Friday, March 26, 2010

THE MUCH AWAITED PERKASA AGM

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 27, 2010 will witness the inaugural AGM of PERKASA to be launched by Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed at PWTC. From what has been reported in the media, some 10,000 members and supporters are expected to attend. This includes some notables from UMNO and several other Malay NGO groups. I just do not know whether PWTC can accommodate that large number of people and if it does, this gathering will be much larger than UMNO General Assembly. And I also wonder who is actually providing the funds to manage this entire affair.

I have earlier posted two articles relating to PERKASA formed by sacked former UMNO member Ibrahim Ali, now an Independent parliamentarian, whom I described as a failed politician from Kelantan. If one can recall, he is said to have won the Pasir Mas parliamentary seat in the March 2008 General Elections out of sympathy from his constituents who are predominantly PAS supporters. Had PAS fielded a candidate to contest against him, he would have lost. One should also recall that during a by-election held for Pengkalan Pasir, Ibrahim Ali who contested as an Independent candidate lost badly to a BN candidate, including losing his deposit money. He only managed to garner 415 votes.

I stand by what I have said in my earlier postings of Ibrahim Ali and PERKASA. If the government does give its tacit approval (and I sense that it does) that the formation of PERKASA is to protect and defend the Malay rights, then I would suggest that UMNO be disbanded henceforth, and PERKASA be form into a political party (taking over from UMNO) with Ibrahim Ali as its President. If this does happen, then I dare declare that the nation will be heading for disaster.

Let us all wait for the outcome of the AGM which is just a few hours away. And if the AGM proves to be a big success, I am not at all surprise that UMNO will open its arms to receive Ibrahim Ali back into its fold.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A RETIRED CHIEF OF DEFENCE FORCE AN AMBASSADOR DESIGNATE TO FRANCE

I have just been informed that a retired Chief of Defence Force (CDF) has been earmarked to be Malaysia’s honourable Ambassador to France. I began to make some quick inquiries to confirm the reliability of the information, and most that I talked to seems to acknowledge having heard the same.

I certainly have no qualms about someone from the Armed Forces being appointed Ambassador. The country has had a number of senior military officers appointed by the government to the post of Ambassador, and the first, if my memory is correct was Tan Sri Gen Sany Abd. Ghafar who was still a serving Chief of Defence Force when he was appointed the Ambassador to Luxembourg. The last senior military officer to be appointed Ambassador was Tan Sri Gen Md. Hashim Hussein who was appointed the Ambassador to Pakistan, and was also a serving military officer at the time of his appointment.

With regards to the appointment of the recently retired CDF as Ambassador designate to France raises many questions as enumerated below:

1. They say that to be an Ambassador of France requires someone senior from within the diplomatic fraternity and preferably a career diplomat. The person must be one with vast experience in diplomacy, and an expert in the many issues of state and government.

2. France being a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council with the powers of veto, will require that the Ambassador is well converse in issues affecting international relations, with the ability to discuss and to put forth Malaysia’s foreign affairs policies convincingly in any international forum. For someone without an exposure in international forum discussions and lacking in the ability to articulate international issues can be in for a serious problem. The issue here is that an Ambassador represents the King and the government, and he has to be one that is experienced enough to stand out and put across the nations policies and aspirations convincingly.

3. Understanding the diplomatic language and the ability to use it requires time and experience. I have read letters written by diplomats and the language used is ‘perplexing’ and at times confusing. There is so much of ‘finesse’ in the selection of words, which makes military writing sound so crude and awkward.

Understandably, military officers are well trained in hosting and entertaining guests. I think this is where the Ambassador designate can excel. But hosting and entertaining guest alone is not the primary function of the Ambassador, and too many of these can be a bane to the coffers of the embassy. We do not want the Malaysian Embassy to have a reputation as being the best host in France with lots of satay and ketupat to serve.

Beside what I have enumerated above, there is already the public perception that a possible reason why a retired military officer is assigned the post of Ambassador to France is because of our close association with the country for our defence procurement. This may be true given the recent defence purchases that seems to favours French made products. Certainly, French made cars are getting extremely popular among Malaysians these days, and most say that driving a French car gives one the extra smoothness to driving.

