Sunday, October 18, 2009

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ARMED FORCES MUSEUM?

I attended a breakfast gathering of retired officers of the Armed Forces this morning at a restaurant in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur. The range includes retirees from the rank of Major to a Four Star General. Formalities were thrown out of the window, and everyone had some exciting stories to tell that generally centered around the happenings in the Armed Forces today. Some of the attendees had left the service for more than two decades, but yet they recall how proud they were to have served the Armed Forces.

Among the issues discussed that immediately struck my interest is regarding the closure of the Armed Forces museum that was located within the Mindef complex. I had visited the museum several times before, and I am surprised that it no longer exist. I began to question the reason why was it closed, and what will be the fate of the museum that had a fine collection of historical artifacts of military interest? I recalled seeing a complete uniform of the former Chief of Defence Force Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail on display, but could not remember seeing it on display at the Army Museum at Port Dickson.

To me the uniform of Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail is significant, as he is the sole surviving military officer who had seen service during World War 2, the Malayan Emergency and Malaysian/Indonesian Confrontation. He is still very much alive today, and I think he would be extremely upset if he knows that his uniform is no longer on display at the Armed Forces museum.

I then started to do a 'search' with regards to the history of the Armed Forces museum, and the reason for its disclosure.

The Armed Forces museum was first mooted by Gen Tan Sri Ghazali Seth who was then the CDF back in later part of 1980's, supposedly out of his own personal interest to bring back and relive the history of the Armed Forces for future generation. The museum started in an officers quarters located along Lorong Kubu in the Mindef camp complex. If I could recall, retired Brig Gen Dato Kalam Azad was involved in the initial setting up of the museum, and the first museum curator was the late Lt Kol Nik Ibrahim who in 1978 was a student with me at the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College. The museum later moved to its new location next to the main Mindef office complex, and the museum have attracted thousands of visitors; foreign and locals.

Sometime early this year, an instruction for the closure of the Armed Forces museum was issued, reportedly from the office of the CDF. I am told that the site where the museum is located is to be used for the construction of a new complex for the Armed Forces Court Martial Center (I think something similar to the Palace of Justice). The person that I had talked to, is not able to confirm whether there was any plan to built a new Armed Forces museum to replace the existing one.

In view of the construction of the Court Martial Center, all museum artifacts were distributed to the three services for them to display at their respective museums. I do not know if the Air Force and the Navy has its own museum.

Seriously, I am puzzled as to what was in the mind of the powers that be, to have send the Armed Forces museum to its grave. Once again, the ignorance of history and the love to perpetuate it, clearly is absent in the heart and mind of who-so-ever made the decision to close the museum. Much money that has been spent to raise and develop the museum, has now gone to waste through sheer ignorance and a disregard for history.

Or was the decision to close the museum and construct the Armed Forces Court Martial Center motivated by something else, other than solely for military interest and professionalism? I put this question to the present leadership of the Armed Forces, with the hope that the question is answered and to put to rest the concern and doubts that are in the minds of all Armed Forces retirees concerning this matter.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

9 comments:

EAGLE said...

The Armed Forces is at the peak of incompetency with the selection of a new CDF who is not fit to be in that position.
Wonder what was his achievement as the RMAF chief that make him the right guy to assume the post or is it replacing the devil with another devil that the politician can squeeze his balls anytime.
Dato' you need to find out more about the new CDF before The Armed Forces that is your pride going down deeper into the drain or the nation defense will be very vulnerable with a clueless general at the top. Or he is suitable to be called an i23t. So your open letter is meant for the wrong guy !!!!! It is horrendous and too scary, just like that.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Eagle,

I am keenly watching the new CDF and he knows that. My open letter is not without purpose, and should I know that something is not right, I will expose it. The general feeling outside the corridors of Mindef is well said by you in your opening statement.
Thanks for being my Eagle, watching down.

maurice said...

Dato,

I heard sometime ago the Government plans to build a proper AF Museum for the three services.

It could be that they are in the process of moving to the new site, otherwise how could they justify the closure of the old museum whose artifacts are considered a national heritage.

Who would dare to face the wrath of the nation by closing down our national heritage the AF Museum?

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Maurice,

When the late Lt Kol Nik Ibrahim was the museum curator, he had proposed that an Armed Forces museum be constructed some where close to Jalan Duta. He had told me about this, but I do not know how far had the proposal gone through.
If only Nik is alive today, he would know all the answers.

taming said...

Dato',

How I wish I were at that breakfast
gathering to hear the colourful stories about various happenings in the Armed Forces, from corrupted and imcompetent leadership to abuse of power and making silly decisions because of personal interests.

I wonder who was the ex-four star genaral who attended the breakfast gathering. He couldn't be an ex-PAT because nobody among them would have done that. He must have been an ex-army guy who could well be spying for UMNO and the serving army generals!

