Bukit Kepong Mat Sabu, Jins Shamsuddins And The War Of The Running Dogs

Bukt Kepong Incident 1950: Before the ever-controversial PAS deputy president, Mat Sabu made his Bukit Kepong remarks allegedly glorifying communist guerillas who attacked the Bukit Kepong Muar police station in 1950, it seems no one really talks or praises much about the contributions and sacrifices of the 25 dead policemen and their family members.

bukit kepong reenactment

Well, except for the recent reenactment of the incident during this year’s Warrior’s Day at Merdeka Square and one local Malay movie that was written, produced, acted and directed by Datuk Jins Shamsuddin. It is simply entitled “Bukit Kepong” back in 1981. Even this movie earned eight awards at the Third Malaysian Film Festival in 1982, but all these time, not many Malaysians (including those in the Malaysia movie industry) really talk much about it.

"filem bukit kepong"
Filem Bukit Kepong By Jins Shamsuddin

The only consolation is filem Bukit Kepong has become a staple for local TV stations during the run-up to Merdeka each year. But then again, it doesn’t stir any interest among Malaysian TV viewers.

"mat sabu bukit kepong statement"
Mat Sabu Bukit Kepong Statement

Do you know that before Pokok Sena MP was alleged to have made the controversial remarks during a ceramah in Tasik Gelugor, Penang, on Aug 21, 2011, the graves of those policemen who died defending the Bukit Kepong police station on Feb 23, 1950, in Muar, Johor, was left in the deplorable state of neglect?

"bukit kepong cemetery"
Bukit Kepong Cemetery image: Malay Mail

To quote The Malay Mail report (September 7th, 2011), it resembled more a rubble-strewn field than a warriors’ burial ground.

Interestingly, even the local folks living in Bukit Kepong, Muar were unaware that neglected Muslim cemetery is where the fallen Malay heroes of the 1950s during the pre-independence communist insurgency have been buried.

Mat Sabu Bukit Kepong Statement

Even though The Malay Mail highlighted the conditions of the Bukit Kepong cemetery, it was because of the controversy triggered by Mat Sabu’s so-called insensitive statement. From there, the once deplorable Bukit Kepong cemetery in Johor, got the respect they rightly deserved.

After 61 long years, Bukit Kepong cemetery would be transformed into a war memorial and tourist attraction.  Recently the families of slain policemen received the Anugerah Wira Bukit Kepong from the present PM Najib Tun Razak. Better late than never, right or not?

Probably, it is time, someone should either come out with a better remade of “Bukit Kepong” movie or even “Bukit Kepong Incident 1950 – The Musical” to be staged at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.

The War Of The Running Dogs The Malaysan Emergency
Talking about the the 12-year-long Malaya Emergency, it reminds me of the book by Noel Barber called “The War of the Running Dogs”.

"the war of the running dogs noel barber"
The War Of The Running Dogs Noel Barber

To quote from a website: “This is the detailed, gripping account of the bitter, twelve-year-long “War of the Running Dogs; filled with fascinating stories and colourful characters-from the British-trained Communist mastermind Chin Peng to Irene Lee, the beautiful and deadly SAS operative who had her pistol hidden in her bra, single-handedly cracked open the Communists’ courier network.

Then there are two more books about the Communist struggle in Malaya entitled “Menace in Malaya” and “Jungle War in Malaya” by Harry Miller.