But what I do fear is that public perception can extend to negativity such as ‘that the appointment of a retired military officer as Ambassador to France is to look after the long term business interest of someone, particularly with regards to the procurement of defence related products ’.
I hope such a perception isn’t true.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Saturday, March 20, 2010

MALAY DISUNITY DEEPENS

On February 16, I posted an article, “Perkasa – A misguided rights group” that was formed supposedly to defend the waning rights of the Malays, stemming from the fear (as some is reportedly to have said) that the Chinese would soon rule the country. How can they concoct such an idea baffled me. As I have said in my article, Perkasa is all about wanting to bolster the image of its founder, Datuk Ibrahim Ali i.e. a failed and disgruntled former UMNO politician who is sure to be ousted in the next general election.

“Preserving and upholding the Malay rights”, so says Ibrahim Ali. Is it his personal rights, or the rights of the Malays in general, or some privileged Malays? I have spoken to a number of my Malay friends, and generally they all have a similar opinion as mine regarding Perkasa. Recent statements by some pro Perkasa Malays echo a similar sentiment as Ibrahim Ali, which I find it to be highly racist and in contradiction with Najib’s ‘One Malaysia’ slogan. Certainly, I believe that the One Malaysia slogan has some sense in uniting the Malaysian multi-racial society, but the Perkasa slogan (is there any?) is the contrary. What Ibrahim Ali has done is nothing more that to instill fear and the hatred of the non-Malays against its Malay brethren, and he seems to get away with impunity.

Now we hear of another NGO or group, referring themselve as the organization of former UMNO elected representatives to champion the interest of Malays headed by one Tan Sri Adam Kadir (whoever he is). When this group is comprised of former UMNO elected representatives, one would conjure images of a well placed individuals sporting expensive cars and living lavishly in some posh areas. I maybe wrong in this respect, but just look around us today and do we see anyone of them living in poverty?

They being in UMNO don’t they know what the party stood for? Or were they too busy enriching themselves and had totally forgotten that they should be looking at the interest of the Malays? For them to say that they are to champion the interest of their race now is a blatant lie. It is 50 years too late, and they must learn to accept the blame for their failure to look after their own race.

I have this to say to my Prime Minister (if he is willing to listen), that these Malay rights group are merely insinuating that you and UMNO have failed in looking after the interest of the Malays. They fear losing the personal ‘comforts’ and by their action, they have divided the Malays more, weakened them, rather than to unite the Malay race. With their actions too, BN has lost numerable votes from the non Malays and this will court disaster for the BN in the next general elections.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Friday, March 19, 2010

THE UGLY PARLIAMENTARIANS

I am utterly disgusted with the antics of some of our parliamentarian in the current sitting of Parliament. Are they elected to throw scorn at one another and act no better than a court jester, or are they to debate national issues that affect the nation and its people?

Watching them open their big mouth makes me wring in anger. There is nothing worthy to speak of such parliamentarians, except to say that some ought to return to grammar school to be taught manners. Indeed I am disgusted, because some are schooled in the best institutions, raise by reputable families but sadly, their behavior in the august house of Parliament befits those stray beggars that roam aimlessly in the streets.

Indeed I am sad, because we Malaysians voted them to the august house thinking that they are the best to represent us, but now we feel cheated and decorum is just being thrown out of the window. I have now told members of my family to switch off the TV the moment recordings of the parliamentary sitting is shown, and to ceased reading anything related to the current parliamentary sitting.

God bless Malaysia.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Thursday, March 18, 2010

AIR COMBAT MANEUVERING INSTRUMENTATION (ACMI) FOR THE RMAF

On 5th January 2010, RPK posted an article in Malaysia Today titled “How RM2 million a year became RM21 million a year for 15 years”. The article makes reference to a proposal by Mindef for a leasing contract for the provision of ACMI system to the RMAF. Attached to the article is a letter from Mindef's Secretary General to the Defence Minister dated 2 April 2007 suggesting that the leasing contract be considered and awarded to Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd. The proposal was sanctioned by the Defence Minister on 11 April 2007, and noted that the contract was to be funded via Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Mindef Secretary General then was Dato Sri Hj. Ahmad Latffi Hashim and the Defence Minister was Dato' Sri Najib Tun Razak.

