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Superintendent Paul Kiong’s Brave Stand Against Communist Uprising, Compensated With RM2,000 Monthly

In the early 1970s, Malaysia faced a resurgence of communist insurgency, called the Second Malayan Emergency. It started with a significant event on June 17, 1968, when Communist insurgents attacked our security forces along the Kroh-Betong road in Perak. 

Inspired by the Communist victory in the Vietnam War, they dealt a heavy blow, killing 17 security personnel[1]. Despite the first Malayan Emergency officially ending in 1960, some Communist guerrilla groups remained, especially in remote jungle areas along the Malaysian-Thai border.

Despite Malaysia’s efforts to promote unity among its ethnic groups and boost its economy, the country faced a serious security threat once again. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) enlisted its best officers, including former police inspector Paul Kiong, who showed immense bravery. 

The Heroic Journey of Superintendent Paul Kiong

Embarking on a daring mission, Superintendent Paul Kiong fearlessly infiltrated the insurgents’ ranks in Operation Catfish: Stoke Coffin Camp[2]. For six years, he operated undercover within the insurgents’ ranks, posing as a communist sympathiser. Gaining their trust, he gathered vital intelligence crucial for the nation’s fight against insurgency.

To capture communists peacefully, he disrupted their food supplies, using psychological tactics to coax them out of hiding due to starvation. With the assistance of his colleagues, he successfully captured several insurgents. 

Source: Polis Hutan

His unwavering determination ultimately resulted in the arrest of several insurgents, with invaluable assistance from his colleagues.

The high-stakes nature of the mission meant that his life hung on the line, earning him the nickname “The Infiltrator”. Aware of the risks involved, Superintendent Paul understood that his actions not only endangered his own life but also the well-being of his family. His wife, cognisant of the dangers, refrained from questioning her husband’s return or even if he would return at all.

I told my boss, I feared for my life but I had to do it. If I die, that would mean one person dead, but if I succeeded, we would save the lives of security forces members…If we didn’t take this kind of risk, how would we have achieved the prosperity that we have today? – Superintendent Paul Kiong[3]

His actions were pivotal amidst intensified efforts by Malaysia to combat Communist insurgents through military operations, intelligence gathering, and strict security measures like press censorship and police expansion. Superintendent Paul’s courage was boundless, highlighted by his pivotal role in peacefully apprehending 43 Communist insurgents[4].

Concurrently, social and economic development programs, including initiatives like KESBAN and massive projects such as road construction and facility establishment, bolstered Malaysia’s progress and resilience against insurgency. 

In this challenging landscape, Superintendent Paul’s fearless dedication and selflessness stood as a beacon of hope, symbolising the unwavering commitment to safeguarding the nation’s security and prosperity.

Where is Superintendent Paul Kiong Now?

Source: Satu Berita

Recognised for his exceptional bravery and dedication, he was among a select group of 11 individuals honoured with Malaysia’s highest awards in the 1980s: the esteemed Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP) and Perak’s distinguished Pingat Keberanian Handal in 1988[5].

The SP Award, known as Malaysia’s Grand Knight Valour, holds immense significance, surpassing even titles like Datuk, Tan Sri, or Tun[6]. The Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (Additional Benefits) Act 1990 was a commendable step toward providing crucial financial support to recipients and their families[7].

However, despite his prolonged battle and significant sacrifices, retirement often falls short of expectations for veterans like Superintendent Paul. In a recent interview, he highlighted the challenges faced by retired SP award recipients, emphasising the government’s failure to safeguard their welfare adequately. 

Recent incidents where veterans were denied special privileges at clinics[8] serve as stark reminders of the uphill battle they face, often settling for subpar care while better options remain out of reach.

Under the Act, PGB holders are entitled to a monthly pension allowance of RM1,500, while SP holders receive RM2,000[9]. Despite a nominal 2% yearly increase, the incremental rise fails to keep pace with recipients’ evolving needs[10].

