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Proud to be a policeman’s son – James Ritchie

A policeman must know everything — and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake.– Paul Harvey, American radio broadcaster

My love for Malaysia’s police is far beyond words and that is why I empathise with our self-sacrificing “forgotten heroes”.

I can speak for them with pride as I was once the secretary of the Persatuan Veteran Keselamatan, Cawangan Sarawak for five years from 1993 to 1997.

My father Datuk Seri John Ritchie was the patron, the president my classmate ASP Wilfred Gomez Malong PGB and a 10-member committee.

We visited several locations in the Iban heartland to recruit members and even sent our committee members to the Veterans Night in Kuala Lumpur.

John George Ritchie was a role model for the Malaysian police force for 32 years.

During the 1948-1960 Malayan Insurgency, he was attached to the Penang Special Branch.

Well-versed in Mandarin, Hokkein, Cantonese and Thai, the Malayan British army chief Sir Gerald Templer named him as one of Malaya’s top three cop — the others being IGP Sir Claud Fenner and Tun Salleh Ismael who succeeded Fenner.

Diplomat Malcolm G Kraal wrote in “The Penang Island Story” (2007): “Johnny was a much-admired personality and terrific sportsman and decorated high-ranking policeman and praised for excellent work during the Emergency by (Sir) Gerald Templer (British army Chief of Malay).”

In 1967, Ritchie help restructure the Sarawak Constabulary into the Royal Malaysian Police, Sarawak Contingent.

We stayed at the “Commandant’s Residence” fort at Fort Margherita which was also “home” to visiting young police inspectors.

My father built a mini seven-hole par-3 golf course around the hilly Fort Margherita complex.I was familiar to three of the five inspectors who served as ADCs (aide de camp) to the commissioner at Jalan Badruddin.

His first ADC was Inspector Peter Lim who married Cynthia before they migrated to UK. The two others were Perak-born Inspectors Chong Kee Lin and “rookie” cop Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar from Sadong Jaya.

Thirty-five years later in 2011, Wan Junaidi and Special Branch’s ACP Thoo Kim Nyian became my co-writers of “Crimson Tide Over Borneo – Untold Police Stories”.

We wrote the 488-page classic story from the formation Brooke’s Ranger in the 1860s, to the inauguration of the start of the Sarawak Constabulary on January 1, 1932, until the cessation of the Sarawak Clandestine Communist Movement (CCO) in 1990.

(Great journalist of Sarawak James Alexander Ritchie is also an accomplished author with 26 books to his name. – Editor

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