SEREMBAN (Bernama): Almost exactly 79 years after the Battle of Pasir Panjang, its last survivor, Private Ujang Mormin, died at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor at 5.05pm on Tuesday (Feb 9).
The World War II veteran was 100 years old.
His grandniece, Lailawati Jamil, 59, confirmed his death when contacted on Tuesday.
She said Ujang was admitted to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Jan 26 after being tested positive for Covid-19, and the hospital informed her four days ago that he was in critical condition.
“He had, prior to this, expressed his longing to meet relatives and friends, as if he knew the time had come, but due to the current Covid-19 situation, we could not visit him,” she said.
Lailawati said the funeral arrangements were being made by the Health Ministry, with the burial expected to take place at the Royal Malay Regiment Cemetary in Port Dickson.
Ujang, or Tok Ujang as he is affectionately called, hails from Kampung Kundur, Rembau, served as an army private with the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment (1RMR), after joining the British Army in 1939, undergoing basic training until 1941. That year, he was deployed to the Gap Ridge in Singapore.
He then fought against the Japanese army alongside legendary war hero Lt Adnan Saidi during the Battle of Pasir Panjang, when the Japanese forces began infiltrating Singapore.
Though most of his comrades fell to the Japanese, Mr Ujang was among the handful who made it out alive.
After a series of fortunate events, Mr Ujang somehow found his way back to Rembau where he had an emotional reunion with his parents — an event “he (I) will always remember“.
Post World War 2, Mr Ujang reportedly returned to serve in the Royal Malay Regiment until 1947, after which he worked as a prison warden.
He later married a girl from his village, who bore him 2 daughters and a son. His wife and both his daughters have reportedly passed on, while his son’s whereabouts are unknown.
Thank you to Mr Ujang and his comrades for standing their ground and fighting for the cause during the Battle of Pasir Panjang, even if it meant putting their lives on the line.
Though the battle was never won, it taught future generations about the value of grit and determination.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Mr Ujang’s relatives and friends. May he rest in peace.