At long last, a new Malaysian Armed Forces, Officers Mess at the Ministry of Defence, will finally be constructed to replace the old and dilapidated Officers Mess that was build during the colonial era.
I remembered writing personally to the Minister of Defence, Dato Seri Najib in 2001, explaining to him the poor state of the officers mess and that the Armed Forces deserve a new officers mess. I was sadden at the sight of the officers mess, especially the officers rooms, which are constructed of wooden structures, most of which are being infested by white ants and crumbling. I had the courage to write to the minister because I was already retired then, and I know that I will not be reprimanded by the generals in the Army.
I was pleasantly surprise to received a reply from Dato Seri Najib a few weeks later noting the contents of my letter, and that he will do the necessary to remedy the situation. He did write to say that an allocation of RM30 million will be set aside for the construction of a new officers mess.
A few days ago, I received a call from a serving army officer telling me that the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the new officers mess was launched by Dato Seri Najib on August 4, 2008. He told me that the design is likened to a 5 star hotel with enough amenities for its occupants, and for those who frequent the officers mess. It has more than 300 rooms and a banquet hall to accommodate 1000 people. From the building description that I obtained from the officer, the total cost of construction far exceeds RM30 million, and I believe no serving military officer will complain, if what the Armed Forces will get is the best that the government could offer.
Although it took almost 7 years to realized the assurance that Dato Seri Najib had made in his reply to my letter, I would still like to sincerely thank him for fulfilling that assurance. I can assure the minister that I and my wife will be a frequent visitor to the officers mess once it is ready.