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7th Rangers: Capt Mukhtiar: 90 and still battling on By Adrian David - June 15, 2022 @ 12:19pm
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Capt Mukhtiar: 90 and still battling on By Adrian David - June 15, 2022 @ 12:19pm
Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Capt (Rtd) Mukhtiar Singh Sodagar Singh (sitting, second from left) flanked by (from left) Rajvinder Kaur, Datuk Rajpal Singh and Datin Sheena Kaur and (back row, from left) Updash Singh, Trisha Sandhu and Soneesha Sandhu at Mukhtiar’s 90th birthday at his Taman Kaya home, off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur. - NSTP/ADRIAN DAVID

New Straits Times : KUALA LUMPUR: Surviving the communist insurgency during his jungle forays, was one thing.

But making it to 90 years was even tougher for retired Royal Military Police Corps officer Capt (Rtd) Mukhtiar Singh Sodagar Singh. Mukhtiar, who celebrated his birthday last Monday, told The New Straits Times (NST) that age had caught up with him, so much so that moving around was physically challenging.

"It is a battle to sit up or even take a short walk. 

"I have been physically drained and spend most of my time in bed. "Thank the Almighty though, that I have made it this far in life and am blessed to have a wonderful family to care for me.

"Of course, I dearly miss my wife Pritam Kaur who died on Jan 19 last year," said Mukhtiar at his Taman Kaya home, off Jalan Ipoh in Kuala Lumpur. Present at a very simple ceremony to wish Mukhtiar 'happy 90th birthday' at his home were his daughter Rajvinder Kaur, son lawyer Datuk Rajpal Singh and wife Datin Sheena Kaur, and grandchildren Updash Singh, Trisha Sandhu and Soneesha Sandhu.

Another of Mukhtiar's sons is geriatric specialist Datuk Dr Rajbans Singh who was unable to attend, along with his wife Datin Rajinder Kaur and their two daughters Benita Raj Kaur and Nevrita Raj Kaur.

Looking back, Mukhtiar said he was among a handful still alive as many of his military and police comrades had died many years so, either while in service or later on in life.

"We used to have great reunions and shared our tales from the past glory years. "I often looked forward to attending the annual parades of the Royal Military Police Corps, which I gave a miss the last two years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It was one of the events where I renewed my acquaintances with so many of my buddies. "And now with my feeble condition, do not think will be able to attend them anymore," said Mukhtiar, who needs a wheelchair to move around. He added that it was his greatest honour to be able to serve his country, wholeheartedly.

"I feel grateful to others who have walked the same path. "I wake up every day to cherish the time I had put my life on line for my country. "Never once did I feel regretful, as I am proud to have served Malaysia and its people," said Mukhtiar. Speaking on behalf of Mukhtiar's grandchildren, Sheena said that Mukhtiar had always been an inspiration to them.

"He did not just teach them with words, but taught them by the example of how he lived his life. "Those lessons stuck in their heads and hearts, and although it took a little longer to manifest, they are the reasons why the grandchildren are so strong today," said Sheena.

She added that Mukhtiar had often related to the grandchildren so many stories about him serving in the police and army. "He was Malaysia's hero and most importantly their hero. "He has lived an amazing 90 years in this world and served our country with great honour.

"He is a man of inspiration, strength and power. That is their grandfather," said Sheena.

A young Mukhtiar Singh Sodagar Singh doing target practice at the shooting range. - Courtesy pic.
A young Mukhtiar Singh Sodagar Singh doing target practice at the shooting range. - Courtesy pic.

Meanwhile, Mukhtiar's namesake and nephew paid tribute to his uncle. NST Press (NSTP) security supervisor Mukhtiar Singh (junior) from Bandar Kinrara in Puchong, was very grateful to his uncle for roping him in to join the publishing firm in 1984, when the latter was the company's security officer. "If not for my uncle Mukhtiar senior, I will not have got a decent job way back then.

"I am ever grateful to my uncle for his advice and guidance in my working and family life," said Mukhtiar junior, who retired from NSTP last year, but was rehired on contract basis. After retiring from the Army, Mukhtiar senior had at that time served as the NSTP's security officer based at the company's premises in Bangsar.

For the record, Mukhtiar senior had served with the police for 12 years and thereafter the Army for 17 years - for a combined total of 29 years.

During the Second Emergency (1948-1960) as a police inspector, he was credited with the death and capture of 18 communist terrorists in Selangor, while he himself escaped numerous assassination attempts on his life. For his efforts, the then British High Commissioner to Malaya, Sir Donald MacGillivray had presented the Colonial Police Medal for gallantry in action to Mukhtiar, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

Later when he joined the Territorial Army, Mukhtiar reportedly became a weapons instructor and was a top marksman and won many shooting medals and awards.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 7:38 PM  
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