Adnan Saidi

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Adnan bin Saidi
آدنان بن سيدي

SM, DM, WM, Best Recruit (RMR)
Adnan Saidi 1942.jpg
Adnan Saidi in 1942 or earlier
Born1915 (1915)
Sungai Ramal, Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Federated Malay States, Malaya (now Malaysia)
Died(1942-02-14)14 February 1942 (aged 27)
Pasir Panjang, Colony of Singapore, Straits Settlements (now Singapore)
Allegiance Royal Malay Regiment
Years of service1933–1942
Rank1933 – Corporal [ citation needed ]
1935 – Platoon Sergeant [ citation needed ]
1937 – Colour Sergeant [ citation needed ]
1941 – 2nd Lieutenant [ citation needed ]
Unit7th Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Malay Brigade
Battles/wars Battle of Pasir Panjang
AwardsBest Recruit in the Malay Regiment
1939-1945 Star
Defence Medal (United Kingdom)
War Medal 1939-1945
Spouse(s)Sophia binte Pakir
ChildrenMokhtar bin Adnan
Zainudin bin Adnan

Adnan bin Saidi (Jawi: آدنان بن سيدي; 1915 – 14 February 1942) was a Malayan military officer of the 1st Infantry Brigade who fought the Japanese at the Battle of Pasir Panjang in Singapore during World War II. He is considered a national hero in Singapore and Malaysia for his actions during the battle. His name is also the namesake for the Malaysian Infantry Fighting Vehicle (MIFV).


Personal life

Adnan was born of Minangkabau descent in Sungai Ramal near Kajang, Selangor, Malaya. He was the eldest child in his family. His younger brothers, Ahmad and Amarullah, were also soldiers. Ahmad was killed in action after his ship, HMS Pelanduk, was sunk by the Japanese en route to Australia. Amarullah survived the war and now resides in Kajang, Selangor.

Adnan married Sophia Pakir (died 1949), a teacher. They had six daughters who died soon after birth, and two sons: Mokhtar, and Zainudin, who lives in Johor. Mokhtar recalled that his father "did not talk a lot", was "a strict man and believed in discipline", and was "always serious and fierce ... yet had a good heart. There seemed to be a 'light' illuminating his face." [1]

Battle of Pasir Panjang

In 1942, Adnan led a 42-strong platoon from the Malay Regiment to defend Singapore from the invading Japanese Imperial Army. They fought at Pasir Panjang Ridge in the Bukit Chandu ("Opium Hill") area between 12 and 14 February. [2] Despite being heavily outnumbered, Adnan refused to surrender and urged his men to fight to the end. They held off the Japanese for two days amid heavy enemy shelling from artillery and tanks, as well as chronic shortages of food, medical supplies and ammunition. On the last day of the battle, Adnan and his men were left with only a few grenades and had to fight the Japanese with their bayonets in brutal hand-to-hand combat. Adnan was shot but he continued fighting.

During the battle Adnan identified Japanese soldiers who were attempting to infiltrate the Malay Regiment's base in disguise as "Punjabi soldiers", [3] who were marching four abreast (Japanese style) instead of three (British style). [4]

Capture and death

Although it is widely understood that Adnan was killed during the Battle of Pasir Panjang, the exact details surrounding his death differed between accounts from both sides of the war. The actual mode of execution was never officially recorded.

The Imperial Japanese Army's official account indicated that Adnan was executed and then hung upside down from a cherry tree after two days of stubborn retaliation and refusal to surrender. (Other accounts suggest that he might have been tied to the tree and repeatedly bayoneted to death. [4] [5] ) British accounts confirmed that his corpse was found hung upside down after the surrender and this has been repeated in a number of authoritative texts on the Malayan Campaign.


Adnan is considered a national hero in Singapore and Malaysia due to his courageous and valiant actions at the Battle of Pasir Panjang. [6]

War Memorial

A war memorial plaque honouring Adnan and the Malay Brigade was erected by Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, in 1995 at Vigilante Drive, Kent Ridge Park, Singapore. [7]

A colonial-era bungalow at Bukit Chandu was converted into Reflections at Bukit Chandu, an interpretative centre about the Battle of Pasir Panjang. [8]

The Art in Transit programme of Pasir Panjang MRT station, titled Lieutenant Adnan, by Ho Tzu Nyen, features mock posters all around the station and lift shaft for a fictional movie about Adnan, who is portrayed by Singaporean actor Aaron Aziz. [9]

Portrayal in film

Adnan was portrayed by Malaysian actor Hairie Othman in the 1999 film Leftenan Adnan . [10]

He was also portrayed by an unknown Malay actor in the 2001 Singaporean television series A War Diary .

Aaron Aziz also portrayed Adnan in an episode of the 2004 historical series Life Story from Mediacorp Channel 5, which also covers his personal life. [11]

In May 2016, a Singaporean actor Fadhlur Rahman also played as Adnan in Heroes: Battle of Bukit Chandu aired by Mediacorp Channel 5, Channel 8, Suria, Vasantham and Channel News Asia. In the episodes, there were interviews with Adnan's granddaughter Wan Sofia Zainuddin.

Singapore's Bicentennial 1819-2019

On June 5, 2019, on Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Singapore's 8th President Halimah Yacob launched commemorative notes featuring Lt. Adnan Saidi along with 7 others in a $20 commemorative notes marking Singapore's Bicentennial celebration, 1819-2019 edition. [12]

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  1. "Biography – Lt. Adnan Saidi, 1915 – 1942, Infantry Officer, War Hero by Liza Sahid in 1995". Habitat News – National University Singapore. 9 September 1995. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  2. The Battle of Pasir Panjang Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi". Singapore Heroes. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  4. 1 2 Lieutenant Adnan bin Saidi and The Malay Regiment Archived 12 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "bosmalay4.html".
  6. "Adnan bin Saidi". Badass of the Week. Backroom Productions, Inc. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  7. Sahid, Liza. "Biography – Lt. Adnan Saidi" . Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Leftenan Adnan Saidi" . Retrieved 9 January 2015.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. Life Story Archived 23 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine , Channel 5 12 September 2006. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
  12. | A war hero, Singapore River and gold, Channel News Asia June 5, 2019