The issue that many had raised concerning the contract awarded to Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd is not whether the RMAF requires such a service, but rather the manner in which the contract was awarded, and more importantly, whether the system offered meets the required specification and requirement of the RMAF.

While one would agree that an outright purchase of the ACMI system would be too costly, given the financial constraints of the government today, a leasing contract seem to be the best option for the short term.

I am told that Mindef had already concluded a leasing contract with Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd in early January this year, and the latter is believed to have collaborated with DRS Technologies Inc, of the US for the system to be delivered within 18 to 24 months. This would mean that the system will only be available to the RMAF rightfully, towards the end of this year.

Those who are privy to this contract have raised a number of questions and concerns as follows:

1. Why was the contract done through Direct Negotiation and not through the Open Tender System? They claim that the Direct Negotiation process contradicts existing Treasury Instructions and policy statement declared by the Minister of Defence himself. The general perception that people have towards Direct Negotiation smack off cronyism and corruption.

2. The contract does not state clearly the technology to be used. If the contractor is considering a similar technology to the one used by the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) in Korat, Thailand, then obviously the RMAF will have to satisfy themselves with an outdated technology. The RTAF is said to be upgrading to a more capable 5th generation ACMI technology obtained from the US, and it is most unlikely that the RMAF will be offered the same upgraded technology. One only need to confirm this from Aerotree Defence & Services Sdn Bhd. It is public knowledge too that the US has recently decommissioned 2000 of the 4th generation ACMI pods, and is most likely that this will be sold to Malaysia.

3. PFI funded projects provides a means for the government to acquire certain capability. However, I am told that Treasury is directed to pay a down payment to the contractor, and this smacks of corrupt practise. In addition, awarding a long term 'firm fixed rate' service contract beyond 3 to 5 years is also abnormal. What if the contractor fail to deliver? Should the RMAF continue paying the 'firm fixed rate' even though the service provided does not meet the technological requirement of the day?

4. Because the award of contract was through Direct Negotiation, there could not have been a proper technical evaluation carried out, and the opportunity to look into other options available in the market. Besides the US and Israel, Germany and South Korea are also known to have produced the ACMI system. Why hasn't Mindef not looked into this option?


5. Many have voiced concern that the RMAF will face serious problems associated with software interface with the system fitted on the SU 30 and MiG 29, should the contractor proceed with the supply of the US 4th generation ACMI. The other serious problem will be the disclosure of Russian software technology to a third party, and this could cause a diplomatic furore.


I hope Mindef and the RMAF in particular, have done a serious in-depth study regarding the ACMI system that they are likely to get, prior to the award of contract of this highly sensitive system to Aerotree Defence & System Sdn Bhd. Should there be a failure, who then do you think will assume the responsibility of the failure? Your guess is as good as mine.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO SELANGOR MENTERI BESAR, TAN SRI KHALID IBRAHIM

I wish to congratulate you for being steadfast in not wanting to succumb to the demand for top party posts and contracts, by some of your disgruntled party members. The decision that you have taken in this regards speaks fondly of your desire to dump patronage, cronyism and most of all, the culture of largesse among your party members. I think you have gained respect of the majority of the party members, and demonstrated to them that you do not tolerate disruptive and selfish antics of party members.

The desire to accumulate personal wealth that is prevalent among politicians these days seemed to have infected even PKR members. And if you choose to ignore this, then there is every possibility that this will lead towards an institutionalized culture that will eventually lead towards the destruction of your party values to eradicate largesse, cronyism and patronage. Being a Selangorean, I am proud of your stand, and fully support you on the decision that you have taken against the disgruntled party members.

It would not be wrong for me to say that the disgruntled lots are Malays, inhibiting a mindset that assumes a position in your party as a gateway to being rich and wealthy in double quick time. As a Malay, I am extremely shameful, and such a mindset must not be allowed to fester, as this will not remove the shackle that binds the Malays to being a constant recipient of ‘handouts’.

I would like to suggest to you that should others persist with their disruptive and selfish antics; just show them the exit door. I know that as a politician and a leader, it is a hard decision to make. But on the contrary, trying to be popular by giving in too much to their unrealistic demands, will subject you to more ferocious demands that will eventually make you look weak and an indecisive leader. Examples of such leaders in recent time abound, and you can see for yourself the consequences of their actions.

I want to see you succeed in leading Selangor; a state with a bountiful of resources. You do not have the pleasure of time on your side, and the opposition party leaders seemed bent in trying to discredit you and your party. They still have the resources in abundance on their side, and if you slack in your leadership, Selangor will sure be lost forever.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

HERO'S WELCOME

My guess was right. All England badminton champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei got a HERO's WELCOME at KLIA yesterday. He had the Minister of Sports receiving him as well, and also a hug from the minister, including flowers to grace the reception.

He was then feted by the PM at his residence, and BAM was granted an instant cash award of RM 2 million by the PM, supposedly to pay for some outstanding bills.

As for our soldiers, airman and sailors, just look at how difficult it is for them to get a recognition and reward for valour and gallantry, and mind you, in the face of the enemy and probable death.

Mej Nor Ibrahim bin Sulaiman TUDM (Retired) who has been fighting a lone battle with the 'powers that be' to earn some recognition and monetary reward for recipients of the gallantry award of JPP, PTU and KPK is still unsure that his 'fight' will ever be heard; let alone entertained. Please view http://xnuripilot.blogspot.com.

Here lies the difference between 'soldiering and dying for the nation' and 'sporting for the nation'. The latter seemed to get a better recognition.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Monday, March 15, 2010

DATUK RAMLI YUSOFF A ‘FREE MAN’

Police Commisioner Datuk Ramli Yusoff is now a ‘free man’, after having been suspended from the police force for over two years, for a charge of not declaring his asset; charges that he claimed to have been fixed. The prosecution however is appealing against his acquittal.

Two years of what could have been a ‘productive life’ with the force, has been robbed off him,and his character ‘smeared’ by person(s) whom many believed had wanted him out of the force. Stories of him being a victim of some trampled up charges and false allegations are being repeatedly posted in the internet, but are silent in the mainstream media. Even the appearance of the IGP as a prosecution witness did not appeal to the Judge. Obviously, the IGP wasn’t a good prosecution witness, and this had raised the perception in the minds of those who were following the case closely, that the allegation against Ramli is flawed. One can be forgiven if they now perceive that the IGP is himself the ‘mastermind’ to this whole affair i.e. a campaign of deceit and ruthless character assassination.

Ramli now has the chance to redeem himself, and to rebuild his character of a highly regarded and professional police officer that he once was. He may not be able to serve the force any longer because of his age, but the least he could do is to gain back what he had lost i.e. honour and dignity, and including all that is due to him monetarily. Certainly, he cannot be robbed of his pension and gratuity.

I have many friends in the police force, and what they say of this case is one that had brought shame to the police force. They are not too happy to see the third highest ranking police officer being treated like an outcast and shunned like a convicted person. Certainly, Ramli must have done something good for the force; otherwise he would not have been elevated to such a towering post in the force. This is where the force had failed him, and there is therefore every reason for Ramli to be ‘sour’ and angry.

I do not know how the ministry will react to Ramli’s demand for reinstatement of his lost honour and dignity, and the two years that he has been placed in oblivion. There can be no amount of money to compensate for Ramli’s losses, and even an apology from the IGP would mean little to Ramli.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

CHONG WEI'S HOMECOMING

Datuk Lee Chong Wei had just won the All England men's single title, defeating the unseeded Kenichi Tago of Japan in a blistering straight sets 21-19, 21-19.

The question now is whether Chong Wei will be given a 'hero's welcome' or a 'champion's welcome'. This we will have to wait and see.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

FLASHBACKS AND A FORMAL DINING OUT THAT WAS NOT TO BE

Last Saturday evening, I attended a wedding reception of the daughter of a colleague of mine, and I am glad to have met so many of my former colleagues; some still serving, but most are retirees. As usual, when retirees get to sit together, the conversation will inadvertently revolve around jokes and ‘flashbacks’ of their past experiences.

Someone pulled out a joke about the former GOC 4 Division, the late Maj Gen Selvarajah who was known for his fondness for ‘biskut goreng’ and travelling in an open army land rover during his tour of the operational areas. A must in his entourage will include the Staff Officer Grade 1 (Intelligence), who as usual would arm himself with a pistol, and a Colt M 16 rifle. Why has he to have two weapons instead of just one, is something I just could not understand.

I was then the Chief of Staff of HQ 4 Brigade (a formation under the command of HQ 4 Division) based in Temerloh, Pahang. There was an occasion when I was tasked by my Brigade Commander to receive Maj Gen Selvarajah at the Temerloh Rest House, who was schedule to visit our HQ the following day. I was reminded by my Brigade Commander not to forget to take along some ‘biskut goreng’ as an anti-dote to enlivened Maj Gen Selvarajah, in case his mood wasn’t one that was too friendly. On receiving him upon his arrival at the Rest House, I quickly handed him the ‘biskut goreng’, and sure enough, I could see the glitter in his eyes, and that sure saved my day.

In the early 80’s, Pahang then was still at the heights of the communist insurgency; the bastion of the 5th Assault Unit led by the infamous Chong Chor. HQ 4 Brigade being a ‘front-line Brigade’ was forever involved in operations. If it were a major operation involving more than two infantry battalions, the Brigade would deploy its Tactical HQ, to be close to where the ‘action’ was likely to be.

Not enough with just the Brigade Tactical HQ being deployed, the excitement of the on-going operations would sometimes entice the Division HQ to also deploy its Tactical HQ, and of all places, in the same locality of the Brigade Tactical HQ. This was where problems would arise, especially with regards to the exercise of command over the operations. The Division Tactical HQ having to squat in the Brigade Tactical HQ, and having to share the same operation room of the latter, would appear that the Division Tactical HQ was in command of the operation, rather than the Brigade HQ.

As the Brigade Chief of Staff, I sometime had to role because the Division seemed to dictate the deployment of units and sub units, which under the normal circumstances would be the role of the units themselves, working within the operational frame work provided to them in the Operational Orders issued by the Brigade HQ. Sure, I wasn’t appreciative of the actions of Division HQ, and it was for this reason that I would sometimes leave the Operations Room, for the comfort of my tent.

Several years later, I was again posted to HQ 4 Brigade; this time as it’s Commander. Jungle operations have all but gone, and the emphasis then was training. The Brigade was re-designated to a Mechanised Infantry Brigade, but throughout the time I was in command of the Brigade, there was not a single Mechanise Infantry vehicle for the HQ. I therefore had little to speak off my experience having to command a Mechanised Infantry Brigade. I would rather be called a Commander of a normal Infantry Brigade.

And speaking of retirees, I am told that there are some senior army officers in the rank of Brigadiers who have retired some two years ago have yet to be formally ‘dined out’. This is most unbecoming of the army officers’ corps, as the long held traditions have it that all officers (regardless of rank) have to be ‘dined out’ either upon their posting to another unit/formation or more so, if they are to leave the service. But one cannot be forgiven if officers of the rank of Brigadiers and above are totally ignored, and were not accorded a ‘dinning out’ by Army HQ. This is disgusting to say the least.

I clearly remembered in 2000, during the time when Tan Sri Gen Md Hashim Hussein was the Chief of Army, he had assembled no less than eight retired officers of the rank of Brigadier and above, to be formally dined out. I was one of those to be invited, though having retired two years earlier. My hope is that the current army regime will take note of this, and to accord those retired senior officers a formal ‘dining out’, in appreciation for their service to the army, and an occasion they so deserve.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Sunday, March 14, 2010

TS KHALID IBRAHIM – DO NOT CEDE TO THE DEMANDS OF YOUR DIVISION MEMBERS

The headlines “Lack of largesse triggers rebellion in Khalid’s backyard” in Malaysian Insider dated March 14th, 2010 caught my attention. The article makes reference to the unhappiness among some PKR Kuala Selangor division members who are not too happy with the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim; reportedly for not giving its members some top party post and business contracts. It was also reported that the disgruntled members will attempt to cause a furor at today’s PKR Selangor division AGM that will be attended by TS Khalid Ibrahim himself.

If the above report is true, I would like to advise TS Khalid Ibrahim, to stick to his guns and not to be shaken by any threats by some disgruntled members. Should they threatened to quit, let them quit, and your action not to be cowed by threats will definitely win the respect of your party members. Please remember that as a Menteri Besar, he has a much larger responsibility, i.e. to the entire people of the state, and not merely to his own constituents and his division party members.. And the few in his division who seemed to inhibit elements of self interest and greed ought to be shown the exit door, if they persist with their selfish interest and bad attitudes.

It would seem to me that this business of demanding for top party posts and business contracts among politicians (the mediocre ones included) is a function in politics. If UMNO is said to be corrupt to the core, I suppose PKR politicians too are trying hard to be in league with UMNO, and the few disgruntled PKR Kuala Selangor division members have demonstrated themselves to be exactly that. If TS Khalid Ibrahim succumbs to their demands, he thus opens the flood gates to more demands from other division members, and this will not end.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

TS KHALID IBRAHIM – DO NOT CEDE TO THE DEMANDS OF YOUR DIVISION MEMBERS

Saturday, March 13, 2010

SCHOOL SQUATTING – A NEW WORD IN OUR EDUCATION SCHEME

I am speechless when I read that in Sabah, there are 27 secondary schools that are squatting in primary school premises. I wonder for how long has this been going on, and are the Sabah leaders too blind to see this, and are they all at a lost as to how and what corrective measures need to be taken. Or are the leaders’ far too busy politicking and affirming their political base, and knows little of the problems confronting schools and their children who are the ‘future’ of the state?

I can only describe ‘school squatting’ in Sabah as disgusting, and if the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin felt so ashamed of the situation, then I would add that all his officers should be send down to Sabah to see how students and teachers suffer under such intolerable schooling environment. Can one imagine a secondary school student sitting in the same chair and table of a primary school student? And I do not know where the teachers are going to work. I suppose they have built tents outside the school for teachers.

Come on, we are already in the 21st Century, and to see such things happening at this age and time, and without the state leaders lifting a hand to solve the problem is inexcusable and totally irresponsible. What sort of leaders are they, and my sympathy goes to the children and teachers of the affected schools, who have all endured under this special education scheme called ‘school squatting’.

Surely, ‘school squatting’ did not crop-up overnight. It must have happened many, many months or some years back. This problem must have been known to the state education department, and I believe too that a problem of this nature must have been brought to the attention at the federal level. And if nothing had been done to address the problem, then there is something seriously wrong with the entire education department at both the state and federal level. I would also say that a portion of blame should also be borne by the Chief Minister himself. But the question now is whether the Chief Minister will assume responsibility of the situation, or will he choose someone as his scrape goat; probably the ADUN responsible to education?

I have served the state of Sabah on several occasion, and I find the people friendly (much friendlier than here), and being a military officer, I was accorded respect and am always a guest at almost every state function. I have travelled to the remotest part of the state and to the surrounding islands. It is in such places that we see a deep disparity in the standards of living of its people in these remote areas, in comparison to those of the urban areas. It was a pleasure to be among them, and for my soldiers to partake in their daily lives, including being part time teachers to some of the children. Of course, the schools then were reminisced of what I saw in some remote areas in India back in 1984.

‘School squatting’ is certainly a new term in our national education scheme, and with drastic cuts in the education budget, I wonder if ever school squatting can be resolved in the immediate future. The ball is now in the feet of Muhyiddin Yassin.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Friday, March 12, 2010

EXTENSION OF SERVICE

It was reported that the Chief Secretary to the government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan’s who is due to retire on 23rd June 2010, has had his service extended for a year until 23rd June 2011. It would appear that extending the service of senior government officers is now a norm rather than a case-by-case basis.

If one looks back at past holders of the appointment of the Chief Secretary, each and every one of them has had their service extended pass their compulsory retirement age. Even now, when the retirement age of civil servants have been extended from 55 years to 58 years, a further extension is still needed for some. Why is this so, is baffling. If this be the case, why not just extend the service of all government servants to 60 years, like in most developed countries. I retired at the age of 55 years, and I am now 66 years old and am not yet senile. In other words, I am still productive, with the mental capacity to think ably.

I believe this issue has been debated many a times, and I remembered, even Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku LI) has given his opinion that does not favour the extension of service of selected senior government servants. It is quite absurd to say the least, that the extension is needed to maintain continuity. And what is so important that others cannot continue or perform the job of the incumbent. If this be the reason, than there is something seriously wrong with the succession plans within the top echelon of the civil service.

The same can also be said of the Armed Forces. How many times has the holder of the post of the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) been extended? It is a norm that the holder of the post gets an extension; sometime up to a third extension. Why has this to be so for the Armed Forces, where it practices a high level of deputation for almost every appointment?

Taking the case of the CDF, anytime when the CDF is away or invalid, either one of the service chief will deputized the appointment. There is absolutely no problem with this arrangement, because at the level of the service chiefs, there is already a common understanding among all the three service chiefs, as to the nature of work that the CDF does, and whatever he does is to the knowledge of the service chiefs. In very simple terms, every action of the CDF is known to the service chiefs, and that the CDF does not decide or do things unilaterally.

The same can also be said of the position of the three service chiefs, where each has a deputy. And it is for the aforesaid reasons that I do not see any justifiable reason for the post of the CDF and the three service chiefs be extended pass their compulsory retirement age.

I am informed that the Chief of Army is due to retire in a few months from now, and there is already a talk that he is seeking an extension, or is awaiting for the government to offer him an extension, as reported in the media. I am also aware that the CDF has not many more months left, and let us hope that there is already a clear succession plan as to who should be the next CDF, and also the new Chief of Army.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

A STADIUM WITHOUT A ROOF

“Stadium may not have a roof” says Trengganu MB Datuk Ahmad Said; referring to the collapse roof of the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stadium that was built for SUKMA a few years ago.

If I were to believe in what Ahmad Said has said, then I would say that the stadium should be renamed ‘Stadium Ahmad Said’, or ‘Staduim Idris Jusoh’; the latter is the preferred name because it was built during his tenure as the MB. I feel a stadium without a roof in this era of the 21st Century does not deserve to be named after the Sultan, who is also presently the King of this country. I would just like to ask Ahmad Said if this is his way of honouring his Sultan by using his name to a stadium without a roof?

You know Ahmad Said, stadiums without a roof were good during the colonial era. Remember the TPCA stadium sited in proximity to Kg. Baru, Kuala Lumpur? It was built without a roof, but at the time it was an architectural marvel of the day, and I remembered watching the hockey match between Malaya and India played at the stadium, and which Malaya won. I suppose a roof stadium wasn’t necessary then because the surrounding area was cool, unlike today.

I just wonder how will the Sultan and the ADUNs be witnessing an event during the sweltering noon Trengganu heat? Will the state Government Issue umbrellas, or pitch a tent?

What I find amusing in Ahmad Said’s statement is that there is no mention about who is actually at fault over the stadium’s failure. Was it a design failure or was there cost cutting that eventually resulted in shoddy construction work? Or was there a complete failure in the overall management and supervision of the construction itself? There must be some fault somewhere; otherwise the roof could not have collapsed.

Please Ahmad Said, give the rakyat of Trengganu a reasonable answer. And isn’t Trengganu rich enough to reconstruct a new roof? Where has all the ‘wang ehsan’ disappeared? When your government could built an expensive Crystal Mosque (am told that it is too difficult for the public to perform prayers there), what is a few million of ‘wang ehsan’ for a new roof.

I do not know what Sultan Mizan will have to say to your proposal, but I think he will not be too happy.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Thursday, March 11, 2010

BUKIT BOTAK, SELAYANG LAND FRAUD – THE MISDEEDS OF PAST SELANGOR STATE GOVERNMENT

Being a thoroughbred Selangorean, I am compel to say my piece regarding the Bukit Botak, Selayang land fraud affecting some 2,000 odd settlers who are predominantly the poor Malays. I simply cannot fathom how the past Selangor state government that was led by predominantly Malay leaders could have the heart to ignore the plight of the poor Malays who were promised homes; a promise made dating back 23 years ago.

Four Menteri Besar’s (MB) of the previous state government have come and gone, and not a single roof has been constructed. Instead millions in public funds have been disbursed by successive MBs to companies (cronies I suppose), on the pretext of starting the housing development project, but all end up in failures. There is no sense of remorse on the part of anyone; neither is there any sense of responsibility and accountability, knowing that public funds in the millions have been lost, and the poor Malays left in a lurch. How na├»ve can the poor Malays be?

I would like to ask all the past Selangor MBs if ever they had the slightest thought of seriously wanting to revive the project during their time as the head of government? How could you all ever go to sleep, knowing that there are some 2,000 odd poor Malay settlers are still without homes, that were promised to them 23 years ago? Yet you all can go around enjoying the luxuries provided to you at public expense; living in palatial homes and going on and all expense paid overseas trips with your families and with one particular MB even taking along a maid as well. What utter rubbish is this, and he claims to have done so many good things for the state.

As a military person, I am proud to be a leader; a leader of men. But I am always conscious of the fact that with leadership come responsibility and that responsibility extends to the families of those whom i command. I thank Allah swt for throughout my entire service in the military, I was never involved with contractors, and hence I am freed from the evil temptations of greed and money. I only survived on my salary, and at times it was tough going, but I still survive. And driving my new Proton Saga then was the only car that I can afford with my government loan. But I suppose today, things have changed and military officers can be seen driving better and larger cars, and enjoying many more luxuries that I could ill afford during my time. I pray to Allah swt to constantly guide our military officers to not act like all past Selangor MBs; rather to care for their soldiers they command, and never, never for once be tempted to emulate some of the corrupt practices of the MBs.

My only hope now is to see how the new PR Selangor state government will act against all the previous MB’s, and if indeed there was the slightest element of corruption involved in the Bukit Botak land fraud, the prison cell is the only place where they all should be send to spend the remaining years of their life. At least we know that the prison cell is the place where they can seek solace, and repent their sins and misdeeds.

CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

SULTAN IBRAHIM – HERE I COME

I am amazed to read a recent statement made by the newly installed Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim, who had cautioned all Johor state assemblymen and civil servants to buck-up, or be disposed off if they are found to be non-performers or malingerer in the performance of their work. I believe the Johor ruler meant what he said, and his tone shows the seriousness of his intent.

The Johor ruler had repeatedly said that he wants to be briefed on all that is happening to the state, right down to the village level. This will certainly send shivers to some who have been malingering, and also to those that have all the while thought that their status in government cannot be subject to questioning.

I can sense the plight of all state assemblymen and civil servants, and the sleepless nights that they will have to endure, if they are suddenly being called to the palace for an explanation. Mind you, the Johor ruler even said that he has his own people, or 'agents' of sorts to keep him inform, and this gives little opportunity for anyone to tell a 'cock and bull' story.

This is an example of leadership that our military leaders should emulate. To be at the 'helm' is to know everything that is under one's command, and with knowledge, one tends to gain greater respect. It is pointless for leaders (military included) to go around sporting in suit and tie, accompanied by an entourage of bodyguards, but have little sense of what is happening around them. I am not surprise if there will be some who will jolted, and to even suffer a minor “stroke' at the unexpected sight of the Johor ruler appearing in their offices.

I believe that what the Johor ruler is trying to do is to create a serious awareness among state assemblymen and civil servants of their responsibility to the state and to the people, and that any lack in their responsibility will do injustice to the state, and a disservice to the ordinary people.


CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION

Monday, March 8, 2010

NEW CAMPS SAYS THE ARMY CHIEF

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