Friday, April 30, 2010


Reference my last posting, the name ‘Mej Gen Dato Othman Harun’ should read ‘Lt Jen Dato Othman Harun’. Error is much regretted.


Yesterday, April 29th 2010, I attended the ‘Reunion of Former Officers’ of 15th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment, who had served the battalion during the era of the 70’s, held at KGPA. The battalion was formally established in August 1969 at Rasah Camp, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan; in the same camp that was the home of the British Gurkha Brigade.

The first CO of the battalion was Lt Col Othman Harun (retired in the rank of Lt Gen) who was himself present at the function, and including the third CO Lt Col Ismail Salleh PGB (retired in the rank of Colonel). The second CO Lt Col Abd Rahman Lassim (retired in the rank of Colonel) was however not able to attend the function. All three were the COs of the battalion during the era of the 70’s, with Lt Col Abd Rahman Lassim being the longest serving CO; reportedly for a period of 5 years.

Also making an appearance at the function was the first Battalion Second in Command, Mej Nordin Yusoff (retired in the rank of Maj Gen) and the first group of Company Commanders and battalion staff officers. In all, there were a total of 32 former officers that attended the function (including three serving officers) from a total of 78 that were listed. We were also informed that a total of 6 officers of the era are now deceased.

One may recall that it was also towards the end of the 60’s, the British government had initiated a policy to withdraw all its forces ‘East of the Suez’. Hence, we saw all British occupied camps in Kedah, Johore, Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Malacca were gradually handed over to the Malaysian government to be occupied by the military.

I remembered, as a staff officer of the newly raised 6 Brigade HQ, I was a party to the takeover of the two Gurkha Camps in Sg. Petani, Kedah, and including Minden Barracks (presently USM) in Penang island; the latter camp was subsequently handed over to the Education Ministry. The British vacated the camps leaving behind stacks of furniture, carpets and even some cutleries; some were later taken into stock, and some ‘disappeared’.

Now, the above reunion function was held for the first time, organised by an inspiring group of retirees led by its Advisor Col Ismail Salleh and a committee of 7 retired officers. Through the effort of Lt Col Noor Mohammed and his committee, they were able to obtain and compiled details of almost all former officers that had served the battalion during the era of the 70’s in a simple booklet. There are still a handful of former officers that could not be traced, as their records are not available with the Veteran Affairs Department.

I was thoroughly pleased to have met my former superiors, and almost all my platoon commanders who have all passed the ‘century mark’. I would say that I was one of the longest serving officers of the battalion i.e. 5 years, and during that period I had the opportunity of commanding three different rifle companies. Being long in the battalion, I could master the names of almost every soldier in the battalion, and some are still in touch with me. I could also feel that those present at the function have not lost their soldierly spirit, their sense of loyalty to one another, and the spirit de corps; true to the saying that ‘the friendship among soldiers are for a life time’.

Following lunch, the stage was taken over by Lt Col Noor Mohammed who spoke at length of having served all the three COs, and the peculiarity and idiosyncrasy that he found in each one of them. It was all said in jest, and it was meant to reminisce how the subordinate officers viewed their ‘bosses’.

One may also recall that the period of the 70’s were the most trying period for the army as it was the period of the revival of the communist insurgency. It is quite normal for a battalion after having been out on operations for a three months period, would only be rested for less than a month, before the battalion is recalled back into operations. There are many stories and incidences that one could relate, particularly with regards to the command proficiency and ability of COs during military operations. The period of the 70’s was indeed a period where COs were tested to the limits, and when a contact with the communist was made, one could see the flurry of activities surrounding the HQ, including the sudden arrival of officers from higher HQ. Lt Col Noor Mohammed was able to reminisce some of such incidences, where many may have already forgotten.

Present too at the function was retired Lt Col Abd Manaf Kasmuri, a former officer of the battalion and also a former ISA detainee, who gave an exposition of his involvement with the Bosnian forces during the Bosnian conflict. His involvement in Bosnia was one of Jihad, and he never felt that his actions were that of a terrorist as claimed. The perception that a ‘Jihadist’ is synonymous to a ‘terrorist’ is merely a western creation; and definitely not one of a Muslim perception. His arrest, and subsequently his incarceration for a period of 3 years as an ISA detainee by the Malaysian authorities upon his return from Bosnia, can thus be debated. The question that needs to be asked is whether Lt Col Abd Manaf Kasmuri was rightfully detained for being a ‘terrorist’, or wrongfully detained for being a ‘Jihadist’.

