KUALA LUMPUR - This year’s Warrior’s Day celebration brought back memories for businessman Othman Mohd Yusoff, who saw his pregnant mother being shot dead by communists. That was at the Kuala Krau police barracks in Pahang 67 years ago.
Othman, who was among those invited to the celebration, saw the barracks tragedy reenacted at Dataran Merdeka yesterday.
Interviewed by The Star, Othman, 71, recalled a skirmish breaking out between police and the communists around 9.30pm on June 26, 1948.
His family was the only one of three families at the barracks at the time and his 23-year-old mother, Mahami Kunel, had to join the defence line against some 30 to 40 communists.
“My mother, although a housewife, was trained to use a rifle. She had to use the weapon that night to protect me and my brother while my father was fighting the communists in another section of the barracks.
“She was still in her prayer garments when the shootout began,” he recalled.
Othman, who was about four years old then, was hiding inside a foldable mattress with his older brother throughout the skirmish.
“My mother kept on firing at the communists through a window until 4am the next day,” Othman said, adding that she left the room to join her husband.
“That was when she was shot,” he recalled with sadness.
Othman said he emerged from the tragedy stronger and wiser.
“The incident taught us that no matter how tough things get, we will never surrender,” said Othman, who is married with five children and 16 grandchildren,
The Warrior’s Day march saw 27 officers and 531 men and women from the police and the armed forces taking part.
Also attending the celebrations were Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Hajah Haminah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.