sabah to greater heights.

 As a symbol of love for the country, he urged Sabahans to fly the Jalur Gemilang and the Sabah flag with pride during the National Month and Malaysia Day celebrations.

For Sabah leader Datuk Masidi Manjun, efforts to develop Sabah are continuously being undertaken together with the federal government.

 “I understand our state is still lagging behind in terms of development; much more needs to be done for Sabah. However, we should be grateful that we can celebrate the National Month at least once a year and fly the Jalur Gemilang together with the Sabah flag,” said the State Minister of Local Government and Housing.

 “Together we develop Sabah and Malaysia in the spirit of ‘Sehati Sejiwa’ and under one Malaysian Family,” he added.

 

Translated by Salbiah Said

 


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