Thursday, January 28, 2010


Now, it is a severed heads of wild boars being thrown at two mosques in Kuala Lumpur in the early morning of Wednesday 27, January. Previously, it was a severed cow head being paraded around in Shah Alam, and the case is still pending. I just do not know if the perpetrators will ever be charged in court. Or is it going to be another NFA case.

And at last, we now hear a more strident words from Home Affairs Minister, Hishamuddin when he is reported to have said, “we are dead serious about this (referring to the severed boar head incident), and we will bring them (who are they?) to justice”. But I think, such words comes a bit too late. Hishamuddin should have been 'dead serious' when the first church burning incident occurred early in the month. Not after a dozen or more cases of arson attempts on churches, suraus and even a Sikh Temple. So, by saying that he is now dead serious, gives one the impression that he wasn't that serious earlier, after all. And that must be the reason why he could afford to be out of the country, at a time when the country is saddled with a serious problem.

Now, the severed wild boar head incident is beginning to turn ugly; and this incident can ignite serious sectarian violence, which all peace loving Malaysians would want to avoid. Peace loving Malaysians do not want to see another May 13 occurring; certainly not me anymore. I do not know where Hishamuddin was at the time, and I know for sure that no soldiers would want to be involved on public order duties. Soldiers are trained to fight and kill an invading enemy; not killing civilians. That was how I was trained, but sadly politicians think quite the contrary.

I believe this incident would not have happened if the Home Affairs Ministry was 'dead serious' in handling this racially and religiously sensitive issue. The way I see it, the action taken by the authorities is not to my expectation, and sorry for saying this.

And had I been the Prime Minister, honestly, I would have given the Home Affairs Minister and the IGP a sack.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am back after a week’s off from writing. I haven’t had much time reading the blogs either; but what struck me most upon reading the Star Online this morning is the report which says that the MACC has completed its investigation on former Selangor MB Khir Toyo on the alleged misuse of public funds for trips made overseas with his family (including an Indonesian maid), amounting to more than RM 1 million.

Now, what about the multi-million ringgit home that Khir Toyo built? Let us hope the MACC has not over looked this, and to start digging deep into the source of money to built the house. I have not heard much from him these days in the mainstream media, and it is better for him to remain quiet, rather than to start another row with the PKR Selangor state government. The more he speaks, the more ‘skeletons’ appears out of his hidden closet.

I am glad that MACC has finally completed the investigation on Khir Toyo, and if the allegation proves to be true, let us hope that he gets the justice that he truly deserves.

Someone called me yesterday to say that there has been a talk that a recently retired Chief of Defence Force (CDF) is likely to take up the appointment of the Malaysian Ambassador to a European country. Who could this person be, and if this rumour is true, it does not surprise me because there has been several senior military officers who were appointed ambassadors in the past; the last being the former Chief of Army Tan Sri Gen Md. Hashim Hussein who was the nation’s ambassador to the Pakistan.

News out of Army Headquarters is that the present Chief of Army (COA) is scheduled to take his pre-retirement leave, and this would mean that army will get a new COA before September this year, and hopefully the replacement will be the incumbent Deputy COA.

I have been receiving many calls alluding to the article that I wrote regarding to my choice of the Deputy COA. I am convince with the choice of either one of the two (refer to my earlier writing of the subject), and the choice is overwhelming judging from the responses that I get.

I hope my speculation on the new line-up for the army 2010 following the retirement of the COA is correct.


Monday, January 18, 2010


Would you believe this, when someone called me to say that we now have a 100 million dollar man among the top brasses of the Armed Forces? I responded that it is quite possible, looking at the amount of multi-million dollar business deals at inflated prices that was concluded in recent times.

What do you think would be the price tag that was charged to the government for the purchase of the 120mm Rifled Mortars, the two regiments of Multi Launched Rocket Systems (MLRS), and the Vera-E Passive Air Defence Sensor that I had mentioned in my earlier writings, to name a few?

Why has the price tag being kept confidential; out of public hearing and is not even discussed in parliament. Does the price have any national security implication? Or is the government too afraid to expose the price tag, because someone will come out with figures that are far less than what the government has paid for? And mind you, the money does not belong to Mr. X or Mrs. Y; but it is public money obtained from the people. And would it not be proper that the public knows how the money is spent? An believe me, for as long as the price tag is kept confidential, corruption will persist.