For the SP award, we receive an allowance of RM2,000 a month, and that was last revised in 2009… If they do (increase the allowance), this proves that the government is aware of issues involving retired groups like us. – Superintendent Paul Kiong[11]

The Veteran’s Scene in Malaysia

Other veterans in Malaysia are also facing challenges similar to those of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), where they are divided into two distinct categories: ATM Pensionable Veterans and ATM Non-Pensionable Veterans. For ATM Pensionable Veterans, retirement marks the start of a well-deserved reward, with regular pension payments based on their rank and years of service[12].

Source: Malaysiakini

However, this pension is only available to those who served for at least 21 years, leaving many who retired before 2013 with meagre monthly pensions ranging from RM500 to RM2,000. 

Efforts to support ATM veterans include the Veteran MyWIRA initiative which aims to provide job opportunities in the private sector. Although it initially partnered with Micron, offering 25 jobs with competitive salaries, this may not be enough to meet the needs of all veterans[13].

With limited platforms to voice their concerns, veterans have taken matters into their own hands. In June 2022, around 2,000 veterans gathered at Tugu Negara[14] to demand a review of pension rates for those with fewer than 21 years of service.

We just wanted to speak about our rights. We made sacrifices for this country during the Emergency. We were the ones who protected this country from the communists, and this is how we are treated? It is not right to treat the veterans this way.Mior Rosli Mior Jaafar, Army veteran[15]

As a result, non-ATM veterans began receiving a monthly pension of RM300 under the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) initiative[16]. However, this event highlights the ongoing struggle faced by veterans across different sectors in Malaysia, with pensions often falling short of covering basic living expenses.

Honouring Our Heroes: Bridging the Gap in Veteran Support

Amidst distinct policies governing pensions for award recipients and Armed Forces veterans, there’s a notable gap in supporting veterans who don’t qualify for SP and PGB award pensions. 

Veterans like Superintendant Paul embody the essence of our nation today. Their sacrifices have shaped communities across Malaysia and played a crucial role in our nation’s development.

Source: The Sun

As we move forward, it is crucial to seek initiatives to honour and appreciate these heroes. Mere acknowledgement isn’t enough; tangible actions are needed to ensure they’re properly supported in retirement. Only by honouring our heroes can we truly reflect the values of gratitude and appreciation that define us as a nation.

Explore our sources:

  1. Talib, N. B. (2005). Malaysia’s experience in war against Communist insurgency … Malaysia’s Experience In War Against Communist Insurgency And Its Relevance To The Present Situation In Iraq. Link
  2. The Sun. (2021). National heroes share success in fight against the Communists. Link
  3. Asyraf, F. (2022). Sb man who sabotaged crack terrorist unit, and lived. Free Malaysia Today. Link
  4. Marhaen, S. T. (2020). Datuk Paul Kiong – Menundukkan k0munis tanpa pertumpahan d4rah. The Patriots. Link
  5. Borneo Post. (2020). Ngalinuh a recipient of the nation’s highest gallantry award passes away. Link
  6. NAZARI, T. (2020). “Tun” Isn’t Even The Top 3 Highest Awards in Malaysia. The Rakyat Post. Link
  7. Laws of Malaysia. (2013). Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (Remembrance Allowance) Act 1990. Link
  8. AHMAD, H. (2023). Turning away a veteran at Govt Hospital is indeed sacrilegious. New Straits Times. Link
  9. Borneo Post. (2013). Next of Kin Should Continue to Receive Pension Allowance. Link
  10. Ong, A. (2024). Veterans of the past under appreciated. Harapan Daily. Link
  11. Iskandar, I. M., & Rahmat, N. N. M. (2024). Veterans deserve more, says recipient of Nation’s Top Gallantry Award: New Straits Times. NST Online. Link
  12. Service pension. (2023) Pautan Pantas Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran. Link
  13. Dermawan, A. (2024, January 22). Veteran MYWIRA initiative to pave sustainable post-retirement careers and upskilling for Armed Forces veterans. New Straits Times. Link
  14. Free Malaysia Today. (2023). Army veterans walk from Perak to Putrajaya to demand pension review. Link
  15. The Rakyat Post. (2022). Armed Forces Veterans Say They Received Approval For Demonstration & Question Police Probe. Link
  16. LEONG, A. (2023). RM300 BSH for non-pensionable veterans from age 60 starts in September. The Rakyat Post. Link

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