The final speaker to address the gathering was the first CO, retired Mej Gen Dato’ Othman Harun who delved on some historical perspective of the creation of the Royal Malay Regiment, in particular with regards to what is termed as the ‘Wasiat Raja Raja Melayu’. Sadly, I am not well converse with the subject while I was in service, but the brief talk by Mej Gen Dato Othman Harun gave us what we ought to know about the creation of the regiment the moment we are commissioned into the regiment. I believe not many in service today know the existence of the ‘Wasiat’, and I believe it is the failure of the regiment not to understand the meaning and purpose of the ‘Wasiat’, that have led the regiment astray.

The gathering has certainly brought the ‘old timers and the forgotten ones’ to reaffirm their friendship and lost comradeship. And as Muslims, the reaffirmation of friendship is a religious obligation, and must never be breached. This was what the gathering has achieved.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


About month or so, I have been receiving comments aimed at discrediting me for my writings, which hitherto has not been too obvious. Personally, I do not mind their criticism of me, as I am a strong adherent and advocate of the freedom of speech and expression. I too do not take offence of anything they say against me, because I strongly believe that being human, each and everyone is born different; hence I don’t expect others to have the same patience that Allah swt has bestowed upon me.

I will be acting foolish, if I were to retaliate with anger in responding to the comments made by those who are adverse to my writings. Anger is one that I do not possess, and it is quite difficult for anyone to make me angry, and those who have served me knows this too well. If there is the slightest anger, I will just turn around and walk out, rather than to be confrontational and make a fool of myself. This is exactly what my late father had taught me.

Actually, I am what I am, because I hate to lose friends…the good ones I mean. And I can assure every one of my readers that all the friends that I have are good.

With regards to the sudden surge in some ‘nasty’ comments from some readers, I know this will happen about a month ago. I was informed about it by someone who cares for what I do, and shares a similar desire as mine i.e. to rid the Armed Forces of corrupt officers, regardless of the rank and stature. In fact, I have a slight indication as to who these person(s) are, and I also know that they have done it not on their own accord.

To those who persist that they should go on discrediting me, my only answer to them is to please go on doing what they are suppose to do. Honestly, I am neither hurt nor offended, and I will continue to pray to Allah to give me guidance, and if I do wrong, I seek forgiveness from them and from Allah, but if they are wrong, please seek forgiveness from Allah.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I receive several SMS's from friends yesterday informing me of the Army's leadership change that is scheduled to take effect in May next month, thus ending speculations of who will lead the Army following the retirement of the incumbent Chief of Army (COA).

Since there is yet an official announcement from Mindef, and assuming that the SMS is true, I suppose many in Army will receive the new line-up with new hope of a better Army. I have all along anticipated that the Deputy COA, Lt Jen Datuk Zulkifli Zain should be the right candidate to assume the post of COA. The new Deputy COA that is to take over from Lt Jen Datuk Zulkifli Zain is said to be Lt Jen Datuk Zulkifli Zainal Abidin who is currently the VC of UPNM, and this to me is an admirable choice.

The combination of the two, I think is good for Army and let's all hope that the two can position the army to greater heights, and that they be a shinning example of what army military leadership is all about.

I believe the new COA will definitely come up with his Order of the Day, upon assuming his new post. Here I wish to suggest that the opening sentence to his Order of the Day is “The Army does not, and never has, condoned illegal, immoral or dishonest acts by its officers”.

I have taken the above statement verbatim from the introduction page of a pamphlet issued to all West Point graduates, and I think this statement is highly relevant to all army officers, given the adverse reports that we hear of the army officers today. I am not implying that all officers are bad. Certainly, there are many good ones too, but it is the few bad apples that has marred the good name of the service, and this is unacceptable in a highly disciplined organisation like the Army and the entire Armed Forces.

I wish both the officers the best of luck in all their future undertakings.