And why have we to keep the middlemen or agents to the deals confidential? Who are these guys that we need to protect them? I view them as blood suckers who bleed the national coffer, to feed and enrich their cronies who know no shame.

To the guy that called me, the amount does not surprise me, as we have seen much larger amounts being squandered, like nobody’s business. It will take a bit of time though, before we all know who the 100 million dollar man actually is.



I wish to make a bold prediction to an article that I posted concerning the change in the army leadership following the retirement of the Chief of Army (COA) in September this year. Assuming that the COA decides to proceed on a three months resettlement course, this would mean that the post will be vacant around the month of June. In making this prediction and choice, I have taken into account the comments from my readers, as well as the numerous calls that I received from serving officers and from those who have retired.

My prediction and choice of the best officers (based on the list in my posting) to lead the army in the near future would be as follows:

1. Chief of Army - Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulkifli bin Hj. Zainal Abidin who is currently the Vice Chancellor, National Defence University of Malaysia (NDUM).

2. Deputy Chief of Army - Lt Jen Dato Ahmad Hasbullah bin Nawawi who is currently the Commander Army Field Command.

In order for the above to be implemented, it is necessary that Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulkifli bin Hj. Zainal Abidin be appointed the Deputy COA upon the incumbent i.e. Jen Dato Zulkifli Mat Zain assumes the post of COA.

Should army feels that the service of Lt Jen Dato Pahawan Hj. Zulkifli is still needed at NDUM, then the post of Deputy COA can be given to Lt Jen Dato Ahmad Hasbulllah, and whereupon the retirement of Jen Zulkifli Mat Zain (new COA) expected in 2012, the post of COA can then be taken up by Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulkifli (upon being promoted to full General).

There is already a precedence whereby the post of the COA need not necessarily be taken up by the Deputy COA. In 1994, the Chief of Staff Armed Forces Headquarters, Lt Jen Dato Ismail Omar was promoted to a full General to assume the post of COA, taking over from Jeneral Tan Sri Borhan Ahmad, without the former being the Deputy COA. Since a precedence has been set, it is therefore not abnormal for the same to occur, in the case of Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulkifli.

This prediction does not leave Lt Jen Dato Ahmad Hasbullah out of the race, and since he is a few years younger than Lt Jen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulkifli, the former can still be made the COA upon the retirement of the latter.

I invite comments from my readers to my prediction and choice as to who should lead the army in the not too distant future. I believe that there will be changes for the better for the army if this prediction is to occur.


Saturday, January 16, 2010


Didn’t I say that I heard the word ‘Allah’ being uttered by Christians in a church in the rural outback of Long Rusu, Sarawak in the 60s’in an earlier posting? Now, after some strong words from Bumiputra and non-Bumiputra Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, Minister in the PMs’ Department Nazri Aziz, now says that it is alright for ‘Allah’ to be used by Christians in the two East Malaysian states, but not yet for Malaysian Christians in Peninsular Malaysia.

Why the double standards? Does this decision have anything to do with the likely political backlash by East Malaysian political parties that are affiliated to the BN, if ‘Allah’ is banned in the Bahasa Melayu bible used in the two states? What makes the Bumiputra and non-Bumiputra Christians in East Malaysia so different from their non-Bumiputra Christian brethrens in Peninsular Malaysia?

And JAKIM is firm in its declaration that the ruling not to use ‘Allah’ by Christians applies throughout the whole country, and not just for Peninsular Malaysia. What then will be Nazri’s next statement? Will he defer from the declaration made by JAKIM? And I just wonder too, why is Nazri getting involved in this issue? Isn’t this a matter that should rightly be handled by the Minister in PM’s Department in-charge of Islamic Affairs? Let us hear what he has got to say about this.

Come on Nazri, I think you have to admit that you are afraid that the BN will lose the support of its partners in Sabah and Sarawak, if you have said otherwise. If they do pull out of BN over this unsettled issue, you and the rest of the BN ministers will be without a job, as the strength of BN government is buttress in the BN alliance in these two East Malaysian states.

And despite more attempts to touch churches goes unabated, and even a Sikh temples for no obvious reason), Interior Minister Hishamuddin finds it most convenient to be out of the country, supposedly in search of peace and tranquility in Saudi Arabia with his cousin, the Prime Minister. Is Hishamuddin trying to seek a ‘fatwa’ from the Saudi King over the ‘Allah’ issue that is now splitting even the Malay community?

