Heartbreak of Malaysian hero in 1975 Japanese Red Army hostage crisis- FMT

A heavily bandaged Sukdave Singh, then 29, being led to an ambulance after he was shot under his right eye by JRA when he went to investigate intruders in the AIA building. (Sukdave Singh pic).
By Frankie D’Cruz | MALAYSIA |

KUALA LUMPUR: Fearless security guard Sukdave Singh, a central figure in the Japanese Red Army (JRA) siege at the American International Assurance (AIA) building here in 1975, turned 74 yesterday.

The day passed like any other in past decades with no visitors, and birthday greetings only from family members.

It was the same every August 4, the day 45 years ago when he became a national hero after being shot in the right eye while investigating a “robbery” that turned out to be a hostage crisis.

JRA fanatics stormed the ninth floor of the building and took 53 people hostage from the US and Swedish embassies, the AIA agency office and a Japanese firm, C Itoh.

Today, Sukdave, who may not be known to younger Malaysians, is like a hostage left behind and long forgotten.

He is helpless, depressed – spirit crushed.

Looking desolate, he told FMT at his Taman Sri Ampang home that life wasn’t easy for him over the years with the nightmares and scars, both physical and mental.

Sukdave Singh – Photo: Denne Singh / FMT

He was 29 when he lost sight in his right eye after a shot fired by a terrorist went under the eye and out at the back.

Both his legs are weak and he had to stop riding his motorcycle after falling off several times.

Sukdave needs cataract surgery in his left eye but has been putting it off to look after ailing Kuldip, 64.

His two-room terrace home is infested with white ants and he doesn’t have the money to call pest control.

Since his wife sleeps on a bed downstairs, he struggles to climb the narrow, steep staircase to retire for the night.

Sukdave said he remained idle at home after stopping work as a watchman two years ago and missed cooking at the Gurdwara Sahib Ampang, Ulu Klang, where he did community service for over three decades.

He said his two sons and two daughters had their own family obligations looking after his seven grandchildren.

Sukdave, who began work with AIA on June 6, 1966 with a basic pay of $100, received $2,000 from the company that also covered his medical costs until his retirement which was extended until in 2003.

This is an abridged version of ‘Heartbreak of Malaysian hero in 1975 Japanese Red Army hostage crisis’ (Free Malaysia Today, 31 Aug 2020). Read the full story here.

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. Dear Sadhu Singh. I decided to check. And what I found out tells me that you certainly do not have the facts at hand when commenting. The Ampang Gurdwaras Sahib has assisted this gentleman and his family in the past for many years. He has even been honoured at some functions. He has even been given medicine by a Sikh doctor, free of charge. I guess he forgot to mention those bits to the reporter when he was interviewed.

    As with most such issues, it is always complicated. Without going into the details, I can safely say that the community around him has done its part. And now I understand that a group have come forward to see what other assistance they can provide. Good on them.

  2. It is very easy to say then doing. Some people are too free to just condemn without facts. Know the truth before pointing or throwing words or condemed the Gurdwara, Management Committee, Sikh Fellows and Sikh Panth.
    Pehla nimarta da palan kro, khoj kro te fir hi kuch keho . Eveh sidha goli na maro. Te magro pachtavo.
    Rab Rakha

  3. Gurfateh Sadhu Singh Ji
    Kindly get your survey done or check with respective person Before you comment against any Gurdwara or Management Committee. What do you know about the help given or not. Just because of someone got it in written or post , others will keep blaming and pointing fingers. There are Sikh Fellows who help without advertising nor they have any agenda to show off. This are called the real human being .
    Let me ask you if one doesn’t post or expose their problem , so we assume they are well to do is it. They are many poor people who need help. Please go forward and help those in need instead of condemning the Sikh Fellows and Sikh Panth. We Sikhs never condemned, we serve with humanity where ever we can and whatever we could . It can be small but we take the step ahead. So pls Veeeji , next time do check the actual situation before commenting.
    Our Sikh fellows are doing their very best for the needy and community.
    Thanks , Gurfateh ji 🙏

  4. This is the condition of the “Malaysian Sikh Panth”.No one gave a damn about our fellow Sikh and now others have to highlight his plight.Keep on doing pakhand by having ‘iftar’ and ‘namaz’ at Gurudwaras and providing vegetarian food to others while our own suffer.Keep on building huge empty Gurudwaras so that the committee and ‘President’ can play politics while the community suffers in silence.What a sham!

    And sangat and management of Gurdwara Sahib Ampang, Ulu Klang, I just dont know what to say to you people.You couldn’t even take care of 1 old Sikh man who is also a Hero. ‘Nakh dobke marjo’.
    Asia Samachar can try to get a fundraising going one or at least get the Singhs bank account number so those who give a damn can help out.