Dato', we all know what happened to all military seniors when they made four stars and became service chiefs. We have many living examples of four star generals who suddenly became "rich" and powerful soon after taking over their jobs. This ex-army guy must be one of those and I am not surprised if he too has an Istana
somwhere in Damansara or PutraJaya!

Didn't you guys do a complete overview of how military officers go "hollidaying" all over the world pretending to visit some international companies, all funded by private groups. For example, there are currently two staff officers of Commander and Major rank from Komleks, Markas ATM, hollidaying in Turkey, all sponsored by an ex-RMAF Major ( a
former Komleks staff). This Major is a full time employee of a giant communication company but quietly doing side business using his own company! How on earth this could happen? Isn't this a from of corruption, PAT?
I hope PAT marches these two guys on the carpet when they return from Turkey and MACC opens up a file on them.

I am not at all surprised at what the former CDF had done to the Armed Forces Museum. He got rid off the Armed Forces Museum in the same manner he destroyed himself as the CDF!
What a shame.

komando said...

We can all make money, but not at the expense of the rakyat's pockets.

I believe a good buy is the right thing to do, if the procurement is out of necessity and one that benefits the troops and the force!

The museum is yet another story, only god knows the real reasons!

Is it because it can create a contract or otherwise we are not privy to know!

To destroy a heritage is a big shame, the individual service can run and operate its own museum, yes nothing wrong, but as ATM we need to be proud of our past and its historical values.

Traditions are already eroded and very soon the younger generation of serviceman will no longer know where our heritage lies, if all the artifacts are gone and not properly kept and looked after.

In western countries even the heroes graveyards are proudly maintained and kept prim and proper, we are very far from these values!

Is is a big lost and a shame to the brotherhood and esprit d'corp of the Nation of Soldiers.

Especially the past which was hard fought and paid with blood, sweat and tears!

The damage is done now, hopefully somebody can assure us that the items are stored and kept nicely for a new and hopefully better home, otherwise all will be lost.

WHAT A SAD DAY !

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Taming,

Please do not jump to the conclusion that all Four Star Generals are bad, self centered and greedy. I know that most are not like that, otherwise how could they be my friends.
I choose my friends closely, and I will avoid those that I know who are corrupt.

komando said...

Yes not all are bad apples!
Some truly great leaders and commanders.

ONLY a Handful are not too good..

WIRA said...

Dear Pak Chad,
From the venomous comment posted by Eagle regarding the suitability of the present CDF, one can only guess that he has something to grind with the guy. I wonder what is it. From the the personalised nature of the attack, I am inclined to believe that he is probably one of those 12 or so officers that Azizan sacked when he was Chief, or one that sympatises with that corrupt group. If not, how can anyone be so anti?
Saudara Eagle,give the guy a chance man. Who are we to say whether he is the right guy or not when we don't even know the rasionale behind his selection or indeed, the selection proccess itself. Furthermore, we must rememnber his appointment is endorsed by the Yang DiPertuan Agong. So do be objective with your comments.If you think he is incompetent... say why? If you think he is unsuitable for the job, provide your reasons...If not let it rest. Even if you don't like him, accord some due respect to the chair. For all you know, he might yet fall on his face as you expect..
As for the Muzium ATM, I have this to say... For all the noises that we hear criticising the decision to dismantle the old muzium, what solution do we have to offer?
Has anyone heard of A War Memorial? Do we have one in Malaysia and do we need one? Well, someone might just say we already have the Tugu Negara... But then upon deeper reflection, one might be inclined to ask oneself whether or not this monument is an apt representation and memory for our fallen heroes? If the answer is yes, I rest my case. However, if it is no, dont you all think it is about time we steer our thoughts towards creating a proper war memorial and do away with existing single service and regimental muziums.
Pak Chad, for starters, maybe you can throw this idea among your breakfast buddies (former generals) and see what their responses are. But please remember that A War Memorial to reflect the Malaysian story must include the PDRM who contributed significantly during both the emergencies, other uniformed bodies like the Home Guard, the Civil Defence Corps, The Red Cross and many others.
For your info, there is already a paper proposing such a project to be built on appx 12 acre site on which ISIS sits including the site on which the Reserve Engineer Officers mess is. (This site includes the Civil Service Club adjacent to the Tugu).
Further, if you care to contact the CPS's office,you will probably be able to trace the paper to the KSU's/ Minister's filing cabinet.
After that, coax Gen Dato Kalam to get involved. Among many retirees, I believe he is one that possess, in great abundance the brains and also the imagination for such things. I know he cannot play all that much golf these days because of his bum knee.
With such like personalities involved, I am confident we can get somewhere to overcoming the muzium puzzle!!!
Warm Regards