War memories still fresh for Malaysian vets

War memories still fresh for Malaysian vets
Our heroes: Mohamad Aziz (second from left) handing out aid to Md Tahir as a sign of appreciation at the launching ceremony in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU - It has been 37 years since he lost his left leg in the fight against the communists in Sadao, Thailand, but the memory is still fresh in Sarjan Md Tahir Hassan's mind.

Recounting the incident on March 29, 1977, the 65-year-old said he and his troop mates were on a jungle trail when he heard an explosion.

"They all turned to look at me. That was when I realised that I had stepped on a booby trap. My left leg was ripped off at the knee," he said when met at the launch of the state government's Warrior's Day Fund here yesterday.

He said all his thoughts were on his wife and children at home. Sjn Tahir was a Lans Kpl serving in the 17th Battalion of the Malay Regiment based at Majidee Camp here then.

Yesterday, Sjn Tahir was among 10 veterans who received aid from the state government.

Another veteran who served during the communist era was Kpl Abdul Samat Md Saman, 62, who lost his right leg after stepping on a booby trap on June 10, 1979.

"I am thankful because our sacrifices and services have not been not forgotten. I hope more attention is given to needy retired servicemen," he said.

Meanwhile, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin urged the younger generation to appreciate the efforts of those who fought for the country's freedom and peace. "I worry that all their sacrifice would be in vain if we were to forget all the warriors' efforts. If such sacrifices are not remembered and the young not made aware of this, it could threaten the nation's peace," he said in his speech read out by State Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Aziz

During the ceremony, 10 organisations in the state contributed RM262,500 (S$103,700) to help retired Malaysian army veterans and their families, including widows whose husbands died in the line of duty.

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