Saturday, May 14, 2011

Malaysian Chinese in Military

Somebody said sometime ago; one minister of defense said some community is not patriotic, because they are not in arm forces. As I read the colonial history of our arm forces prior to independence, the fact was there were many Chinese and Indian in the arm forces. This minister did not read our nation's military history.

Some one comment that there were many volunteers in arm forces during the pre war days, and there were many Chinese volunteers in the resistance movement , especially during the WW2....

Recently there was one remark, why there are more Chinese volunteers in voluntary fire fighting units, than the number in the government fire brigade....

As I go through the history of our uniform units; there were many Chinese in uniform, in colonial days; at least much more than today.....why?...some even lost their life for the sake of the nation.....and yet there were numbers, but not today....

But why the number is declining......

The list of Malaysian Chinese Generals in the arm forces sine its establishment

Air Force – Brigadier General

Brig Jen (Rtd) Huang Chew Siong TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen (Rtd) Datuk Toh Boon Fook TUDM (Bersara)- mendiang
Brig Jen (Rtd)Dato' Stephen Ngiau Tai Kong TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen (Rtd)Dato' Koh Kia Lim TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen(Rtd)  Dato' Loke Kok Yee TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen (Rtd) Dato' Soon Lian Cheng TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen (Rtd) Dato' Lau Kong Cheng TUDM (Bersara)
Brig Jen Dato' Lim Tiow Yew TUDM - Timbalan Komander, HQ IADS)
Brig Jen (Rtd) Goh Seng Toh

Army Major General

Mej Jen (Rtd) Dato Leong Siew Meng (RSD),Commandant, Armed Forces Defence College.
Mej Jen (Rtd) Dato Lai Chung Wah (KAD),Commandant, Armed Forces Defence College.
Mej Jen (Rtd) Dato' Johan Hew Deng Onn bin Abdullah (RAD)-General Officer Commanding, 3rd Malaysian Infantry Brigade.
Brig Jen (Rtd) Chong Thean Bok – Commander, 1st Malaysian Infantry Brigade.
Brig Jen (Rtd) Hon Mun Loong – Commander, 9th Malaysian Infantry Brigade.
Brig Jen (Rtd) Philip Lee.
Beig Jen (Rtd) Goh Ah Bah – Commander, 9th Malaysian Infantry Brigade.

Laksma Pertama(Rtd) Dato Albert Thong Hon Sin (B)
Laksma Pertama (Rtd) Lim Say Kiang (B)
Laksma Pertama(Rtd) Dato Ir Fong Soo Hoi (B)
Laksma Pertama (Rtd)Dato Tan See Ming (B)
Laksma Pertama Dato Tan Eng Seng - Komandan MPAT,Commandant Armed Forces Defence College.

It seems that there are more generals in TUDM(Royal Malaysian Air Force) than Army or Navy....

List of Chinese recipients of PGB

Kolonel (B) Maurice Lam Shye Choon
Mejar (B) Lee Ah Pow
Leftenan Muda (B) David Fu Chee Ming
Sarjan (B) Choo Wah Soon
Sarjan (B) Cheng Eng Chin @ Chong Yong Chin

It was also reported that Ranger Mat Isa bin Hassan PGB, despite the name Mat Isa, he was a Chinese.

I still remember during my school days, many were expired to be student of RMC(Royal Military College), one of the prestigious choice for people who wish to be in uniform. I wonder what happen now?.......

The new recruits for the uniform units in old days, were mainly from Boy Scout Movement, Boy's Brigade, Army Cadets; what happen to these youth movement now?.....

Is the appointment of Brigadier-General Ravinder Singh, a Sikh, as the chief of the Singapore Army, giving any clue to Malaysia?. Sikh, as a community, is having a long tradition of serving in uniform, both as policemen and in the armed forces, not only in Singapore but also Malaysia. But what happen to Sikh community in armed forces and police force in Malaysia, their number are also declining. Now they preferred to be lawyer or doctor in Malaysia, where they can excel in their occupation. Are they facing the same dilemma as the Chinese community? ......

Recommended reading:

1. In the military, the non-Malay is ridden like a horse, by Major (Rtd) D.Swami, is a touching article from a retired major, read on the article about Lt Lee Ah Poh,a PGB recipient and how he was treated)
2. 2Lt N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB in the Congo,
3. LACK OF NON-BUMI PARTICIPATION IN THE ARMY, I like this blog, a fair view from a Malay retired army officer)


  1. Interesting read. I came across your article while googling for a list of chinese generals in the armed forces.

  2. I think you miss one name. If I'm not mistaken our PSO (Principal Staff Officer) at RASCOM (Rejang Area Security Command) Colonel Chong Thean Bok was promoted to one star general. I was a civilian in that outfit but I had full respect on him. Real gentleman>

  3. just trying my luck... Anyone knows David Chong?
    He is the son of Brig Jen (Rtd) Chong Thean Bok – Commander, 1st Malaysian Infantry Brigade.
    David was my classamte in St Thomas School Kuantan, 1979.