Never have we seen a large section of the Malay community, and including PAS so vehemently in support of the Malaysian Christians over the ‘Allah’ issue that clearly has brought this country into disrepute in the eyes of the international community. Malaysian Muslims that has been well known to the world as being moderates, have now to accept a tinted image.

I would conclude by saying that this whole affair has not been handled well by the government, and this is so obvious with so many conflicting statements made by our politicians. Now with eleven churches, one mosque and one Sikh temple vandalized and still counting, let us hear what IGP Musa Hassan has to say.



In the next few months, the army will witness a change in its top leadership, following the retirement of the Chief of Army (COA), scheduled in September this year. It is not normal for the service of the COA to be extended, unlike in the case of the Chief of Defence Force (CDF). An extension of service for top civil servants (Armed Forces included), is the prerogative of the government, but in the case of the service chiefs (Army, Navy and Air Force), it is an exception rather than the rule.
Under the normal circumstances, military officers who are scheduled for compulsory retirement are expected to submit their retirement documents a year prior to their date of retirement. This is to give sufficient time for the Armed Forces Records and Pension Office and the Veteran Affairs Department to process the documents that includes, processing the quantum of pension and gratuity, processing of a civilian identity card and most importantly, any outstanding personal income tax owed to the government.
In my case, I was shocked to be told that I owed the government RM30, 000 in unpaid income tax, and after going through my previous income tax records and several appeals, it was reduced to only RM6, 000. Had the Income Tax Department disallowed my appeal, I would have been poorer by RM30, 000, and am therefore left with a paltry sum of slightly more than RM100, 000 in gratuity. That’s my worth for 33 years of military service paid by the government in the form of my gratuity in 1998; a laughable sum compared to those in the private sector; but I believe the quantum is much better today.
With the retirement of the COA, the concern among the army officers now is who will succeed the COA. Considering the norm, the Deputy COA will most likely succeed the COA, and who then will succeed the Deputy COA? This will be the million dollar question, as there are now four army three star generals available to take over the post of the Deputy COA, and they are as follows (in no order of preference and seniority):-
1. Lt Gen Dato Pahlawan Hj. Zulfifly Hj. Zainal Abidin – Vice Chancellor, National Defence University Malaysia.
2. Lt Gen Dato AllLatif Mohd Noor – Commander, Joint Force Headquarters.
3. Lt Gen Dato Raja Affendi Raja Mohd Noor – Chief of Staff, Armed Forces Headquarters.
4. Lt Gen Dato Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawawi – Commander, Army Field Command.
Each one of the above officers has their strength and weaknesses, and with varied experiences. I should say that I know each one of them, and of which two have served with me in an earlier capacity. Interestingly, all are in their early 50’s (the youngest being Lt Gen Dato Ahmad Hasbullah) and with service ranging from 6 to 8 years left, prior to them attaining the compulsory retirement age of 58 years. And with the exception of Lt Gen Dato Ahmad Hasbullah, the other three officers are currently holding a tri-service appointment (an appointment that can be held by officers from any of the three services)

If one were to ask me who among the four officers above is my choice for the post of Deputy COA? My answer would be anyone of the four, merely on the basis that each one of them has the experience and the right exposure to assume the second highest position in the army.

But experience and exposure alone isn’t enough to meet the challenges and demands of a modern day army. Guts and the courage to speak out in defence of what is right for the army, is what I think is the most crucial leadership quality that must be inherent in these top echelon army officers. I am not implying here that these officers must be the ‘gang-ho’ type, with the fancy to make quick outburst at their subordinates over trivial issues, but becomes meek when confronted with the powers that be. I have heard that this seem to be the trend among some these days.

To have guts and courage, one has to have knowledge; not limited to one’s professional knowledge only. To be in the exulted position of the COA or the Deputy COA, one has to have wide ranging knowledge i.e. from the affairs of government to international affairs and politics. The test to ones knowledge is when the officer can appear in confidence in front of an international audience, and to speak over a myriad of issues, and be able to articulate the issues well. One is reminded of General Dwight D. Eisenhower of the US who excelled as a military commander in war, and later led his nation as its President for eight years from 1953 till 1961. Closer to home, we had General Suharto of Indonesia, and now General Susilo Bambang Widhoyono at the helm of government. My question now is whether we will ever see a military general taking over the helm of government in this country (through a democratic process)? Surely, this is not an impossible proposition, though not likely in the immediate future.

