Monday, May 3, 2010


Since the new army leadership has been announced, I have been receiving several SMSs and calls affirming their satisfaction to the choice of both the designated COA and DCOA i.e. Lt Jen Zulkifli Zain popularly known as ZZ (to be promoted to full General upon assuming his new appointment), and Lt Jen Zulkifli Zainal Abidin (ZZA) respectively. I am glad that the norm with regards to appointing the DCOA to take over as COA in the new army lineup is being respected. I am now told that the incumbent COA will relinquish his post on May 20, and thereafter proceed on leave.

There will surely be many things already in the mind of the COA designate, of what he aspires his command would be. I believe that one of the most important thing he should do upon assuming his new post is to ensure the right selection of his immediate staffs that will serve him well, loyal, honest, truthful and most importantly, that they all possess the highest level of personal integrity. There are many among the current crop of officers that possesses such traits and qualities, and if ZZ is able to identify them and bring them to his side, then I am quite sure we are going to see a rehabilitated and rejuvenated army, for the army certainly deserves something better now, than the past.

I am quite sure too that ZZ does not want to inherit the ‘legacies’ (good or bad) of his predecessor, and in this regards he will need to dispose of those officers whom he think will be a bane to him because of the link that they are likely to have with his predecessor. The link can take many forms, and the most important being the business dealings that they have had in the past with some favoured companies and agents. I say this because of what I hear from within and outside the confines of army. ZZ has to be serious about this if he wants to be recognized as a professional soldier and a true leader of men, and is devoid of any personal interest and linkages with businessman, defence contractors and its agents.

Assuming the exulted post of COA comes with a myriad of responsibilities. More importantly, such responsibilities extend to not only the soldiers but to their families as well. This is actually the crux of soldiering, and as the saying goes, ‘if there are no soldiers, then there are no officers’. This saying is merely to emphasize the importance of soldiers in the army, and if an officer fails in his/her responsibility towards his charge, he/she is deemed to have failed in his/her responsibility. ZZ’s responsibility now is to ensure that all officers under his command know full well their responsibilities towards their charges and their families first, before self.

I am quite sure that ZZ throughout his army service has had many experiences serving under several superior officers, and is well acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of his superiors. He would have also learnt and observe their style of command of his superiors; one that he admires, and one that he opposes. It is quite normal among subordinates to observe their superiors, to learn and to emulate the good leadership traits that are inherent in the superiors. This is what most retirees like me, and many others in the service today hope to see of ZZ; an exemplary leader who show good leadership qualities, and one that does not throw tantrums like a mad bull.

The army has seen such acts in the past, and I can say for certain that such acts are only done by those who have a serious a personality problem, and is lacking in self confidence. The reason he throws his tantrums is to show others that he is in control over all things and to exert his authority, merely to hide his apparent self weaknesses. People of this sort are weaklings, unmotivated and have false pride in them.

What I have said above are nothing new and equally, it is not my desire to teach ZZ what leadership entails. I believe he knows more than I do. But my concern is the army for which I still adore, and an early reminder to ZZ about some of the things that he should observe is apt, before he assumes the exulted post of COA.

I think, he knows too the reasons why I have been critical of army in the past, and if he don’t, what he need to do is read all my previous postings to understand my criticism of the army, especially with regards to corruption (or seen to be corrupt) by a certain group of army officers, which he may or may not know. And if nothing changes and corruption still prevails, let it be known that I will continue to criticize the army leadership till my dying days.



Fathol said...

I feel the oft-used quote by Napoleon Bonaparte is most apt in this instance. "There are no bad soldiers, only bad officers."

This quote is attributed to Gen Slim. "Officers are there to lead. As officers, you will neither eat, nor drink, nor sleep, nor smoke, nor even sit down until you have personally seen that your men have done those things. If you do this for them, they will follow you until the end of the world".

Food for thought.

benadam said...

Dear Pak Chat,
Am just a passing ancient mariner. For many moons have been sailing through the high seas of your blog and thoroughly enjoying the issues posted and the commentaries that follows. Keep it up.
On the topic at hand you've hit the bulls eye. But most officers when they get to the top usually suffers from the "Now I see the big pictures" syndrome. If this is the case with ZZ, it would appear that your hopes and expectation for change would suffer stultification.
But sir, let us prey that ZZ is different and shall put a stop to the previous egregious miscarriage of responsibility.

Fathol said...

We pray and hope that the new Army Chief will be what we expect him to be - an incorrigible and God-fearing man for all seasons.

But looks can be deceiving. We have lost count of the times we were being falsely led to the alter only to be stood up at the very end.

He'll come up with his Order of the Day for the Army and, I am certain, that the word "corruption" will be mentioned repeatedly, in verbatim.

The question that begs to be answered is his resolve to eradicate corruption.

If he has the wherewithal to so then it augurs well for the Army. If he doesn't, then we're all suckers for believing.

You have to remember that pleasing his political masters is a criterion for his promotion. What crosses his mind and what transpires in the cool comfort of his office are beyond us.

