HISTORY: Sikhs not involved in S'pore mutiny

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I REFER to Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi's letter "Setting record straight on Sikh history in Malaya" (NST, Feb 8).

In it, he refuted the impression that Sikhs of the Malay State Guides were involved in a 1915 mutiny against the British in Singapore.

He said the mutiny was by Sepoys of the 5th (Rajput) Light Infantry Regiment. My own research shows him to be correct.

Members of the 5th Light Infantry, together with members of the Johor Military Force, were guarding German prisoners-of-war at Tanglin Barracks, Singapore.

The Germans were probably from the warship Emden, which raided Penang a few weeks earlier. It is possible that the Germans had instigated the Rajput Sepoys to mutiny.

At least three members of the JMF were killed by the mutineers. Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar Al-Masyhur Abu Bakar of Johor, as commanding officer of the JMF, personally led a detachment of his army into Singapore to help the British put down the mutiny.

The JMF captured several mutineers trying to escape into Johor. About 40 mutineers surrendered to the sultan. It was said the sultan ordered that the surrendering mutineers be given food before sending them to prison.

The sultan and a few other JMF officers were later decorated by the British for their actions.

The 1915 Singapore Mutiny was committed by Sepoy soldiers.


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