Now back to the choice of the Deputy COA? On a much serious note, who will it be; one that is acceptable to the soldiers as well as the government, and with the necessary leadership acumen to lead the army to greater heights, and most of all, he must be incorruptible and staunchly religious. Certainly, it has to be one of the four, and I wish to reserve my choice close to my heart.

And with the retirement of the present COA, will there be joy among the officers’ corps, or will there be tears wailing in the eyes of some? This, we will have to wait and see.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Two nights ago, I received a call from a friend of mine who says that he and his family have moved to Texas, USA and back to his familiar job in the oil and gas (O&G) industry. He is a Malay, born in Penang and at a very early age left for the USA to seek a job in the O&G industry. That was in the early 70's.

Three years ago, he returned home with high hopes of starting his own O&G business. He teamed up with some Malaysians, but only to realise that it is not that easy to secure jobs in the O&G business in this country, however small the job and experience one has. He once confided to me that he lost a few thousand ringgit when an O&G job that was secured by him, was simply taken up by someone else because the company that offered him the job had changed the job specifications without his knowledge. The change in job specification simply means that his earlier proposal was disqualifed, and hence he lost the job. He claimed that he was victimised by someone in the company who had deliberately change the job specifications to suit another bidder. He suspects that there was corruption involved.

Having failed in all his attempts to secure an honest job opportunity in the O&G business, he decided to close down his business. He reasoned out to me that he regretted having left his job in the US, to returned home thinking that he can contribute some of his experiences in the country's O&G business. He even said that being a Bumiputra does not take him anywhere, nor was it ever considered in his submission for a job; this despite his credentials has having worked in large and reputable O&G companies in the US. In jest, he said that he denounced his status as a Bumiputra, and instead claimed himself to be a Bumikera.

While talking with him on the phone, I could sense his anger at the unfortunate experiences he faced in trying to do business in Malaysia. When I asked him if he wish at some point in time, to return home to start anew in business, this was his reply, “My family and I no longer wish to return home, and we have decided to make US our home. I feel more welcome here than in my own country, where I know that I can do business here without having to bribe or be cheated by someone. I no longer think that people in my country are honest in their business dealings”.

I am extremely sadden by the unfortunate experience that my friend had gone through, and at the same time happy that he is back doing a job that he loved most in the US. I also know that many Malaysians are abroad working, with some earning incomes that they could never expect to get working in this country, and for this reason we do not expect them to return home either.

I have many friends too in the O&G industry, and they say that to survive in the business, one has to have both the 'know how' as well as the 'know who'. Of course, the industry being a multi million ringgit industry is never void of corruption and abuse, and it no surprise that this industry is now in league with the construction industry, that is reputed to be the most corrupt industry today.


Monday, January 11, 2010


The headlines in NST Online January 11, 2009 reads, “Minor vandalism fails to mar Sunday service”. It is headlines like these that embolden those who have carried out acts of vandalism on churches to continue vandalising with impunity.

The statement by Interior Minister Hishamuddin when he said, “situation under control and called on the people not to be influence by reports on the internet or sms pertaining to the situation in the country” in reference to the attacks on churches throughout the country over the 'Allah” issue, is indeed a mockery and bad publicity for the Minister.

Now, there has already been eight churches that have been vandalised to date, and yet Hishamuddin claims that the situation is under control. Even the police thinks likewise. Do they not realise that such acts has caused fear in innocent people, and are they waiting for the burning of a mosque to happen before they say that the situation is now beyond control?

Look, we retired soldiers have gone through the May 13 incident, and we do not want another incident like this to happen again. And I do not think our soldiers today would want to go through a similar incident. I can tell you that my parents feared for their lives, and till today they do not wish to talk about it ever. Maybe, Hishamuddin wasn't around to see what actually happen during the riotings, but believe me, Malaysians of the Christian faith are extremely angry at the way Hishamuddin has been making statements regarding the burning of the churches.

Let me say this too, that the government has lost many votes because of its poor handling of the situation, and for this they had better work hard to win the confidence and trust of the affected Malaysian Christians, if they want to garner a much better election results in the next general elections.


