Saturday, April 18, 2009

MORE CAN BE DONE FOR EX-SERVICEMEN – A CHALLENGE FOR THE ARMED FORCES

Yesterday morning after a meeting with friends, I decided to hitch a taxi ride back to office, rather than take the usual LRT.

Upon getting into the taxi, the driver smiled and said that I looked familiar to him. I then asked the driver how long has he been driving a taxi. He replied that he has been a taxi driver for more than 15 years. I quickly looked at his photo pasted in the taxi permit placed at the dashboard, and said that the person in the photo looked like someone I knew when I was working in the Defence Ministry. He smiled and said that the photo in the taxi permit was him, and he too was in Defence Ministry prior to leaving the service. I looked at the driver again, and said that the white scalp cap that he adorns, and the long moustache and unshaven beard, made him looked so different from the photo. And sure enough, the taxi driver was the Regimental Quartermaster Sargeant (RQMS) at the Defence Ministry, whom I had on many occasions met when I was in the ministry in the 80's.

Upon alighting from the taxi and having paid him an extra fare, I began to wonder why has he at the age of 67 still be driving a taxi. And with him being a former RQMS, with a good hands on working experience in managing logistics, he could have been suitably employed in the simple management of logistics in the private sector. And with extra training and exposure in the private sector logistics management, he could be a better employee than those without a previous working experience. He could also be managing his own company by doing simple trading and supplies to the various government departments. After all, his previous employment as the RQMS in the army, is basically that of managing the demand, receipt and distribution of daily supplies and equipments for the various armed forces departments in the ministry.

The experience of a taxi ride with this former soldier has made me to realised that soldiers upon leaving the service should not always end up being a taxi driver or a security guard, but that they can do better, provided that they are counseled and offered the correct courses and training, prior to leaving the military service. And in this regards, PERHEBAT will be the prime agency to ensure that officers and soldiers are offered the correct training and courses to enhance their inherent skills to make them 'marketable' in the private sector, or to be able to fend themselves in managing small businesses.

The armed forces personnels are trained in a number of skills and expertise, to be able to operate, maintain and repair machineries, electronics, avionics and many other assorted equipments. Besides these skills, even sea divers from the navy and special forces units can be usefully employed in the oil and gas industry, for instance. And those who are welders, and with enhanced training and certification, will be the most sought people in the oil and gas industry, that fetches them a fat salary.

There are today many such experienced personnel in the armed forces with the aforesaid skills and expertise. But where are they upon leaving the military service? This is an obvious waste of talented, skilled and highly disciplined armed forces personnel that can be usefully employed into the various private industries upon them leaving the military service. But why isn't the armed forces making a serious effort to harness these skills and expertise, and help channel them into the correct post military employment? In this regards, PERHEBAT and LTAT in particular, need to do some serious soul searching, to ensure that these armed forces personnel upon leaving are better employed and successful in their post military employment.

Taxi drivers and security guards should be made the last of all employable jobs for armed forces personnel upon leaving the service. And this will be the primary challenge for the armed forces to ensure that this does not happen any more. Will the armed forces take up this challenge?


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

7 comments:

mangchikla said...

I wonder f u'll be surprised that many of the serving SNCOs that i knew of are taxi drivers after office hours.

eli said...

PERHEBAT has to revisit its stretegic objectives; train and prepare ex-servicemen to be marketable in the job market;and to servive in the civilian environment.

maurice said...

Part of the problem is on the issue of their own choice rather than of government policy.

Many choose lesser demanding jobs because they do not want any responsibility when they are out of the Armed Forces.

For example, I was told the average earning of a taxi driver in KL is between RM1,500-RM2,000.For the RQMS, together with his RM1,000 pension, he would be earning between RM2,500-RM3,000.00 a month.The amount is perhaps adequate for his needs with free medical care provided by the government for him and his family.So why go for more demanding jobs when it is not really that neccesary?

I agree LTAT could do more to optimize the potential of ex-servicemen to be successful owners of small entreprises.

mohamad said...

Your article has really touched my heart. I fully understand your sentiments as an ex-soldier but how many organisations and citizens in this country share the same feelings and commit themselves to assist the retired military? The answer.... very few!

I suppose this is the prize we have to pay when living in a peaceful country where the services of those brave ones are seldom appreciated and remembered!

In our small organisation we have an ex-army sargeant who has four school going kids, an ex-army Regimental Sargeant Major and two retired Majors, all jobless before joining. They are well trained, good disciplined and very loyal citizens. I have the same question, " why such a precious group of very well trained and displined people have not been employed before?"

How I wish the government takes positive steps to ensure that these retired soldiers, seamen and airmen who have sacrificed their lives for the country are not neglected.

MINDEF needs to "synchronise" the plans and activities of Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran, LTAT, PERHEBAT and PBTM in making sure they go for the common objective of getting majority of ex-military employed.

Let us show our appreciation for their sacrifices to the country and offer our "thank you" to them.

komando said...

Soldiers of this country is used and left to fend for themselves..period !

At 18 yrs old you sign up serve the King and country for 21-22 yrs as an OR.

After that it is your own business!

At 40-45yrs old think carefully what are his choices ?

Worst off, if he is a foot soldier an infantryman!

What trade does he has?

Technically and specialist courses are limited to a few, not all!

Brother officers, please face realities of this world, we are in a different pool..!

A soldier retires and need to feed his kids, school them, and meet all daily needs.Is it enough with the high cost now? How much pension has he?

They have to think of even sending kids to the university, where are the funds coming from? If scholarships are not available!

I had an ex-RSM working as a company driver ! Can you imagine, at 60yrs old ! His pension is the old scheme, do you think it is sufficient ?

Can the government do something ? Yes if they are serious and if they think of the true WARRIORS, ONCE THAT SERVED THE KING AND COUNTRY PROUDLY, RISKED THEIR LIVES, SACRIFICED THEIR BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS..... SEPARATED FROM LOVED ONES FOR MONTHS, LIVED A HARD LIVE IN THE BUSH!

THE SO CALLED SPORTS HEREOS ARE GIVEN BIG PENSIONS..BIG BONUSES..BIG PIECES OF LAND...BIG ALLOWANCES...ALL FREE TRAVEL...

"JUST TO WIN A MEDAL!"

OLD SOLDIERS, THEY ARE STILL ALIVE AND WHO CARES, REALLY WHO?
IS IT THEIR FAULT THAT THEY HAVE LONG LIVES?

THINK ABOUT IT GENTLEMAN!

ArshadRaji said...

Dear All,

I sincerely thank and value the comments from all my readers. I have spoken to the head of human resource at army HQ, and will soon be speaking to the other two services. Certainly, PERHEBAT and LTAT plays a vital role in this regards, and with the new PERHEBAT Chairman, surely something better can be done for our ex-servicemen.

Haezrikal said...

Dato,
Continue writing. We will always be behind you with your noble write up.

The Ministry of Defence must ensure that every project or tender awarded must be complimented with a certain percentage of ex servicemen as staff or equity in the company.

NO MORE TAXI DRIVERS BUT TAXI OPERATORS