SEREMBAN, MALAYSIA - The last surviving veteran of the Battle of Pasir Panjang, Private Ujang Mormin, died of Covid-19 at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor at 5.05pm on Tuesday (Feb 9), almost exactly 79 years after the Japanese empire executed the final stage of its invasion of Singapore during World War II.
Pte Ujang was 100 years old and his grand-niece, Ms Lailawati Jamil, 59, confirmed his death to Bernama news agency when contacted on Tuesday.
Pte Ujang was admitted to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on Jan 26 after testing positive for Covid-19. Four days before his death, his condition turned critical.
"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," Ms Lailawati said.
The Health Ministry was making funeral arrangements for the combat veteran, and he was expected to be buried in the Royal Malay Regiment Cemetery in Port Dickson.
Fondly remembered as "Tok Ujang", Pte Ujang hailed from Kampung Kundur in Rembau, Bernama reported.
He served as an army private with the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment after joining the British Army in 1939, and underwent basic training until 1941. The same year, he was deployed to the Gap Ridge in Singapore.
When Japanese troops advanced towards Pasir Panjang Ridge on Feb 13, 1942, sparking off the historic Battle of Pasir Panjang, Pte Ujang fought bravely alongside war hero, Lieutenant Adnan Saidi, in an attempt to repel the invading force.
However, despite the valiant effort, Singapore fell to Japan on Feb 15 that year in what is considered to be one of the greatest military defeats in the history of the British Empire.