Saturday, January 9, 2010


Back in 2007 (the year when the lost of the RMAF jet engines were detected), the Malaysian army acquired a passive defence sensor from the Czech Republic at a cost that is unknown to the tax payers, supposedly on grounds that the purchase is deemed highly classified’ which in reality is the contrary. The commercial name for the equipment is VERA-E, and reports has it that a similar equipment is also manufactured in Ukraine under the commercial name of KOLCHUGA, developed by a consortium that took eight years (1993-2000) of research and development...........details of the equipment is readily available in Wikipedia.

Apparently, the decision to acquire VERA-E was decided by a few 'top notch' military officers (predominantly army) without it having to go through the usual technical evaluation, considering that the operational nature of equipment will impact upon other Electronic Support Measures (ESM) systems that are in service with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Malaysia Navy (RMN). An all paid visit by some military officers to the Czech Republic was all that was necessary.

Reports have it that initially, the RMAF were coerce to accept the equipment, but the RMAF for reasons of its own, refused to have anything to do with the equipment. Since the decision to acquire have been made, army is now saddled with the responsibility to operate and maintain it; rightly or wrongly.

Wikipedia describes VERA-E briefly as follows:

'VERA-E a passive radiolocator is an electronic support measures (ESM) system the uses measurements of time difference of arrival (TDOA) of pulses at three or four sites to accurately detect and track airborne emitters'.

'The System is generally line-of-sight limited, with a nominal range of 450 km, the normal radio horizon'. (KOLCHUGA has a detection range in excess of 450 km)

'Up to 200 targets can be automatically tracked simultaneously, with an output rate adjustable from 1 to 5 seconds'.

While I cannot dispute the need for army to be equipped with ESMs in this modern day battlefield; the question that needs to be asked is whether VERA-E with a 450 km detecting range is tactically and operationally prudent to meet the battlefield ESM needs of the army. Isn't the deployment of VERA-E is best served by the RMAF whose role is to maintain surveillance of the airspace well beyond the horizon? And why does army require an ESM system which has a detection range that far exceeds the optimum range of its largest guns and missiles? Or is the army now thinking of acquiring rockets and missiles exceeding the range of 450 km? I am no battlefield strategist, but I feel VERA-E acquisition far exceeds the requirement of army.

Now, the million dollar questions that one needs to ask are as follows. First, on what basis was the acquisition made? Was it based on a professional or a business imperative? If it was the latter, then it is not too far fetch to presume that there were solicited kickbacks to sponsors of the acquisition.

Second, who actually toyed with the idea of acquiring the VERA-E from the Czech Republic and why?

Third, was the decision to acquire within the planned acquisition programme, or was it a 'spontaneous' purchase devised by someone with financial expectations?

Fourth, why was it so necessary that the acquisition be made through direct negotiation, rather than by the open tender system?

Fifth, who was the agent or middleman that was linked to the contract?

Six, since ESM deployed in the battlefield has impact on other likely ESM operated by the other sister services, was there any consultation made with the two sister services?

Lastly, is army thinking of fighting alone without the support of its two sister services; hence a 450 km passive defence sensor? Have army dumped the Joint Warfare doctrine and if so, why does the Armed Forces need the Joint Force HQ?

Lets us hope that in this particular acquisition, the name Sydney Franklin does not come into play at all, or another tailoring company being offered the contract in a platter.

Honestly, I am sick and tired of hearing contracts being awarded through some dubious process, because some 'top-notch military officers' decided so, without any professional consideration, thought and planning and worse still, without taking into account the expectant operational inter-play of the other two services. For a capital purchase of such significance to the entire the Armed Forces, it cannot be decided by 'a selected few', and worse still by just one man.

This deal certainly has the trimmings of corruption and abuse, and it must be thoroughly investigated to bring to justice all those who were a party to this outrageous unsavory act. The nation must never allow the greed of a few to compromise national defence and security.

Will Mindef be ready to open up a preliminary investigation into this acquisition?


Friday, January 8, 2010


I was with a Chinese friend yesterday evening for a casual meeting, and obviously he wasn't in a talking mood. The first thing he uttered to me was, “Arshad, what's becoming of our country?”. At once I knew what he was referring at, and sure enough, it was all about the controversial issue on the use of the word Allah in the Catholic weekly Herald that was ruled permissible by the High Court recently.

