The highest ranking Sikh police officer in Asia, ex-India, retired today. The retirement of Malaysian police commissioner Amar Singh Ishar Singh also brings to a close a three-generation run spanning over 90 years in the police force.
Though having served a good 35 years in the Malaysian police force, Amar Singh, who retires as the Federal Commercial Crime Investigations Department (CCID) director, says he never worked even for a day.
“I did not work a single day in the police force. You work when you’re paid to do something. I did what I like to do and I got paid for it. (In essence) I never really worked even for a single day.
“This is the Punjabi spirit. We don’t work. We serve. Whatever we do, we do it with passion, drive and love. You don’t call that work. You can pay, that’s by the way,” he told more a gathered crowd of more than 300 Sikh policemen and community members at a farewell at the Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol in Kuala Lumpur today (5 Dec 2018).
You can view parts of the event today captured live at Asia Samachar Facebook page.
“We are blessed that our parents came up the hard way. My family history in the police force spans beyond 90 years. My grandfather was a policeman. His number was PC2023. He served at Federated Malay States Police (FMSP) in the 1920s.
“My mum was born in Raub (in Pahang). She was brought up at Bukit Aman headquarters. My father then joined the police force.
“And later so did I. Not that I wanted to be a policeman. I told my dad: even if this is the last job in the world, I didn’t want to be a policeman. Things have changed. You ask me now, I love being in the police force. My 35 years in the force was beautiful, we did good work together.”
Amar Singh’s maternal grandfather, Bachan Singh, was a constable who joined the force in the early 1900s. He was reported to have served in Kuala Kubu Baru, Kuala Lipis and Raub, and retired in Klang in the 1940s.
His father, Ishar Singh, joined the Federated Malay States Police in 1939, a year after coming to Malaya from Punjab and was a pioneer member of the police jungle squad established during the Emergency, according to a news report. He retired as a corporal in 1971 and died in 1999 at the age of 80.
FIGHTING SPIRIT, DO IT NOW
In a message to fellow policemen, he said: “We Sikhs are fighters. We Sikhs get what we want.”
He recalled his early days. He spoke about his uncle Basant Singh, whose police number was 3699 and his dad, Koperal 1610, who were good buddies.
“I used to drive them from Ipoh to KL. They would be singing songs, having a good time. Both my Uncle and my dad told me this: Amar, the salutes that we have given in the police force, make sure you collect them back all, with interest. Incidentally, both of them were moneylenders.”
“This was a driving force for me. When I was the commandant Pulapol (Kuala Lumpur) and receive salutes in the thousands, I used to think of both of them. I would say: These salutes are for you.”
Talking to the largely Sikh crowd before him, Amar said: “Sikhs have a fighting spirit in them. Whatever we set our eyes upon, we get it. And my father always says: kal da kaam aajh karo, hunn daa kaam hunn karoo.
“Don’t procrastinate. Do tomorrow’s work today, and do today’s work now.”
In an earlier event, Amar handed over duties as the Bukit Aman CCID chief to Deputy Comm Saiful Azly Kamaruddin, who will be the CCID acting director. The event was witnessed by Inspector General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
“He is truly a rare gem of a policeman and I wish him a happy retirement,” Fuzi said of Amar.
Amar broke all the barriers that the early two generation members form his family would have faced.
He retired as a Police Commissioner, the highest rank achieved by an Indian in the Malaysian police force.
He was made history for the Sikh community in Malaysia when he was appointed as the Kuala Lumpur police chief chief police officer, with the rank of commissioner, on 19 Feb 2016.
This is the highest rank attained by a Sikh police officer in Malaysia. Santokh Singh was the last Sikh to be appointed as a state police chief when he was made Selangor CPO with the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) 1.
He broke the glass ceiling for the community again when, effective 14 Oct 2017, he was appointed as the commercial crime investigation director at the Malaysian police headquarters.
He was also the first Indian and Sikh cop to become a director at Bukit Aman, as the Malaysian police headquarters is usually referred to.
Malaysian top Sikh cop to retire, ceremony at Pulapol gurdwara (Asia Samachar, 4 Dec 2018)
Top Sikh cop Amar Singh now director at Bukit Aman (Asia Samachar, 10 Oct 2017)
PDRM confirms rank of commissioner for Amar, ACP for Baljeet (Asia Samachar, 9 Feb 2017)
Amar Singh makes history for Sikhs in Malaysian police force (Asia Samachar, 19 Feb 2016)