Kuala Lumpur, 13 Nov 2016: A morning of sombre reflection, as guests came together at Tugu Negara, to honour the contribution of Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the 2 World Wars and later conflicts. The service particularly marked 75 years since the start of the Malayan Campaign.
Honoured guest Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz, son of Yang diPertuan Besar Negri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Almarhum Tuanku Munawir attended in full military uniform as the formal representative of the British Malaysian Society.
Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Defence Advisers from over 20 countries stood in respectful silence alongside representatives from the Malaysian Armed Forces, Sikh Veterans Association, presidents of local societies, head teachers of schools and representatives from the Kuala Lumpur Cubs, Scouts and Guides.
As guests arrived the KL Pipes and Drums band performed a stirring rendition of traditional music. The service formally began with guests joining the voices of the Garden International School choir in singing the hymn ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’. British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Her Excellency Vicki Treadell CMG MVO then delivered her address, saying:
Today we mark the 75th year since the start of the Malayan Campaign. We recognise the debt we owe all those, be it military or civilian, who gave of themselves for the Allied cause. We laud their comradeship and we remember their sacrifice.
In her speech, Treadell also paid special tribute to the British Indian Army and the Sikh contribution during the Malayan Campaign.
The service continued with reflections by Mr Andrew Hwang, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Maj. Tara Singh, Malaysian Armed Forces Sikh Veterans Association. The event also featured readings of “In Flanders Fields” and “For the Fallen” read by Anoushka Upadhyay and Julia Lee from Garden International School.
Two minutes of silence were held in respect of the fallen, with the Last Post and Reveille on trumpet performed by Mr Joseph Jenkinson of the British High Commission. The ceremony ended with the laying of wreaths at the base of the Cenotaph, an apt tribute to those who gave their lives in the name of peace.
Following the ceremony, the High Commissioner hosted breakfast for guests at her Residence where a special presentation took place honouring Malaysian army veteran Mr Meha Singh Kishen Singh. Meha, who served as Lance Corporal with the British Army General Service Corps from 1955 to 1959, was awarded the HM Armed Forces Veteran’s Badge in recognition of his service. Meha was delighted to receive his award, saying:
I served in the British Army back in 1955 and it is a great honour to receive my Veterans Badge in recognition for my services to the United Kingdom. I was not aware that there was such a badge, and I am grateful to the British High Commission Defence Section for applying for the badge on my behalf. I shall wear it with pride.