Following th High Court ruling, dissenting voices as well voices of moderation were heard, particularly from the Malays. Clearly, there is a split among the Malays themselves with regards to the ruling, predominantly from among politicians from both the political divide. But surprisingly, the state Muftis have remained mute over the issue, which in fact, they rightly should have been the authority to make any statements or announcement regarding this issue; not politicians.

I remembered way back in the mid sixties when I was deployed in Bakalalan, Sarawak where I, out of sheer curiosity listened to the Christian priest citing his Sunday sermons to a large gathering of local villagers in a small church at Long Rusu.. I could still remember, the priest had used the word Allah in his sermons, and I wasn't at all surprised. I knew that the priest who gave his sermons in Bahasa Melayu was making reference to the same Allah that I worship as a Muslim. If I had come across Christians using the word Allah in their recitation of the Bible that was written in Bahasa Melayu back in the 60's, I see no reason why it is not allowable now.

I am not a staunchly religious person, but I do know that the word Allah is universally used by the three great religions that had its origins in Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). I am also reminded of a statement made by Kelantan Menteri Besar Ustaz Nik Aziz that the word Allah is not the privilege of the Malays; rather it is for mankind. So why this fuss by some shallow minded Malays who objects so vehemently the use of the word Allah by our Christians brothers. And if one were to read further the life and times of Prophet Muhammad pbuh, did he not assured the Christians of protection? Did he not declare all Christians as his allies and equated their ill treatment with violating God's covenant? So read my dear Malay brothers, and it is your sheer ignorance of our great religion had caused this unfortunate misunderstanding between us and the other Malaysian races.

I now would like to personally appeal to all revered Muftis to say something that can save the Malays and our religion from being hijacked by some Malay misfits who claim to be more religious than others. If only Ahmad Deedat was alive, he could put this fuss to an amicable end. .


Thursday, January 7, 2010


FMZam has made an interesting comment on the last article that I wrote on January 5, 2009 titled 'Whistle-Blower Policy' that showed his tenacity to fight corruption against some authorities in Army HQ. From his comments, I could hazard a guess as to who he is referring to, but I can vaguely understand the reasons that had caused him to be so adamant in his challenge against the authorities. I can only say that I support his cause, if the authorities have willfully ignored his case; a case that is reportedly well known to most in Army HQ, and including some high level civil servants.

On May19, 2009, I had posted an article titled 'Is there an abuse of power in the award of contract?' in which I talked about some dubious deals that some in Army HQ were trying to conclude; that pertaining to the acquisition of the Army War Game Simulator to be installed at the Army War Game Training Centre in Gemas, Johore. A person of authority had tried to influence the procurement decision making process by awarding the contract to his crony. This news was in circulation for quite a while, and I suppose FMZam's cause is related to this contract.

If indeed the person of authority had a hand in influencing the deal, he ought to brought questioned. And I would also add that he may not have acted alone, but in cohorts with others to ensure that the contract is awarded to his favoured crony.

FMZam has commented that on December 22, 2009, he met the highest authority in Mindef (I suppose it is the Minister himself or could it be the PAT?) to give his statement concerning the case. Let us wait and see what the outcome would be.

To FMZam, let me say this.......your fight for justice is not lost, and as you have so rightly said, 'you blew the whistle without any protection other than the TRUTH', and be rest assured, TRUTH will prevail. Let us see if someone goes to jail over this case, and jail is the only place for all those who are corrupt.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Port Klang Authority (PKA) is reported to have agreed to adopt a Whistle-Blower Policy (WBP) that is intended to curb corruption and abuse in the future, and hopefully never again on the scale that was blatantly seen in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) unprecedented financial scandal that costs billions in tax-payers money. Such a policy is long overdue, and there has been talks about it in the past, but never was there a political will to realise a national policy with clearly defined legal framework to support it.

What is actually hindering the formulation of such a wanting policy is beyond everyone's comprehension. Time and again, we so often hear our political masters preach about the urgent need to fight corruption and abuse. Despite this, it remains public knowledge that corruption and abuse is still snarling ferociously in almost every department of the government that has direct business dealings with the public. They say that corruption has become so deep rooted that public trust and confidence in every government agency is beyond redemption; hence international opinion that Malaysia need to do more to fight corruption cannot be totally wrong.

