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Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa


The Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa ('Gallant Warrior" or Warrior of Extreme Valour) is the highest federal award which can be presented in Malaysia. It was created on 29 July 1960 and was gazetted on 11 August 1969.

The medal is the highest Armed Forces Gallantry Award and highest in the order of precedence in the Armed Forces Decorations and Awards. It is the highest award even in the Federal Ranking of Awards which therefore outranks the awards which carry the title of Datuk and Tan Sri. It is a medal that is ranked even higher than the Darjah Kerabat Diraja Malaysia (D.K.M.) awarded to Malaysian Royalty.
Nevertheless, the honour does not carry any title and is not listed in the Federal Order of Importance.

The award carries a memorial allowance of RM400 a month. A deceased recipient may be awarded in which case his next of kin receives a lump-sum payment of RM30,000

The award is presented in the form of a silver medal which has the shape of a crescent moon with the inscription "Gagah Perkasa." Within the arch of the moon is inscribed the fourteen-pointed star. It is carried on a yellow ribbon 1.5 inches wide with red stripes 1/8 inches wide.

Among the recipients is Warrant Officer 2 Lenggu anak China who was bestowed the medal in 1971. Even though the enemy outnumbered the Security Forces, and having managed to destroy the forward boat, the fighting spirit of Warrant Officer 2 Lenggu anak China was not affected. In fact, it had the opposite effect. With determination and a very high spirit, in the highest traditions of the Ranger Corps, he launched a determined assault single handedly against the enemy. He managed to kill 4 of the enemy. In this action, Warrant Officer Lenggu anak China fell beside the enemy he had killed.

Next is Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan. Captain Chandran received his award for actions on 3 June 1971. Leading a unit of ten men of the 4th Battalion Royal Rangers on a reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of the Ulu Kinta forest in Perak, Captain Chandran happened upon a group of communist insurgents numbering approximately 40 men. This occurred on the tenth day of their mission and 4 hours after they had located the first enemy tracks. Coming under murderous fire after detection by an enemy sentry Captain Chandran rallied his squad and advanced on the enemy. The encounter with the well-entrenched enemy led to the death of Captain Chandran at the age of 27 and he was posthumously awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa.

It is easy to mistaken this award to be presented only to soldier who perish on duty. In actual fact this is not the case at all. One of such recipient that is still alive and well today is Deputy Superintendent Sia Boon Chee. Sia was an Inspector with the Special Branch in Ipoh and was part of the same operations to fight the communist threat. These operations required him to gather intelligence by infiltrating enemy lines, operating in thick jungle, capturing terrorists alive and engaging them in direct battle. He was awarded the SP on June 1, 1983. He retired with the rank of DSP in 1994. He read law the following year and is currently a practicing lawyer.

Interestingly, this honour is not only limited to members of the armed forces alone. The civilian honoured with the medal was Jalil Ibrahim an alum of Royal Military College, between the year 1964-65. Not many remember the bespectacled former student of the Royal Military College who was killed in Hong Kong in July 1983 while investigating a case involving the fraudulent award of RM2.5 billion (then) in loans by Bumiputra Finance Berhad to the Carrian Group controlled by Malaysian businessman George Tan. Jalil Ibrahim was killed by another Malaysian, Mak Foon Than. The case received wide coverage as the names of several Malaysian politicians were dragged in. The Carrian group's spectacular collapse the same year was also to become Hong Kong's largest bankruptcy. To date, he is the only civilian to receive the award.

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