Responding to robbery left deep impression

Mr Mohammed Azhar Yusof is Deputy Assistant Commissioner (NS) of Police, the highest rank attained by a Malay NSman in the police.
Mr Mohammed Azhar Yusof is Deputy Assistant Commissioner (NS) of Police, the highest rank attained by a Malay NSman in the police.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

In 1992, then 19-year-old national serviceman Mohammed Azhar Yusof found himself at the scene of an armed robbery.

During a stint at the Central Division of the police force, he had to respond to a robbery of a Chinatown goldsmith shop by two men armed with semi-automatic pistols and grenades. One of the gunmen died after being shot by a Cisco guard. The incident left an indelible impression on Mr Azhar, now Deputy Assistant Commissioner (NS) of Police, the highest rank attained by a Malay NSman in the police.

"I realised the important work that Home Team officers do. We cannot afford to make a mistake on the front line because lives are at stake," he said.

To add another notch in his belt, Mr Azhar will be the Parade Commander in the inaugural Home Team Show for all four nights.

While he was part of the 1992 National Day Parade as a guard-of-honour for the police contingent, this will be his first time commanding a public parade on the scale of this year's Home Team Show, which will be in front of an audience of 20,000 and telecast live.

On what he thinks is most meaningful about the inaugural show element this year, Mr Azhar said: "There's added significance with it being NS50 and 20 years of Home Team. I am hopeful that the show will enlighten people more on what they can do in their own capacity, by inspiring them with what Home Team officers do every day of their lives on the front line."

The 44-year-old is currently a senior lecturer at the National Institute of Education. He is married with a daughter aged 10 and a son aged six.

His son is keen to walk in his father's footsteps.

"My son always imitates the parade commander when we watch the National Day Parade. He wears my police cap and waves his toy sword. I hope he will become someone who safeguards Singapore's interests in the future as well," said Mr Azhar.

For now, Mr Azhar intends to focus on preserving his voice in anticipation of the upcoming parade.

Selina Xu

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 14, 2017, with the headline 'Responding to robbery left deep impression'. Print Edition | Subscribe