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) is no exception, and I have been writing persistently to expose some of the abuses and corruption, particularly in the Armed Forces, that was reported to me by both serving and retired military officers who are disgusted to witness the rot that has infected the noble profession. I admit that corruption is not a recent phenomena in the Armed Forces, but the level of abuse now has become so endemic. Even junior officers are known to be corrupt, and this is well illustrated in the recent revelation concerning the stolen RMAF jet engines that had shamed the nation in the eyes of the international community. I believe the scourge of corruption in the Mindef (Armed Forces including that of its civilian component) will never cease for as long as there is the fear and unwillingness of those who are privy to the acts to come forward, unless there is a legal framework to protect the whistle-blowers.

R. Nadeswaran of the Sun in an article dated January 4, 2009 have alluded to the Government Transformation Programme that proposes to eliminate, or a best, to reduce the scourge of corruption and abuse in the public sector. To eradicate it completely will not be possible, but with punitive measures meted speedily upon offenders (regardless of one's status) will draw a positive impact upon public perception, that the government is now going serious in dealing with abuses and corruption.

Nadeswaran's article listed a number of measures to curb corruption and influence public perception, that if it is to be implemented to the letter, is surely to revive public trust and confidence in the government.

I hope the authorities in Mindef gets to read the above mentioned article, and at the same time to emulate the decision taken by PKA by formulating a WBP for the ministry. A policy will only be good if there is the attendant will to fulfill the aim and objectives of the policy.



Utusan Malaysia, Friday 21, 2009 featured a report 'SME Ordnance to invest RM36 million to develop weapons'. The report states that the investment is planned for 2010 and 2011 for the procurement of new machinery and production of the Colt M4 Carbine, that is planned to be in service with the army, and hopefully with other government security agencies as well. It was also reported that the first lot of 14,000 pieces of the weapon (fully assembled from the US) have been supplied to the Malaysian army last year (2009). The Malaysian army is presently equipped with the Austrian designed Steyr assault rifle (produced under license to SME Ordnance) that came into service in 1991, replacing the popular Colt M16 A1 assault rifle.

Questions have been raised as to why is there a need to replace the Steyr assault rifle, whose design is not declared obsolescence and can be used for many more years. Why go back to the same weapon system that was use by the army before? How was the decision to change reached? Was it made out of a professional imperative or was it a business imperative? I personally think it was the latter.

The M4 Carbine shares almost the same mechanical features as the M16 A1 assault rifle; the only difference being that the former uses a much shorter barrel, built with a retractable butt, and is lighter in weight. These differences does not in any way make the M4 Carbine a much superior weapon than the M16 A1 assault rifle. On the contrary, the M16 A1 assault rifle is said to outmatch the M4 Carbine in terms of accuracy and range. Logic has it that the length of barrel and weight are key factors that contributes towards better accuracy and range.

The Australian army was equipped with a similar Steyr assault rifle a few years earlier than did the Malaysian army. But the Australian through its Australian Defence Industries (DSI), were intelligent enough to undertake research and development and came up with the F88 Austeyr assault rifle; a modified version of the Steyr assault rifle, that subsequently became the Australian army's standard rifle.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) had used the Colt M16 and Armalite AR 15 since the 1970s (about the same period as the Malaysian army), and in 1976, Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS) undertook the development of its first indigenously designed SAR 80 assault rifle; both for export and domestic use. The SAR 80 closely resembled the Armalite AR 15.

In 1996, CIS began developing the SAR 21 as a replacement to the locally licensed-built M16S1. After four years of R&D, the newly designed SAR 21 (a bullpup version) was subsequently adopted as a standard assault rifle for the SAF, as well as by the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Sri Lanka Air Force Regiment.

Further to the questions that I'd raised above, where have we gone wrong in not being able to develop our own indigenous assault rifle? After more than 15 years of producing the Steyr assault rifle, why is SME Ordnance unable to produce its very own version of an assault rifle, in a way similar to that of CIS and ADI. And by favouring the M4, supposedly as a replacement for the Steyr, are we sure that the lessons of the Steyr will not be repeated? Are we so confident that the US State Department and Colt will allow SME Ordnance to produce the M4 for export sale at a later date?

Personally, I do not believe the US State Department or Colt will ever allow us to produce for export sale; and where does that lead us, except to go for another weapon system, and not another Steyr hopefully. This was plainly the reason why Singapore had rightly, and wisely so, decided to produce its own weapons. And are we not going to learn from the Singapore experience?