Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
PETALING JAYA: His codename was Scorpio. He was an ‘invisible’ police officer feared by the communists.
No one knew who the invincible Scorpio was until the surrender of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) in 1989.
He was Special Branch (SB) operative Leong Chee Woh, who hunted top cadres of communist insurgents and penetrated the highest echelon of their leadership.
The hero died from a stroke at his home in Seri Kembangan yesterday. He would have turned 92 on Nov 11.
Scorpio, the moniker given by his handler, refers to Leong’s horoscope that bears the characteristics, “brave, loyal, honest and secretive”.
It has been suggested that Leong, who was bestowed the Panglima Gagah Berani gallantry award, in 2017, may be acknowledged as a foremost strategist of counter insurgency warfare.
The bravery award and a datukship in 2010 came long after his retirement in 1984 as SB deputy director (operations) due to the secrecy of his clandestine operations which were later declassified.
In the 1970s, he led the ultra-secret, E3F or the F Squad, to wage years-long war against subversive elements.
In 13 years, the F Squad, that began with 13 operatives and had no more than 50, captured about 1,500 insurgents and had 48 kills.
The team, that comprised mostly Chinese to counter the Chinese-based CPM, did not suffer a single casualty.
Leong said in an interview that it could have been more than 1,000 kills, but the aim was to capture the rebels and gain intelligence, bring them to justice and rehabilitate them to rejoin mainstream society.
Several retired top senior police officers, in paying tribute to Leong, described him as a patriot and an illustrious son of Malaysia.
They said while many did not know about “this quiet but brave Malaysian”, Leong led an adventurous life in the service of the country.
In salutation of the bravery of Leong, they said, the codename, Scorpio, struck fear into the hearts of communist leadership.
They summed up the feats of Leong with the motto of the F Squad, “Hanya Yang Berani” (Only the Brave), adding “On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your exploits, sir. A day of duty is done, a day of rest has begun”.
In retirement, Leong wrote six books under the Scorpio series on the history of the communist insurgency.
While some of his hair-raising adventures will remain in the deep vault of secrecy of the nation, his books provide an intimate insight into the F Squad’s covert operations that foiled CPM plots against the government.
He wrote that the CPM leadership believed that the SB was the most dangerous and effective part of the Malaysian security forces.
The CPM believed the SB would be crippled and intimidated by the systematic murder of its officers and detectives by highly trained three-man mobile units in the federal capital, he stated.
The assassination of then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Abdul Rahman Hashim in 1974, while being driven to his office in broad daylight, shook the confidence of the government and had a serious effect on morale and determination.
Newly appointed IGP Hanif Omar, assessing the problem with the SB director, decided that the main problem was the weakness of the federal SB contingent and that it needed an officer to reorganise, galvanise and lead that branch.
Leong, who was in charge of the communist affairs division at Bukit Aman, was handpicked. Scorpio was unleashed.
He and his brainchild F Squad, formed in 1971, understood the insurgents and became the covert-operations nerve of the SB.
Leong wrote the communists were relentless in their offensive and bombed the National Monument in Kuala Lumpur in 1975 followed by attacks on security forces and the assassination of SB personnel.
Leong and his crack team then strangled every twist and turn of communist underground activities to roll back the enemy, not merely contain the threat.
The shadowy world of the F Squad, that oversaw the official surrender of the CPM, ended in 1995.
Taiping-born Leong, who joined the police force as a probationary inspector, had declared in his writings that Malaysia was the only country in the world to have defeated militant communism.
He advised Malaysians, especially young people, to appreciate the struggles of those who fought for freedom and peace during the communist insurgency between 1948-1960 and 1970-1989.
*The wake is from 11am today at the Nirvana Memorial Centre in Sungai Besi, followed by his funeral at 10am on Wednesday.
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