Thursday, July 10, 2008

GEN TUN IBRAHIM - THE MALAY WORRIOR

At long last, the book titled 'Ibrahim - The Malay Worriers' was finally launched by Dato Seri Najib, Minister of Defence on Wednesday, 9th July 2008. The book chronicled the life history of General Tun Ibrahim Ismail, beginning with his exploits as a young officer in the Indian Army, his participation in the 2nd World War, the Malayan emergency, the period of the Indonesia - Malaysia Confrontation and finally the May 13, 1969 racial riots. Having served the entire period of the 2nd World War, held various command assignments and later on as the Chief Executive Officer, National Operations Council (NOC) during the May 13 racial riots, he therefore has no comparison to any other military officers alive today. He is a 'historical masterpiece' of the Malaysian Armed Forces that shall long be remembered.

If I can recall, Tun Ibrahim first launched his book in August 13, 2005 at the Putra International Convention Centre, Putrajaya, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In his speech, Dato Seri Abdullah who served NOC as a staff officer, had admitted to have 'feared' in Tun.

Allow me this opportunity to relate a story that I had with Tun, who was than the Director of Operations East Malaysia (DOPEM), with its headquarters in Kuching, Sarawak.

This was in the year of 1967. I was then a platoon commander in charge of a detachment located at Bekalalan, Sarawak, Our mission was to monitor the movement of Indonesians into Sarawak through the porous border of Kalimantan and Sarawak.

I was on a foot patrol one morning, passing through several long houses located along winding tracks and rivers. Upon reaching Long Rusu, approximately 30 minutes walking distance from my base camp, I heard overhead the sound of a helicopter flying towards the direction of my base camp. A few minutes later, I was called over the radio to inform me that DOPEM has landed at my base camp. I was shocked, because I was not told earlier by my battalion headquarters based at Long Pasia, about the visit.

With hearts pounding, I raced home through the jungle tracks, well ahead of my soldiers. All the time, I was imagining the scolding that I will be getting from DOPEM for being absent during his arrival. Upon arrival at my base camp, short of breath and still in a daze as to what I should say to DOPEM, there ahead of me was DOPEM with his ADC (Capt Latiff Ahmad) smiling. I could not believe in what I saw....but I thanked god for showing kindness in the heart of my distinguished visitor.
That little smile that he gave me was enough for me to regain my composure and strength. Before I could salute him, he extended his hands to congratulate me for my good work in maintaining the cleanliness of my camp. The visit has to be short, because DOPEM ha to fly back before the clouds closed in.

I am in possession of a signed copy of Tun's book and having read it, I would recommend that the book be read by all officers of the Armed Forces, and be kept a copy each.

4 comments:

Nochan said...

Last Days of Tan Sri Dr Johari Mohd Daud

Other than being a distinguished General, this is a note of the kind, humble and concerned nature of a good neighbour in Tun Ibrahim as I had experienced

On the morning of August 4, 2006, I had a call my cousin from Johannuddin asking for assistance to secure a military ambulance to ferry his father to Gleneagles Intan Hospital as he had a bad fall in the bathroom and obviously in great pain. Only the military had such an ambulance that is patient friendly. I replied that I could not be of much help as I had left the army more than 27 years ago and none could possibly entertain my request. The obvious choice would be to get their neighbour’s assistance in Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail whose one call would make the military jump at his request.

Johannuddin did just that and he got the ambulance to ferry my uncle to the hospital.

I visited my uncle that evening after returning from the office and saw that he was in great pain as he had broken his hipbone. The doctor could not carry out an immediate operation, as he was diabetic. He died on 06 September without leaving the ICU. He was 88.

My uncle’s body received the funeral bath in his bathroom since renovated to cater for this eventuality. After the jenazah prayers before the body left the house and put in the hearse Megat Mizan his son-in-law, spoke to the congregation seeking forgiveness for the any harm or misdeed that the decease had done to anybody and sought anybody who had any claims to make on the decease to see any member of the family.

At was at this time that I related about the ambulance story to Gen Tun Ibrahim who was standing close by the hearse. He smiled and informed me that he was worried too when asked to help as he too was not sure of the military reaction. He was so relieved when the ambulance came.

maurice said...

I never had the opportunity of serving Tun Ibrahim directly during my military career.

When I joined the Army in 1967, Tun was already the GOC in Kuching.The impression that I had of Tun in the early years of my career: he was a strict disciplinarian, fierce and no-nonsense commander.

We admire his military leaderships and the immense contributions he made as head of the military in the National Security Council in the difficult times following the May 13 tragedy.

The Royal Military College and National Defence Academy should make our beloved Tun Ibrahim as a case study to train our cadets in the art of military leadership in the Malaysian setting.

Nochan said...

Tun Ibrahim’s contribution to the country is tremendous. It would be a pity if we do not collect each one of them in proper perfective to enable future generation to evaluate and remember him in posterity.

I have never served him directly. I only know him at a distance. The most direct was only when I was serving as Staff Officer 2 in Armed Forces Council 1973-1975 when he was CAFS. However, each one of us has a story to tell about him.

I do hope somebody could make an effort to introduce a Gen Tun Ibrahim chair in our Defence University as a permanent feature to enable his contributions to be properly tabulated and analysed.

ArshadRaji said...

Nochan Sir,

You proposal to introduce a Tun Gen Ibrahim chair at the National Defence University is an excellent proposition. Maybe, I in my small and humble way can start this initiative.