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Sunday, 11 March 2012

Last surviving soldier of Bukit Candu encounter left to fend for himself


KUALA LUMPUR: The last surviving soldier to have fought in the battle of Bukit Candu, Singapore, during the Japanese invasion in the Second World War in February 1942 is now living alone in Sikamat, Seremban.
Private Ujang Mormin, 91, is left to fend for himself after his wife died two years ago while two of his three children have also died, and another could not be traced.
“I'm now surviving on a RM200 pension after retiring from the Prisons Department,” he said after receiving a Pingat Jasa Malaysia from Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Ha-midi at the Sungai Besi Camp here yesterday.
Ujang was one of 42 men from the First Malay Regiment, headed by the legendary Lt Adnan Saidi, who made their final stand against the Japanese onslaught on Bukit Candu.
Honoured veteran: Ujang showing his medal at the Sungai Besi Camp in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Serving the army for seven years from 1941, Ujang said he retreated downhill under heavy Japanese artillery fire and did not see how Lt Adnan was gunned down.
“One of the soldiers, who retreated with me, was hit by a bomb shrapnel and died.
“It saddened me when I dug up a grave to bury him,” he said with tears.
As the Japanese strengthened their stranglehold on Singapore, Ujang was ordered to return to his hometown by his superior but he chose to hide in the jungle on the island before he was adopted by a family.
He stayed with the family for two months before returning to Rembau, Negri Sembilan, after Singapore fell to the Japanese.
Ujang was also awarded a War Medal and a Pacific Star Medal by the British government. - Bernama