I just wish him the best and so do the rest on this blog.


bambam said...

dear Dato' ZZ and ZZA i wish you all the best, what a beautiful pair to lead the army.

EAGLE said...

Nasihat yang baik buat penjawat PTD yang baru. But I think keep it low sir!!!
We say what we want but at the end of the day it is ZZ who will decide.
My take is very simple, ZZ will stand all the onslaughts if his promotion is based on meritocracy or else it will crumble and he will only be able to remind people that there are so many "tips of the iceberg" and my worry is that he will be in the same league of the general with the tip of the iceberg-then this time will be the Army turn to be in the limelight but for the wrong reason.
The rule is very simple as you scratch my back then I will scratch yours but I like to believe that ZZ will get the respect if he knows what to do and out of curiosity let's hope he learn from Tsu Szu " know yourself,and know your enemies and...." the rest he will face the reality whether he likes it or not or he wants to be history as soon as possible.
But whatever it is, the nation must be protected at whatever it takes!!!
Best of luck the Army!!!

Capt's Longhouse said...

to the new Army leadership....

"Take away the cause, and the effect ceases" worries, just do it right this time round ! cos. we are all watching/waiting for the positive change.


Mawar_Rimba said...

YBhg Dato', the tips are not only for the COA, it is basically for the whole Officers' Corps. Thank you very much Dato'.

Kamal Sanusi said...

Salam Dato'

Hope the new COA and his lineup will be stronger than politicians. Likewise, they are no different than puppets.

Mej. A R Ramachandran (Retired) said...

Leadership is an essential requirement in all fields of life. What distinguishes the military leadership from other kinds is that it is a leadership of a kind that demands tapping of the last ounce of individual's physical and psychic resources on the battle field. It has only compounded the criticality of the crisis in all its aspects - physical, mental, moral and emotional.

pendita said...

Dear Dato'

According to source, both of them served in one unit together (in RMR) as OC and adjutan. So, i think they have no problem as they knew each other. Hopefully they can serve the army for good.

WIRA said...

There is a Malay saying 'belum cuba belum tahu'. This is exactly the position that we face with regard to the new COA and DCOA. Expectant as we can be for a major shake-up, it will only be meaningful when they happen. Even then, fellow observers, don't expect too much. After all both of them are human.
The key to successful leadership at the military strategic level is how the COA interacts with those decision-makers around him. This is not only confined to Mindef but also other related ministries, including naturally, the ever present business community. In this regard, the COA must be especially mindful of the business people who are waiting to pounce at every opportunity on offer. Needless to say, they will stop at nothing to make a buck. So beware.
His best hope of dealing with these vultures is to avoid contact with them altogether. Sadly, this is easier said than done.
To YBhg Gen Dato Sri ZZ, the least I can say is 'tepuk dada tanya selera'. I know you are the archtypal survivalist; more than capable of managing your boundaries. Be mindful though, others are having very high hopes for your success and they are watching with interest.
The other fundamental aspect of strategic military leadership is your relationship with the Policy makers. While you have to be true to Von Clauswitz's dictum, you must never be allowed to be made a tool by the political masters. We do not want to see a repeat of the Kong-kali-kong scenario as in the previous Army Administration do we?
Warm Regards and Best Wishes to ZZ and ZZA.

komando said...

Where can tips for the new COA and DCOA also, I thought only for promotion exams!

Anyway, wishing, hoping ,thinking and lastly praying...very hard this two new stars will have a good ACT and PUT UP A GOOD SHOW for all to see!

Like Romeo & Juliet, the end was very sad indeed, but the love was never in VAIN ! TRUE LOVE as they say were made in heaven.

We hope to see positivity and growth of an organization we all still love and cherish, all those ole buggers and weak at the knees types still yelling till today!
Some May not be drinking at all, but they are still DRUNK !

Be strong and hold your ground, come what may, may it be storm, blizzard, hurricane, typhoon, tornado ...even a tsunami !

Do not disgrace YOURSELF & the OFFICERS CORP !

Abg Azmi said...

Ini kali pertama saya post comment ini ur blog. As retired captain i would like to shared with all yg ada kat cni... Pak Chad moderator kat cni, mmg i kenal. kol fathol is 1 of my idola.

Ucapan tahniah kepada Dato ZZ n ZZA. Teringat cerita dari arwah my wife masa dia menjawat setiausaha keselamatan daerah Batu Pahat. Masa tu bencana banjir di Batu Pahat. My wife said yg Dato ZZ mmg best, bijak mengatur tenaga membantu mangsa banjir. Saya tanya bagaimana dia boleh berjumpa dengan Dato ZZ, katanya panglima medan tentera darat datang visit trup yang membuat tugas membantu mangsa.
Begitu lah Dato ZZ. Even a civilian officer boleh mengakui bahawa perwatakan Dato ZZ yang baik dan bijak dengan hanya sekali berjumpa. Semoga Dato ZZ jadi PTD yang terbaik.