Thursday, October 1, 2009


On Tuesday September 29th 2009, PM Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak announced at a Hari Raya gathering with soldiers at Port Dickson that the town will be named ‘Port Dickson the Army Town’. My spontaneous response to this announcement is thank you and no thanks, and having to make the announcement on the same day as the naming of Isa Samad as the BN candidate for the up-coming Bagan Pinang by-election, makes it so obvious that the pronouncement is an election gimmick. I do not know what other ‘goodies’ will be announced following the renaming of Port Dickson.

This is the perception that I get and please do not blame me for this, and I suppose many others would have a similar perception. How does this pronouncement impact upon the soldiers, knowing full well that Port Dickson have been synonymous with the army since the formation of the first experimental company of the Royal Malay Regiment on March 1st 1933, and the subsequent expansion of the regiment to form the 1st Battalion Royal Malay Regiment. In fact the army has its roots in Port Dickson, and thousands of the soldiers children were born in Port Dickson. I too served in Port Dickson in 1976 and we had our youngest child that year.

Having talked to some old army friends who have fond memories and affiliation with Port Dickson, either as a result of their marriage with the ladies of the town, or having some of their children born at Port Dickson, have preferred that the town be named Bandar Askar Melayu Diraja, as opposed the Army Town (Bandar Tentera Darat) as announced by PM Najib. They argued that the birth place of the Royal Malay Regiment is in Port Dickson and the army blossomed out of this regiment.

There was also a suggestion that Port Dickson be named after an outstanding and renowned soldier of the Royal Malay Regiment who had sacrificed his life in battle, and a name like Lieutenant Adnan Saidi comes to mind. Another suggestion would be to name the town after one of the Malay Rulers who had been instrumental in furthering the cause for the establishment of the regiment to the British colonialist in the late 1920’s.

If at all the Defence Ministry finds it necessary to name a particular town or place that is historically link with the army, then the town of Sg. Besi should be named Bandar Tentera Darat.

Sg. Besi town grew out of a British Military Garrison soon after the Second World War and it was active as a base for British troops during the First Malayan Emergency. Remnants of the garrison can still be found close to the Chinese grave yard. The town is well known to most military officers, particularly those of the army for this was where they were trained as army cadets, and who later graduated to become army officers.

Presently, Sg Besi is home to the several army units/formation and military training establishment, notably the Headquarters Army Field Command, Army Institute for Communications, Army School of Music, Malaysian National Defence University and the famous Royal Military College.

I do hope that the suggestions brought forth in this article will be given due thought and consideration by the Defence Ministry in its effort to promote and to give due credence to the Malaysian Armed Forces.



nxforget said...

I'm just wondering how is renaming or labeling a town can uplift the status of the people living there.

The way I look at it, PD has been progressing quite well since the first time I pass through in early 70's. So, by renaming or with new label, would it be a catalyst for a quantum leap in the socioeconomic status, do our dear PM care to elaborate.

Why need to declare it when there's election. It's just an indication that our government is doing things on ad-hoc basis or just lip service. Where are the development fund coming from or it has compromise development of other areas. Sigh !!! our government only knew to initiate projects and end-up into scandals, very sad indeed.

abdulhalimshah said...

A rose called by any other name will just smell as sweet, so the saying goes. Port Dickson need no change in name because it is synonymous with the Garrison and as the birthplace of RAMD.
What needs to be done for the PD population is to enhance the quality of life there. The so-called mammoth project to ensure that pollution is checked by installing a proper sewage treatment plant has been kept in abeyance for decades, and the indiscriminate beachfront blockade by highrise apartments had marred the free access to the beaches which to all intents and purpose are public property. The only public access to the beaches is in Teluk kemang. By allowing private property to be developed along the fine sandy beaches, the less privileged have no free access to the sea. PD is actually a dead town except during school holidays and weekends. The haphazard and bad execution of the town planning blueprint must cease altogether. If ever the name of PD as the "Army Town" is to have a meaning, then the Royal Military College should be relocated in PD as it was there when it was first established as the " Federation Military College ".

2Lt Peh Hoo Guan said...

should've declare this earlier on 1st of March this year to commemorate the Army Day. politicians don really care much on recognising PD as Army Town... it's just happened to be a coincidence that by-election is to be held in the right place but in the wrong time.

Anyway, It's good to have an Army Town now, to commemorate the significant of PD as the birthplace of our warriors.

last time whn the declaration of Lumut as Navy Town were made, i started to wonder whether PD, Sg. Besi, or Ulu Tiram would be declared as Army Town.

FMZam said...

Is there any meaning if PD is Army Town or Soldiers' Town and Lumut is Navy Town or for that matter any town is named after whatever military thing, when there are many more towns can be named with anything that is military that can make we all so excited when some big shot used it to excite himself in seeing we are so easily excited in just the glamour and glory of commemoration, and commemorating what, when the glory is only in names and is made used by a glory boy whose only mean is to seek a new glory for himself?

Before Najib called PD Army Town, PD has been called Army Town by we all soldiers and the people, so where else towns you want Najib to declare as what military town you want to call and you better start asking Najib to plan for many more commemoration events in future so as to excite us with that, and we will be happy with that and for that we will give our military votes to him?

Why are we falling into the pitfall of "misglorification" when past glories are all history that have not made us learnt to be a better army of today?

I don't know Lt Adnan was a hero of Port Dickson to glorify Port Dickson as the town of Askar Melayu, but I sure know hell of Lt Adnan was the hero of Pasir Panjang and Pasir Panjang was where our hero fell in that historic battle and Pasir Panjang is in Singapore. Lt Adnan is not a hero for just Askar Melayu, he is a hero for all us soldiers. In war, bravery is commonplace and Pasir Panjang was where all other Askar Melayu soldiers were heroes and their names should well be remembered alongside Lt Adnan, and they were soldiers.

And had we done anything better for those heroes who had fought well and died in Pasir Panjang to commemorate the history that can well be remembered by all soldiers other than making only Lt Adnan an icon for just Askar Melayu? We even have no bother whatsoever to ever give them all any posthumous award like we have done it to many dead icons? Have we? All we did was to name a fighting vehicle after Lt Adnan and that fighting vehicle is giving Adnan a bad name. Is that how we commemorate our hero?

Stop all these nonsense, stop making use of military for propaganda purposes until we are blinded by the situation that military leaders are so corrupt to live for their political masters rather than live and die for their soldiers.

FMZam said...

Askar Melayu can do whatever they want to glorify themselves but don't think that the army can fight and win by just Askar Melayu alone. Where we are supposed to fight as an army of all units not just the infantry so stop being overboard with your boasting of one particular unit as legendary to bravery and glory.

It's like Najib said it what is the point of being popular and winning party election when you cannot win the people's election.

And what is good with our army if it is only the infantry units are all good while other units are all bad. It will be a laughing stock to our enemy. To other countries they see our army not as Malaysian Infantry, but as Malaysian Army. And if the only thing good about Malaysian Army is only the infantry, our enemy doesn't have to commit their infantry into battles but enough by just fire their area weapon from far away to wipe out our infantry before we can reach our objective.

Do not boast so much on Askar Melayu because warfighting is a team work. And what is there to be proud of Askar Melayu just because Askar Melayu was born earlier and are many and other units are few, that to say, Askar Melayu is great in quantity but what is of quality and of efficiency without the supports of other units?

And you think our enemy is so afraid of Askar Melayu? Stop harbouring the attitude of becoming a Juara Kampung, Askar Melayu please.