The Royal Malay Regiment Officers Club (RMDOC) whose Malay acronym is KPRAMD, held its 15th Annual General Meeting, Saturday 6th 2008 at the Officers Mess of the Royal Signal Regiment, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. KPRAMD was formed past a decade ago, primarily to perpetuate a lasting bondage and the espirit de corps among its members, that comprise of both retired and serving officers of the Royal Malay Regiment.
I somehow missed attending the last AGM for unknown reason, but was reminded consistently by the club’s secretariat via sms to make my presence at the AGM this year, and which I did. My willingness to attend is not so much about the meeting, but it is about meeting old friends, a majority of whom were my superiors. I could refer all of them as friends now, because we no longer classify individual members by class or seniority. All are collectively referred to as retirees.
The AGM was graced by General Tun Ibrahim Ismail, the club’s patron and an outstanding soldier, whose contribution to the nation and the Armed Forces in particular, is second to none. He was the person who during the riots of May 13, 1969, was offered by Tun Razak Hussein to administer the troubled nation, but only to refuse it and said that “ as a soldier, I am not trained to run a government” or words to that effect. Those words has remained embedded in the minds of all officers of the Armed Forces till today, where loyalty and unquestioned servitude is towards King and country only.
Many issues were raised at the AGM, ranging from ‘regimental issues’ affecting the corps and the Army, to a hint concerning the political landscape troubling the country today. I am glad that a mention is made of the latter, because I strongly believe that the Armed Forces being a ‘tool’ of the government, has to be fully conscious of its primary role, and not to indulge itself in roles that will incriminate itself as the defender of the sovereignty of the nation. It is for this reason that I had in an earlier article in this blog, stated my wholesome disagreement to the ‘indiscriminate’ use of the Army in Public Duties, should a worsening public order situation develops as a result of the current fiasco brewing among the political circles today.
One striking issue that was raised by a senior members, was with regards to what he implies as ‘indifference attitude’ of the government towards the Armed Forces, and in particular to the Royal Malay Regiment, in recognizing the services of the latter towards the maintenance of defence and security of the nation. Matters relating to the club were raised up to the Ministry of Defence, with them promising to support the club of some of its request. But what the club got later were unfulfilled promises. Someone remarked..”masuk telinga kiri, keluar telinga kanan”. This is how the government views the club members, in recognition for their loyalty and service to the nation.
The Royal Malay Regiment has been in the forefront of defence and security during the 2nd World War, the 1st and 2nd Emergency, the period of confrontation and the May 13 incident. Hundreds have died in the line duty; and the Royal Malay Regiment has sworn never to forsake its duties and responsibilities to defend the country to its very last drop of blood.
The club, I am told, is fortunate enough to receive some goodwill from LTAT, and from some generous members, in the form of cash donation. This is the only source of income to the club. I don’t think there is any monetary contribution by the government to club activities, but the spirit to survive has endured the club to remain in existence till this day.
The present club house is an old government quarters, that can be taken back at a stroke of a pen by anyone from the government. In other words, the club is at the mercy of the government. And is this the way soldiers are treated for their loyalty and service to the motherland? I think politicians in this country gets better treatment, and I suppose this is the very reason why many aspire to become politicians……even for some gatekeeper.
At the end of the meeting, Tun Ibrahim in his casual self, reminded the members to remain steadfast as loyal members of the club; to continue to grow in membership in the hope that one day, the club will be strong with a voice, and be recognized by all and sundry.