Friday, April 23, 2010


Someone has posted a comment quoting me as a seller of weapons (I suppose an agent) who has been trying unsuccessfully to market weapons to the government. He says that I represent a company called Vita Berapi Sdn Bhd.

Through this blog, I wish to dispute the comments made by the person with the pseudonym MINDISNOTME, because I have never been a weapon agent nor ever been going around Mindef or anywhere else to sell weapons. Yes, I work for Vita Berapi but in a different capacity.

Vita Berapi is licensed company by the government to undertake R&D on small arm weapons. The company started the R&D in 2005, initially working with weapon designers from Balarus. In 2007 we employed a local weapon designer to take over the function of designing from our foreign designers who left the company at about the same period.

Our weapon designs are solely Malaysian and we have completed the first phase of development, and hope to move on with the second phase i.e. the production of the commercial-ready prototype. Please remember that these are prototypes and we have another two more stages of R&D work before we are confident of coming out with the final product. This may take up to 2 to 3 years (or even more), depending on funding.

We have not talked about where our markets are going to be, but we decided to proceed with the R&D since we felt that it is our corporate responsibility to begin the small arms weapon industry to support the country’s defence industry. As of now we, have developed a total of 5 working prototypes, and we are pleased with the results.

I am offering my readers to visit me at anytime to be briefed on the project. I believe the more people are aware of our project, the better it is. What we need now is the people’s support, beside that of our government, to see that our indigenous small arm weapons industry is fully realized.

I do hope MINDISNOTME fully understand my work now, and to discard me as a weapon agent. And so if MINDISNOTME ever sees me loitering in Mindef, I can assure him that it is not about selling weapons, but to brief the authorities on the project.



I received an SMS last night from a reader citing that I have been erroneous in some facts that I have stated relating to the acquisition of the 8 x8 FNSS AFV (refer to article titled ‘Billions in defence deal clinched at DSA 2010 dated April 22, 2010). The point in contention relates to a statement that I made i.e. that due to the weight of the AFV, in all probability it will sink in our terrain; hence “ deploying them in dry padi land and oil palm/rubber estate is out of the question”.

The facts mentioned by the reader I quote, “When we did our trial 4 or 5 years back, we were doing the trial most of the time during rainy season. The paya (marshy) areas that we were in were damn soggy and bloody soft, worst that wet padi field. I didn’t remember we got stranded in muddy areas. I can certify to you as the expert in this field, my MSC degree in Weapon and Vehicle System, all the three 8 x 8 we tested including PATRIA, PARS and MOWAG went through wet ground test inclusive padi field with flying colours. I can also assure you the ground pressure of most world 8 x 8 is small enough to operate in our padi field”.

I do not wish to dispute the above statement made by an expert who was involved in the trial, and wish to acknowledge and assume responsibility that I may have misled my readers into believing what I have written.

Be that as it may, my position with regards to a statement that the 8 x 8 AFV regardless of model and manufacturer) is too cumbersome for the Malaysian terrain still remains. I am of the opinion that a smaller, lighter and a well armed AFV is the better choice. After all, it is the weapons systems used that are critical in battle.


Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Hulu Selangor by-elections is slightly more than 48 hours away; a one against one contest between BN candidate Kamalanathan aks Kamal and PKR's candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

I took the opportunity to call two of my friends who are presently holed up in Hulu Selangor i.e. one a staunch UMNO supporter, and another a PKR strongman from Pahang. Both knows me as a non party person, and I asked both of them as to their party's chances of winning the by-election. As of yesterday (April 21) both claims that their party have a 50-50 chances of winning. Since I have not been monitoring the activities in Hulu Selangor (unlike previous by-elections), I cannot therefore place my bet on anyone candidate.

A blogger friend called me up last night to seek my views regarding the on-going Hulu Selangor by-election, and my personal assessment as to who is most likely to win. I replied that I don't really care who wins as the results has no significant impact on the Federal government's position as the ruling government. But on second thought, a lost for PKR would give the impression that the people's support in Selangor is waning. In the case of BN, losing the seat does not really impact their position in parliament. On the contrary, a BN win will give credence to their winning chances in the next GE. In other words, it is the PKR that is under pressure to win in this by-election.

The reason why I have not cared much about the Hulu Selangor by-election is simply because I do not see any solid and meaningful campaigning by the contestants. Character assassination takes center stage. Old stories are being replayed over and over again. Even doctored pictures to discredit the contestants are flashed in the open and posted in cyberspace. All this child-like activities does not appeal to me, and if I were to side anyone party, I will be accused of being in connivance with all that is terribly wrong during this by-election.

So it is best that I take the middle road, and who ever wins or lose, it doesn't really matter to me. And to whoever wins the by-election, my only advise to him is for him to act with decorum and a responsible elected MP in parliament.



Billions in defence deal was concluded by the Malaysian government on behalf of the MAF at DSA 2010. One must be reminded that the signatory to any major defence purchase agreement will be signed by the Ministry’s KSU on behalf of the government, with the respective service chiefs merely witnessing the signing ceremony. This translates into the awesome power that the KSU has with regards to all major capital acquisitions for the Armed Forces. And with this too, the public has to be forgiven if they perceive that with every signing, there is the accompanying largess that is attached to it. Such a perception I think was non existence in the 60’s and 70’s, and even if there was, the amount was too little to arouse public suspicion. I will always have my highest respect and regards to the top civil servants of the past who presented themselves with dignity, integrity and honour.

Here, I would like to touch on two deals that have attracted my attention as follows.

Firstly, it appears that the Eurocopter EC725 deal as a replacement for the aging RMAF Sikorsky S-61 (Nuri) helicopters is about to be sealed (NST Online dated April 19, 2010). The costs for an initial six helicopters is said to be in excess of RM1.6 billion. I am told that the RMAF will eventually acquire a total of 12 such helicopters.

With the announcement by the Defence Minister at the opening of DSA 2010, puts to rest the long and much awaited decision that was hotly debated among defence watchers, as well as among the opposition parliamentarians. There will surely be those who are dead against such an acquisition, for reasons best known to them. I am quite sure arguments against this purchase will continue even after the Letter of Award has been successfully concluded.

The helicopter being French manufactured may arouse in the minds of Malaysians that this will be another submarine deal. Hopefully it is not. I am told that kickbacks among French defence manufacturers offered to clients are quite common. Not having anything to do with defence sales, I am not quite sure who is the appointed agent for Eurocopter in Malaysia, and I don’t really care because I do not represent any foreign helicopter companies here.

But my concern and the concern of most Malaysians are that, whatever is being acquired for defence should not be compromise in terms of its quality and the justifications for which it was acquired. Like the Nuri helicopters, it was indeed a worthy acquisition and it has served its useful life and has provided exemplary service to the Armed Forces. Defence purchases are associated with the security of the nation, as well as it affects the lives of our soldiers, and this cannot be compromised. Hence, should there be a bad decision in defence acquisition; the authorities/person(s) making such a decision ought to be send to the gallows, or at least be made responsible.

Secondly, I note too that a decision has also been made for the acquisition of an 8 x 8 Amoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) from Turkey to replace the Sigmas. FNSS the manufacturer of the AFV will be collaborating with a local company to manufacture the vehicle locally, which is an excellent proposition. However, questions has been raised as to why does the army need an 8 x 8 AFV that is far too heavy for deployment in the Malaysian terrain. The experience of the Sigmas on military exercises clearly points out the weaknesses of deployment and employment of such vehicles in our terrain environment. Compared to the Sigmas which is a 16 ton vehicle; the weight of the 8 x 8 AFV ranges from 18 tons to 26 tons, and at this weight, the vehicle will sink in most of our terrain. Certainly, deploying them in dry padi land and oil palm/rubber estates is out of the question. So where will these heavy leaden vehicles be deployed, if it is not along the main highways and on firm tracks/roads which will make them easy targets. I am not quite sure what weapon systems will be installed in the vehicle. Hopefully, it is not another French or a South African manufactured weapon system; the latter I am told is a strong contender with super powerful links with the army’s top brass. Surely, the army does not want to be saddled with a similar problem faced by the primary weapons of the Scorpion AFV and similarly the Sibmas, where there are difficulties in traversing the primary gun.

I am not a military tactician, but certainly I do not agree with the army acquiring large, heavy and cumbersome armoured vehicles simply because our terrain inhibits the deployment of such vehicles. What the army should be looking at are lightweight armoured vehicles, but equipped with sufficient fire power, is highly mobile and easy to maintain. These are lessons that army officers learn at their military colleges, but why have they failed to put such lessons into practice. This being the case, I am therefore of the opinion that the army’s acquisitions are based on the principles of ‘the larger and the costlier the acquisition, the better it is’.

I want to be proven wrong for my adverse remarks on the acquisition of the 8 x 8 AFV for the Malaysian Army, and I will only be too glad to be invited to witness the deployment and employment of the 8 x 8 AFV on any army exercise, whenever there is one.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


What a sensation! Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar and actress Zizie Izette both plead guilty to charges of committing polygamy and entering a marriage without the consent of a marriage registrar at the Gombak Timur Lower Syariah Court yesterday (April 20)

I just cannot imagine how this two love birds (educated ones) could do such a thing where ordinary kampung folks (uneducated ones) would never dare breach a religious ruling relating to Muslim marriages in this country. So we can now guess the mental state of this two love birds compared to the ordinary kampung folks..

If they were married without the consent of the court and a Muslim marriage registrar, what will such a marriage be called then? Can such a marriage be declared 'haram', and as such the two were living in a state of 'haram' all this while. I think, as a Muslim couple they are a bad example of what Muslims should be, and if they say they are ignorant of the religious rulings with regards to Muslim marriages in this country, then I would say that both do not have sound religious groundings.

They both appeared in a merry mood from photos shown in the media. And I can only say this to them, that they both have no shame, and their acts have shamed the Malay race and belittled the Muslim rulings relating to Muslim marriages in this country.

And to Bung Mokhtar, you have added another name to yourself i.e. Bung the Polygamist. And you will surely be made a laughing stock during the next parliamentary session. You may shout in parliament, but I don't think parliamentarians would want to believe you anymore.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I wish to refer to an article in The Sun (front page) dated April 19, 2010 titled “Malaysian stranded in Paris plead for help” in which it was reported that “seven Malaysian in Paris who are stranded following flight cancellations because of a huge cloud of volcanic ash are pleading for help from Malaysia Embassy in Paris”, but were told by an embassy staff that “the embassy can only help to give information and do not have the budget to help or have facilities to provide accommodation for anyone” Such an answer coming from a Malaysian Embassy staff is lame, stupid, unconcern, lazy, and it is obvious that the staff lack the sense of responsibility and initiative. If this is the sort of people we have working in our Malaysian Embassies overseas, then I think they don't deserve to be where they are.

I wish to recall an incident that was told to me sometimes in the 80's that occurred at the Malaysian Embassy in Pakistan. The story related to me was that a group of Malaysian students had just arrived came to the embassy to report their presence to the officer in-charge of the Students Department. Being new to the place and on-transit to their colleges, these students naturally were expecting some form of assistance, mainly in the form of a temporary accommodation and some meals from the embassy. But such expectations were not to be, and they were left to fend on their own. And not knowing what to do and where to go, they rested at the garage of the embassy. This incident came to the notice of the Defence Attache who took pity for these young boys and took them all to his house to be fed and rested.

I am somewhat fortunate that when my son proceeded for his tertiary studies in Camberra, Australia in the early 90's, the Defence Attache at the Malaysian Embassy then was a colleague of mine. He had no qualms about taking my son to his house and feeding him until my son could find a house for rent close to the university. I am told that the Defence Attache has been doing this all along purely out of a sense of responsibility and being passionate about wanting to help others, especially new students who he treats like his own.

And in the case of the stranded Malaysians in Paris that I have related above, I would have thought that the embassy staff could have been more responsible by accepting and offering the stranded Malaysians a temporary resting place in the embassy itself (why not), or in the homes of some other Malaysian staffs. Don't tell me that the embassy staffs are all renting in just a one bedroom home and are too poor to even offer them food. Don't tell me that the Ambassador is too busy to even lift a finger to help. I am quite sure he is being told about the plight of the stranded Malaysians and the least he could do is to offer them a place in his own house (even the garage can do). Surely there is enough space for the seven stranded Malaysians to rough it out in his house.

I am truly ashame that a staff of the Malaysian Embassy in Paris could not offer any assistance to other Malaysians in difficulties. I suppose having a retired Malaysian Chief of Defence Force as the Ambassador in Paris would not be a bad choice after all.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Yesterday, April 17th 2010, I was invited to attend a medal presentation to 50 recipients of former officers of the Royal Malay Regiment, held at the Royal Malay Regiment Club House. The presentation was made by Defence Minister, YB Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi representing the King and government of Malaysia.

The Pingat Jasa Malaysia (Malaysia Service Medal) as it is called was created in 2004, and is to award British and Commonwealth forces (including the Gurkhas) who served in this country during the Malayan Emergency and the Malaysian-Indonesian Confrontation period. The award is in recognition of their “distinguished chivalry, gallantry, sacrifice or loyalty” in contributing to the freedom of independence of Malaya and subsequently Malaysia. This medal is also awarded to officers of the Malaysian Armed Forces who had served during the aforesaid period.

The highest British officer to have received the medal is Field Marshall Lord Bramall who was the British Chief of Defence Forces prior to his retirement in 1985. FM Lord Bramall served in Malaysia in 1965 i.e. during the Malaysia-Indonesia Confrontation as the Commanding Officer 2nd Royal Green Jacket.

At the medal presentation ceremony, the highest and oldest former Royal Malay Regiment officer to receive the medal is Gen Tun Ibrahim Ismail who is presently in his 80’s; failing in health but never in spirit. Another recipient and veteran is Major Abdul Manan who was among the first army officer to be schooled at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and later, at the British Staff College.

Other notable recipient includes Gen Tan Sri Yacob (Jack) Mat Zain, Gen Tan Sri Borhan (Commando) Ahmad, Gen Tan Sri Ghazali (Joe) and Gen Tan Sri Ghazali Mat Seth. My presence at the ceremony was made more memorable at having to meet many of my former bosses, and of particular interest to me are Col Dato Abdul Rahman (Rimau) Lassim, Lt Col Dato Zarazilah Ali, Lt Col Adnan Tajuddin and Maj Gen Dato Abd Kadir Nordin (a PGB recipient) and Maj Gen Dato Dahalan Sulaiman. These are the officers who were my source of inspiration that have guided me in my career, and have shown me examples of what an army officer ought to be.

During a speech by the Defence Minister, I was pleasantly surprised when he said that he is reviewing the granting of some form of monetary payment to recipients of gallantry awards other than recipients of the SP and PGB. I believe the minister was referring to recipients of the JPP, PTU and KPK, and if this is so, blogger Mej Nor Ibrahim RMAF (B) persistence has finally paid off. I personally wish to thank the Defence Minister for having being considerate and passionate to the appeals of Mej Nor Ibrahim, and when the official announcement is made, I know it will be a feather in the cap for the Defence Minister.



Ba’kelalan, a remote area nestled 970 meters high in the Bario Highlands of Sarawak that I had written about in May last year is back in the news (NST Online dated Apr 14, 2010). The Royal Malaysian Army Engineers is reported to be constructing a total of 10 bridges and a 75 km road linking Lawas to Ba’kelalan at almost half the projected cost. It was around September last year that the government approved RM50 million for the first construction phase of a road from Lawas to Ba’kelalan, and I presume this is part of the same project that the Army Engineers is currently involved.

Since leaving Ba’kelalan in 1967, I have not been back to the place, despite having served Sabah on several occasions. It is much closer to get to Ba’kelalan by air from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah then it is from Kuching, Sarawak. I am not quite sure whether there are direct flights from Sabah to Ba’kelalan now, or one has to travel down to Kuching first, for a flight to Ba’kelalan. In the early days, there was already an airstrip at Long Semado where the RMAF Caribou transport aircraft would land to supply troops operating in the Long Semado area, and subsequently fly to Ba’kelalan to do a supply airdrop, since there wasn’t an airstrip at Ba’kelalan then.

When Ba’kelalan appeared in the news, I am reminded of Brig Jen Dato Mazlan Baharuddin (Retired) who in 1967 was the platoon commander based in Ba’kelalan, whom I had to replace during a changeover between our battalions i.e. 4 RMR and 6 RMR. Ba’kelalan too reminds me of a remote village called Long Rusu that is home of the Muruds and the gorgeous Murud lass named Rinai that I had written about in my May 2009 posting. I am quite sure Mazlan would be reading this posting and would reminisce with joy of having been the young and energetic platoon commander manning the Ba’kelalan outpost.

The Army Engineers is one corps that I have my greatest respect and fondness. From the experience being with them, they seemed reluctant to stop working until they were told to stop. This was what I observed during my tenure as the Malaysian Contingent Commander for UN Peacekeeping Operations in Cambodia at which time a field troop was assigned to the contingent. They are men of multiple skills and despite the enormous workload assigned to them, there has never been a whimper of complaint or dissatisfaction.

The Lawas-Ba’kelalan road and bridge projects assigned to the Army Engineers will surely be a challenging one. And it is not only the hazardous terrain and the cold nights that the soldiers have to endure, but also the long period of separation from their families. This is where most who are not familiar with the military service and their nature of work, can never appreciate the life that a soldier has to go through.
With the insurgency over, it is right that the Army Engineers be deployed to perform works that will benefit the people such as the one in Ba’kelalan. I am quite sure the people of Ba’kelalan and Lawas will remember the Army Engineers for their work for a very long time. And for the soldiers themselves, it is the field experience that they gain, that may be useful to them after they leave the military service.

And to my dear friend Brig Jen Dato Mazlan, like us who are now grandfathers, I suppose Rinai too must be a grandmother.


Friday, April 16, 2010


It has been rumoured that finally the Chief of Army will soon be discarding his uniform and be designated a retiree with a capital B in brackets after his name. Talks of an extension has simmered somewhat. We the retirees welcome him to the ‘Retirees Club’, void of fanfare and glamour of having ADC’s, door openers and bag carriers to serve him. He is now left to fend on his own, and even at the Golf Course there will no longer be the usual entourage of ‘businessmen’ to accompany him. I suppose the betting will also be lessened substantially.

I have witnessed such a scene before, but one thing, I am fortunate that all the bosses that I have served before, none has been unkind to me or has mistreated me to such an extent that I harbor hatred towards them. For whatever the reason, my relationship with my superiors has been one of mutual respect, cordial, gentlemanly and loyal. Even if I do not particularly like someone, I would normally avoid them.

The last superior officer that I served prior to my retirement in 1998 was Lt Gen Datuk Aziz Hassan, a likable fellow who later became the Deputy Chief of Army prior to his retirement. I clearly remembered that on his first day of office, he summoned me and upon meeting him, he said, “Arshad, you are still my friend”. I quickly replied, “Certainly Sir, I shall forever remain your friend”. I was a bit unfortunate though for not having served him long enough because I was then on the verge of retirement. But rest assured, I did enjoy the freedom of doing my job in the few months that I served him, without much supervision and harassment from him.

All along, since my days as a cadet officer, I have been a friend of Aziz who happens to be my senior in Cadet Wing. We are of the same company and despite him being a Cadet Sergeant he wasn’t the type who was sadistic and a bully towards his charge and juniors. Bullying in those days was trendy and we had some wild characters who just loved to see others panic. Aziz and I were later to attend the Young Officers Weapons Course at Port Dickson together and he performed exceedingly well. Aziz that I know is a pretty smart officer, of likable character but a poor loser at the game of golf. I use to be his usual sacrificial lamb.

Now back to the change of Army leadership. I am yet to know who is set to assume the new Chief of Army, but my hope is to see the Deputy Chief of Army takes over the post. This is to respect the norm in the change of leadership, where it is the deputy that will be charged to take over. If at all he wasn’t suitable, he should have been taken out well before the change. However, there have been cases in the past where the norm was cast aside, and personally my view is that this should not have happened.
Now, the million dollar question that is in the minds of most is who would be elevated to take over the post of Deputy Chief of Army. There are now four three star army generals (excluding DMI and DMS) to choose from, and should I be asked as to who would be my choice, I would say that he is someone who is God fearing, incorruptible, friendly, humble, composed, void of self interest, of sound professional knowledge and finally, one with absolute guts.

