Bukit Kepong incident was an armed encounter which took place on 23 February 1950 between the Federation of Malaya Police and the gunmens of Malayan Communist Party during the Malayan Emergency. This conflict took place in an area surrounding the Bukit Kepong police station in Bukit Kepong. The wooden station was located on the river banks of the Muar River, about 59 km from Muar town, Johor.
The incident started just before dawn with the Communist gunmen launching a guerrilla assault on the police station leading to the deaths of almost all of the police officers stationed there. When they began the siege, the attackers strongly believed that they would be able to defeat the policemen and gain control of the police station within a short span of time. This was due to several factors in their favour: their arms and numerical superiority and the relative isolation of the station. The battle began at about 4:15 am.
According to eyewitness accounts, there were about 180 Communists attacking, led by Muhammad Indera, a Malay Communist. Despite the odds, the policemen led by Sgt. Jamil Mohd Shah, refused to surrender, although numerous calls by the communists for them to lay down arms were made. Several officers were killed as the shooting continued and two wives of the defending officers took up arms when they discovered that their husbands fell in battle.
Desperate and alarmed at the defenders' tenacity, the Communists captured one of the officers' wives and threatened her at gunpoint to urge the policemen to surrender. The defenders replied that they would never surrender and continued fighting. Another wife of the officers, Fatimah Yaaba, and her daughter were also forced to do the same. Their refusal then resulted in their execution.
In the final hours of the fierce battle, the Communists set fire to the officers' barracks and station. Two women and their children were burnt to death in the married quarters. At that point only 3 policemen plus a village guard were still alive. They rushed out from the burning station, unable to withstand the heat. They then assaulted the Communists position, killing at least 3 of them.
Only about five hours after the first shot was fired did the communists manage to break their defences and set the place ablaze. They then retreated into the jungle.
14 policemen, 2 civilians, 5 auxiliary policemen, wife of Abu Bakar Daud (one of the surviving policemen), wife of Abu Mohd Ali and two of their children's were killed in the incident. The total number of deaths is 25. Those who survived the bloody encounter were 4 policemen and 9 family members, including their wives and children.
During the attack, reinforcement were sent from Kampung Tui as the battle reverberated throughout several of the nearby villages. A band of villagers led by the village chief Ali Mustafa from Kampung Tui was escorted by 13 Auxiliary policemen. They were ambushed by the Communists en route about half a kilometre away from the station. The villagers were outgunned by the Communists who were using automatic weapons as opposed to rifles and shotguns held by the villagers. Several village guards were wounded and two more auxiliary police officers killed. Although stopped halfway, their presence relieved some pressure of the Bukit Kepong defenders and forced a general Communist retreat.
Due to the lopsided situation, Ali Mustafa ordered his guards to retreat while the rest were asked to defend the perimeter around Bukit Kepong town. The Communists eventually retreated after setting fire to the village office and robbing a few stores.
At the same time, another village guard group came from Kampung Durian Chondong using a sampan heading towards Bukit Kepong to render aid. On the way, they were also ambushed by the Communists. About half of the 7 villagers in the group survived to continue on to Lenga. They arrived there at 10am and that was when the first news of the attack on Bukit Kepong police station was communicated.
When the village guards entered the village, they were able to observe the aftermath of the attack. The village chief took command of the outpost until relieved by a police team from Muar. The battle at Bukit Kepong is considered to be tragic defeat although it strengthened the Government and people's resolve to fight the Communist insurgency. A small force defending against overwhelming odds gave the war against Communist insurgency a massive boost in terms of morale and honour. Some drew comparisons between the Bukit Kepong incident and the Alamo, where the Bukit Kepong policemen, similar to the Texans, came under overwhelming odds and fought to the last man.
- Sergeant 3493 Jamil Bin Mohd Shah (Bukit Kepong police chief)
- Corporal 7068 Mohd Yassin Bin Haji Wahab
- Lance Corporal 7168 Jidin Bin Omar
- Police Constable (PC) 3933 Hamzah Bin Ahmad
- PC 5674 Abu Bin Mohd Ali
- PC 7493 Muhammad Bin Jaafar
- PC 7862 Abu Kadir Bin Jusoh
- PC 8600 Jaafar Bin Hassan
- PC 9136 Hassan Bin Osman
- Extra Police Constable (EPC) 3475 Mohd Tap Bin Lazim
- EPC 3795 Jaafar Bin Arshad
- Marine Constable (MPC) 60 Ibrahim Bin Adam
- MPC 68 Awang Bin Ali
- MPC 181 Basiron Bin Adam
- AP 1925 Ali Akop Bin Othman
- AP 2127 Othman Bin Yahya
- AP 2130 Samad Bin Yatim
- AP 1912 Mahmood Bin Saat
- AP 2098 Redzuan Bin Alias
- Embong Lazim
- Koh Ah Cheng
- Fatimah Binte Yaaba – wife of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
- Hassan Bin Abu Bakar – son of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
- Saadiah – wife of Constable Abu Mohd Ali
- Simah Binte Abu – daughter of Constable Abu Mohd Ali
40 guerilla fighters (names unknown)
- MPC 37 Abu Bakar Bin Daud
- PC 7645 Haji Yusoff Bin Rono (retired within rank of Sergeant, died on 14 April 2005)
- PC 10533 Othman Bin Yusoff
- EPC 3472 Ahmad Bin Khalid
- Mariam Binte Ibrahim – widow of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
- Zainun Binte Muhamad – daughter of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
- Abu Samah Bin Muhammad – son of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
- Zaleha Binte Muhamad – daughter of Constable Muhamad Jaafar
- Jamilah Binte Abu Bakar – daughter of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
- Hussain Bin abu Bakar – son of Marine Constable Abu Bakar Daud
- Fatimah Binte Abdul Manan @ Timah Lawa – widow of Constable Hassan Osman
- Pon Binte Khalid – widow of Marine Constable Awang Ali
- Fatimah Binte Tuani – widow of Constable Hamzah Ahmad
- Edmund Ross Williams Hunt – Orang Asli mountain guide at Bukit Kepong
On 21 August 2011, Mohamad Sabu, Deputy President of PAS, made a controversial statement saying that Mat Indera, the leader of the communists during the Bukit Kepong Incident, was a national hero for fighting against British rule.
Bukit Kepong was a 1981 action film chronicling the events of the conflict; produced and directed by Jins Shamsuddin, who also portrays Sergeant Jamil Mohd Shah.