More than 1,000 Sikh Soldier’s are believed to have perished during the Japanese occupation of Malaya in World War 2 (WW2), a retired army officer told a gathering of fellow Sikh Malaysian armed forces veterans.
“More than 1,000 Sikhs would have perished if you take into account all the battles from the start till the fall of Singapore and the Sikhs POW’S who were killed brutally and the many who were sent to the Death Railway and never returned,” Maj. (Rtd) Harjit S. Rendawa told Asia Samachar.
Harjit is in the midst of gathering details from the war archives on names and if possible their villages in India where they were from to establish local connections with Sikh families. Both his grandfather and father were serving with the British police force when Penang was bombed by the Japanese.
“This is my number one objective,” said the Malaysian Armed Forces Sikh Veterans Association (MAFSVA) deputy president.
On 8 Sept, the association held its first official gathering for its Penang and North chapter. It comprised of prayers at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang and later a fellowship dinner at the Penang Club. The events were also in conjunction with Malaysia’s 61st National Day and the Armed Forces Day which falls on 18 September.
MAFSVA Penang & North is led by Capt Dr Kulwaran Singh as its chairman, S Sjn Sarjit Singh as secretary and PW II Manjet Singh RMAF as the treasurer.
“We need to preserve our history from the time Sikhs first set foot in Malaya as Sepoys, as well the history of the wider Sikh involvement during the Japanese occupation ,” he said.
He pointed out that the Battle of Kampar as one of them where Green Ridge one of the remaining defense positions has been gazateed as a heritage site with the efforts of MAFSVA. A memorial is in the pipe line to be constructed with the cooperation of the Indian High Commission.
Sikh veterans join Merdeka Day Shining Turban campaign (Asia Samachar, 27 Aug 2018)
Malaysian armed forces Sikh veterans form an association (Asia Samachar, 27 July 2016)