I am drawn to the speech delivered by the Chief of Army at the Army Day parade recently, and subsequently to the news report in Utusan Online dated March 2nd 2010 titled ’30 kem tentera dibina semula’. Personally, I think this is about the ‘sweetest’ statement coming out from the army boss, but a mere statement delivered at an auspicious Army Day parade in the presence of hundreds of soldiers and retired senior army officers, would mean nothing if it fails to be put into action.
As recent as March 25, 2009 and April 11, 2009, I had posted articles concerning the dilapidated state of Sg. Udang Camp, Malacca and the Army Combat Training Centre (PULADA); two renowned army camps built during the colonial era that had long served its purpose. I do not know if the Other Rank (OR) married quarters at Sg. Udang Camp is the same two rooms married quarters (popularly known as Gurkha quarters), or has it been replaced. The same can also be said of Kem Batu Tiga, Kluang, Johore, and some OR married quarters at Taiping, Perak built at about the same time as Sg. Udang Camp, and it was at the former camp that I first began my career in the army.
With regards to PULADA, I remembered having viewed the proposed master plan for the reconstruction of the entire camp, and that was several years ago. When I last visited PULADA (refer to my article dated April 11, 2009), I did not observe much changes to the camp with black painted wooden structured buildings dominating the camp. It would appear to me that the once famous British Jungle Warfare Training Centre where even the late President of Uganda, Idi Amin Dada once attended an army course, is left to remain in its original form, despite us being in the 20th Century.
Talks of rebuilding new camps and OR married quarters has been in the air for quite a while, but somehow slow in its implementation. I am appalled at the delays in the completion of new camps and amenities (somehow delays are quite common for projects instituted by Mindef) with some even taking more than a decade to complete. The new officers married quarters and the new Transit Camp at Mindef are examples to cite. I wonder what sort of contractors are awarded the contracts, and it would appear to me that the longer the delay, the better.
Let’s us hope that the announcement made by the army boss relating to the construction of new camps, during his interview with the press following the Army Day parade will to be executed by his successor when he retires this year. Let there be some truth in what is being said, rather than just mere rhetoric. And let’s not talk anymore about buying a 3rd Regiment worth of MLRS. Rather, let’s talk about what the worth of a MLRS regiment can do to build more camps and better homes for our soldiers.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION