It has been rumoured that finally the Chief of Army will soon be discarding his uniform and be designated a retiree with a capital B in brackets after his name. Talks of an extension has simmered somewhat. We the retirees welcome him to the ‘Retirees Club’, void of fanfare and glamour of having ADC’s, door openers and bag carriers to serve him. He is now left to fend on his own, and even at the Golf Course there will no longer be the usual entourage of ‘businessmen’ to accompany him. I suppose the betting will also be lessened substantially.
I have witnessed such a scene before, but one thing, I am fortunate that all the bosses that I have served before, none has been unkind to me or has mistreated me to such an extent that I harbor hatred towards them. For whatever the reason, my relationship with my superiors has been one of mutual respect, cordial, gentlemanly and loyal. Even if I do not particularly like someone, I would normally avoid them.
The last superior officer that I served prior to my retirement in 1998 was Lt Gen Datuk Aziz Hassan, a likable fellow who later became the Deputy Chief of Army prior to his retirement. I clearly remembered that on his first day of office, he summoned me and upon meeting him, he said, “Arshad, you are still my friend”. I quickly replied, “Certainly Sir, I shall forever remain your friend”. I was a bit unfortunate though for not having served him long enough because I was then on the verge of retirement. But rest assured, I did enjoy the freedom of doing my job in the few months that I served him, without much supervision and harassment from him.
All along, since my days as a cadet officer, I have been a friend of Aziz who happens to be my senior in Cadet Wing. We are of the same company and despite him being a Cadet Sergeant he wasn’t the type who was sadistic and a bully towards his charge and juniors. Bullying in those days was trendy and we had some wild characters who just loved to see others panic. Aziz and I were later to attend the Young Officers Weapons Course at Port Dickson together and he performed exceedingly well. Aziz that I know is a pretty smart officer, of likable character but a poor loser at the game of golf. I use to be his usual sacrificial lamb.
Now back to the change of Army leadership. I am yet to know who is set to assume the new Chief of Army, but my hope is to see the Deputy Chief of Army takes over the post. This is to respect the norm in the change of leadership, where it is the deputy that will be charged to take over. If at all he wasn’t suitable, he should have been taken out well before the change. However, there have been cases in the past where the norm was cast aside, and personally my view is that this should not have happened.
Now, the million dollar question that is in the minds of most is who would be elevated to take over the post of Deputy Chief of Army. There are now four three star army generals (excluding DMI and DMS) to choose from, and should I be asked as to who would be my choice, I would say that he is someone who is God fearing, incorruptible, friendly, humble, composed, void of self interest, of sound professional knowledge and finally, one with absolute guts.
And let me be frank and honest, that the Army’s reputation in recent times has not been good which I have reflected it in my various postings. And my only hope is that with this leadership change, there will also be a change in public perception of the Army for the better, and not the contrary.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION