Though late, I however wish to congratulate you for having rose to the exulted post of the new Chief of Defence Force (CDF) of the Malaysian Armed Forces. I certainly do not know you well enough to personally call you and to congratulate you. But I did post a congratulatory note in my blog on August 29, 2009.
Your rise to the number one slot in the Armed Forces must be in recognition for your outstanding performance and contribution to the nation, while you were the Air Force Chief. And being at the pinnacle of your career now, you can no longer be yourself and to savour the freedom that you once enjoyed when you were a junior officer.
I was told by my superior once that being at the top can be very lonely. Your subordinates no longer feel the freedom, nor will they be at leisure to meet you unless it is for some official purpose. Even if you are at the golf course with them, do not think that your subordinates are at ease playing with you. They enjoy losing the game, not because they are not good at the game, but they lose out of respect for you. This is the privilege that you enjoy and you ought not to blame yourself for this. It is the military culture I suppose i.e respect to a superior is utmost, even at a game of golf.
Now, let me get to the more serious aspect of this letter, the reason for which I do not want you to fall into the things being said of your predecessor that had brought himself and the good name of the Armed Forces to odium, disrepute and be the talk of the town. I know many in the Armed Forces, in particular the Army knows what all he has done, and the reasons why he had to leave in such haste. I am puzzled as to why was there no action taken against him, should he do anything wrong that had brought him and dragged the service to odium.. Was there a fear of retaliation? Or has the rot creeped into the entire system, that it is now beyond redemption?
The burden to raise the good name of the Armed Forces back to its former 'glory' now lies with you. You have to shoulder that responsibility and to do that, you have to have the unequivocal support of all the three service chiefs. You should demand support and loyalty from them, and should they weaver to the detriment of the service, sack them. And for goodness sake, keep a tight watch on the activities of the the three services, because to claim ignorance of any failures found in the three services, is not an acceptable answer to come from the CDF.
You should set the tone by setting good personal examples; exemplary leadership; make firm and fair decisions; discard cronyism; disengage yourself from ever being involved in business or being seen among contractors and business associates; do not allow family members to use you in their business with Mindef; never request favours from any businessmen; be extremely weary of the people around you, and last but not the least, do not ever feel beholden to politicians. Be a professional soldier, and you will gain gratification and respect from your men and the nation.
I seem to be teaching you to suck eggs, but it is better to be sucking eggs than to lose honour and pride of being a member of the Armed Forces by your unsavoury acts.
You may not have access to the talks that lingers outside the corridors of Mindef, but I do. And it is the love that I still have for the Armed Forces that I am force to tell you what ails the Armed Forces under the leadership of your predecessor. Call me a busybody if you want, but I would rather be called that, then to see the Armed Forces slip into decadence.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION