Monday, January 19, 2009


Since retiring from the military service in 1998, I have had several opportunities to work with friends in business that was all alien to me, simply because the military does not teach us to become businessman The remuneration offered is no big deal. But in the process of working, I learnt and saw a lot of what the business world is all about.

If I were to say that the military vocation is stressful, the business world has its own stresses too. Making money for the company is the bottom line in business, but in the case of the military, winning the war is the core business. The military is not concern where the money comes from, for as long as they get the tools to fight.

Today, I have several retired military friends who have gone into business; either as partners or on their own. Some have become rich, and some are still struggling to meet ends. The more senior ones have been appointed Chairmen and Directors of companies (public listed and non public listed), and with some reaping considerable allowances and benefits.

Recently, I met an old friend who last served the naval service in a senior capacity. He too had joined up with a local and foreign companies to package a specialized naval related services; a business proposal that he is technically proficient at.

During the conversation that ensued, he related to me at how difficult it was for him to penetrate the Ministry of Defence as it is a being ‘cartel-controlled’ fitted with a solid and invisible ‘no entry barrier'. Being a retired senior navy staff and knowing the procurement process, he patiently waited for the ministry to tender out the services as in all fairness, it is the government's order of the day. Tender process has always been what he wanted, simply because there are only a few companies in the world that are capable to deliver, and it will provide the end user the option to choose the best, meeting service requirements and at competitive pricing.

Having waited for several months, he was informed that a particular service provider has been called to conduct direct negotiation without tender being called. He was also informed that the price quoted by this particular service provider is few times more than that of other competitors. Upon checking, it was revealed that the services are beyond the core business of the service provider, but nevertheless being specially selected.

What I have tried to describe above, I am told is simply nothing new, and has been a norm in the ministry where jobs that costs millions are offered at the whim of the senior civilian officer. I certainly smell a skunk in this deal, and isn't the senior civilian officer in contravention to rules and regulations that disallows direct negotiations where there are several bidders. And aren’t direct negotiations constitute elements of corrupt practices and abuse of power?

The experience that my retired friend has gone through with the Ministry of Defence is certainly one that is bitter. It is not the question of his proposal being eliminated from the evaluation process, but it is about NOT being given the opportunity at all. There is absolutely no transparency in the procurement process, and the right to make the important decision for the Services seems to be in the hands of this all powerful senior civilian officer. I don't believe that the end user is being fully consulted, or it is too technical for him to understand, but find it easy to justify for direct negotiation.

Is there any option? Will Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) take on the case if my poor friend makes a report?. A test case.

Posted at 1.20am Jan 19, 2009


banjarbp said...


To some of them, Mindef is a gold mine. To a first timer and not knowing the unwritten rules, tunggu sahajalah.

maurice said...

Yes,I agree.Very difficult indeed to penetrate Mindef.But my friends, please do not give up.Continue knocking at their doors,someday an opportunity may come your way.Patience is the mother of virtue.

However, now I am interested in the study of military conflicts.

Our military strategists/planners should take heed of the lessons of the ongoing Gaza conflict.

Apparently the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) have introduced new tactics to fight an Urban Warfare namely: expanded drone aerial reconnaissance, GPS and smart ammunitions delivered by aircraft, tanks and artillery fire against chosen targets, reinforced belly protection for tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles against roadside bombs, F16 aircrafts using Sniper Camera (the pilot can see movement on the ground at 30-60 km away at 10,000-30,000 ft flying altitude), and the use of maximun fire power against sniper positions.

The Urban Warfare tactics developed by the IDF will no doubt be of great interest to progressive-looking Armed Forces around the world including those in our region.

myliere said...


Sickening, isn't it? For a nation claiming to be a Muslim country, our leaders (both civilian and military) seem to have no shame in committing in these despicable acts which clearly go against the religion.

Will it ever end? I truly hope so.

On a lighter note, I consider myself lucky to be able to say that I know you personally all my life, as you are one of Bah’s best friends (or are you rather the husband of Mak’s absolute best friend and kampong mate?). Either way, both you and Datin have been my family’s dear friends since forever.

I stumbled upon this blog today whilst bloghopping (at work, no less - haha) earlier in the morning. It is truly an interesting read. I particularly enjoyed your pieces on your younger days as well as the army stories.

I have always had a keen interest in the military, but not keen enough to join any of the three branches. I am however, thankful that my younger brother Zhafri is in the service now, based in Perlis and serving in the RAJD. We always spend lots of time either on the phone or in person talking about his experiences in the army.

I guess by now you already know who I am. Do continue writing, as I enjoy reading this blog. My regards to Makcik Piah and the rest of your family.


Anonymous said...

Dato, I would absolutely confirmed about the bad practises by the contract awarder in Mindef, and for those exservicemen who aspires to make million out of Mindef projects to stop day dreaming.Contracts being dished out by MIndef was controlled by KSU per se and not by Generals from those days when we are still serving until now.The Military never bother to question this practises or the top gun has a slice of the cake which we dont know.Mindef contracts being dished out by the million but how many exservicemnen benefitted from it?.

One day I attended the Persatuan Bekas Tentera AGM which was officiated by the KSU then, and in his speech he openly said that ex servicemen should not come to Mindef for project/contract as he has nothing to give to exservicemen.May be he is right in a way that is why I never go back to Mindef for project and I never set my foot again in Mindef to beg for contract.

Mindef is not the only Ministries in Malysia therefore never give up
hope.There are several KSUs elsewhere who are very kind to exservicemen who confers project based on merit and not on favouritism,corruption or cronism except Mindef.Somebody told me the present KSU wife is a businesswomen it true..........I dont know.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Readers,

Thank you all for your comments. I am encouraged to note your support to damn these corrupt officials. I am fully informed of the activities of these corrupt officials, and am willing to stick my neck to get to the root of it all. You just have to wait, cause there will be more that I will write.

eli said...

Dear Dato'

Please get more to spill the beans. Afterall, there is nothing to lose. GOD will not protect those corrupt Government servants.

Anonymous said...

Dato, well done we Malaysian must have the courage to change for the better "to err is human and to forgive is not our policy" perhaps you should start with Bahgian Pembangunan (Darat) Mindef, I heard there are lots of worm inside there.The 3 rogue from Mindef,Army and JKR work in cohort to syphon millions and distribute projects to their cronies under the guise of open tenders but in reality everything is being tailored toward certain companies "wallahualam".Please check...........