Monday, June 13, 2011

Colonel Maurice Lam Shye Choon

One of the recipients of PGB Medal on 5-6-1963, was Colonel Maurice Lam Shye Choon, from Penang.

The Panglima Gagah Berani (sometimes referred to as the Pingat Gagah Berani or Pahlawan Gagah Berani) is a medal given by the government of Malaysia. The name translates to "General of Bravery and Valor". It can be conferred posthumously. The award was created on the 29th of July 1960. It was formally gazatted by an act of parliament on the 11th of August 1960. The medal takes the form of a five pointed silver star. Two kris lie under the Malaysian royal Crown on the star. The star is held by a ribbon with 45° stripes which slant right. The stripes alternative in red, white, blue and yellow. Living recipients receive an allowance of RM 300 a month. The next of kin of posthumous recipients receive RM 15,000. A person may receive this award more than once.

Captain Maurice Lam Shye Choon

Captain Maurice was from Jalan Kelawai in Penang, derived his early education at the Wellesley Primary School, Hutchings School and Penang Free School and ended his Secondary Education at Stephen’s College in Hong Kong. After which he was sent by his father, Lam Kin Sang, a lawyer in Penang, to further his studies to become a Dentist at the University of Melbourne in Australia. He stayed there for two years after which he quit university. He very much wanted a career in the Military. Whilst in Melbourne for the two years, he joined the “Citizen Military Forces”. He wrote to General Sir Gerald Templar, learning, that the General was looking for youngsters to become Officers to join the Malayan Armed Forces. He was overjoyed when he received the letter from the General himself.

The call of the nation made him sacrifice the University in Melbourne and a career as a Dentist. He returned to Kuala Lumpur to attend the selection tests and interview in Port Dickson. He was one of the few Chinese out of 24 selected to join Intake 3 of the Federation Military College (FMC) in Port Dickson. After a month he was sent to the Federation Armored Car Regiment, then to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from March 55 to July 56 in England until he was commissioned.

1956-1961 2nd Federation Armored Car Regiment/2nd Reconnaissance Regiment

He returned as a 2Lt to join the 2nd Federation Armored Car Regiment, which was commanded by Major John Terry in Kluang, along with 3 other Officers, who were 2Lt Baharudin bin Diah, 2Lt Ghani bin Maludin and 2Lt Mokhtar bin Yunus. 2nd FACR was enlarged and renamed 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment in 1960, whose CO was Lt Col Keit Robinson. As an Officer in 2nd Recce, 2Lt Lam at that time was involved in patrol and escort duties all over the country during the First Emergency.

1961-1962 Malayan Special Force in Congo
Captain Maurice Lam was 2nd in Command of A Squadron, 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment in the Congo under Malayan Special Forces. The Squadron was commanded by Major Lakhbir Singh Gill, and the Regiment was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Roger Nixon. The Regiment was part of the Malayan Special Force, under the United Nations banner. They were tasked as peacekeepers from April 1961 until January 1962. It was the action in Congo, that he gained a PGB medal. For the event in Congo, please refer to website for detail.

4th Battalion Malaysian Ranger
He served with the Reconnaissance Regiment for 15 years before taking up the post of Second in Command of the 4th Battalion Malaysian Rangers.

“Psyops” in Mindef
He went for a Psychological Operations course in the United States of America after which he attended Staff College. He took up duties in “Psyops” in Mindef and in the Prime Minister’s Department. He was promoted to Lt Col and took command of 7th Rangers , whilst 7th Rangers was still on Operations in Kanowit, Sibu, Sarawak.

1977-1979 7th Battalion Royal Rangers (Mech)
Lt Col Maurice Lam Shye Choon PGB,was Commanding Officers 7th Battalion Royal Rangers (Mech), from 19th May 1977 - 15 Sep 1979

Ops Hentam Galas
a. Area : Batu Melintang, Kelantan
b. Start/End : 29th Jan 1979 - 21 Dec 1979
c. Involvement : Whole Bn plus attachments
d. CO : Lt Col Maurice Lam Shye Choon PGB
e. Success : 3 Enemy KIA

Lt Col Maurice Lam retired from service after serving for 33 years. He related that he had passion for the Military. He enjoyed every moment of his 33 year career. He considered himself fortunate, as he was sent for courses locally and overseas and given an opportunity to serve in various appointments. He married Liew Ying Choo and blessed with 3 children, all girls. He was fortunate that his children were educated fully whilst he was still in service. All his 3 children are professionals in Hong Kong. He also said that if he was born again, he would take the same line in his life, without any regrets.

Murice Lam ended his career as a full colonel and was attached to Mindef before retiring in the early 90s.

(extract from article 2Lt N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB in the Congo, by Major (Rtd) D.Swami)


1. 2Lt N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB in the Congo,

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