And let me be frank and honest, that the Army’s reputation in recent times has not been good which I have reflected it in my various postings. And my only hope is that with this leadership change, there will also be a change in public perception of the Army for the better, and not the contrary.


Thursday, April 15, 2010


I read that Mindef has formed the Malaysian Defence, Security and Enforcement Council (MDSEC) whose primary function is to ‘co-ordinate the production of items related to defence, security and enforcement with the view to enhance the standard of the industries in the affected field’. It is also to ‘strengthen understanding between the government and private companies which produced defence and security products and hence avoid competition’. This announcement was made by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently.

Although I am not privy to the full terms of reference of MDSEC, this certainly is a new development which I believe will bode well for the future of the Malaysian Defence Industry. Its realization though late, can be a source of encouragement and motivation for the private sector to indulge itself with the industry as there is now a well regulated national body to co-ordinate the activities of the defence industry sector.

I am sure there will be regulatory policies emanating from the council, and utmost to the private sector is an understanding as to what will be the government’s contribution to the industry, in particular with regards to funding for research and development, grants or loans to subsequently produce and manufacture readied and well tested products, and an assurance that locally manufactured products has the priority for purchase over imported products. As we all know, costs is the most inhibiting factor if one were to indulge in the defence industry sector, and without an assurance from the government that the end product will be firmly secured for local market first, no right minded investor would want to get themselves involved with the defence industry sector.

We all know too well that the Malaysian Defence Industry is very much in its ‘infancy’ compared to some countries of the ASEAN region. Of course, the Republic of Singapore is ahead, and now has a well developed and burgeoning defence industry despite being a relatively young nation. One has only to understand how Singapore reached the zenith of its defence production and manufacturing capabilities which was clearly the result of well crafted government policies. There was also the political will and commitment of the government and its leaders that invigorated the private sector to accept challenges in the production and manufacture of sophisticated defence products. There are many things that we can learn from the Singapore experience, and it is also for this reason that I would concur with a recent proposal put forward by the Defence Minister for the creation of a sort of regional ‘Defence Industry Council’ (if I may use such a term).

Malaysia has for far too long been dependent upon the purchase of foreign manufactured defence products and after 50 odd years of independence, the country is still unable to produce even a single indigenously designed pistol, let alone talk about producing rocket, missiles, tanks etc… etc. Why has this been so? And why has the government been lethargic, slow and lacking in concern to recognize the importance of developing an indigenous defence industry that is capable of meeting some of the nation’s defence requirement? Even if there has been a local defence industry, why have our own people been so cocky and quick to reject a locally manufactured product, for an imported one? This has been a perennial problem faced by our local defence manufacturer, and for as long as such skewed mentality prevails among our own people, our defence industry will forever remain uninspiring to an investor.

Let us hope that with the creation of MDCSE, it shall signal a new beginning for the local defence industry and for it to emerge an important and niche industry that contributes towards meeting the nation’s defence needs, as well as fulfilling the nation’s aspiration of becoming a develop nation by year 2020.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I wish to draw your attention to the numerous appeals by Mej Nor Ibrahim bin Sulaiman RMAF (Retired) concerning the granting of some form of monetary award to the recipients of the gallantry award of JPP, PTU and KPK. (please view I think Mej Nor Ibrahim has written letters to various authorities to consider his appeal, and including one to the wife of the Prime Minister. I have been following Mej Nor Ibrahim's consistent writings in his blog concerning this matter, and I personally view his appeal as a “crusade in the name of justice for the sacrifices rendered by our soldiers, airmen and seamen in defence of the nation”. We know that some of the recipients have lost their lives; some maim for life, and others lucky enough to live to tell their story to their children and grandchildren.

I sense that no one really care about what Mej Nor Ibrahim is trying to do, and I think all of you fall into that category of military leaders who do not care as well. I am really disgusted that none of you could do anything to convince the authorities that what Mej Nor Ibrahim is trying to do is noble, unselfish and that can affect the morale of not only the recipients of the aforesaid gallantry awards, but to the entire members of the Armed Forces; retired or otherwise. Please remember that these are gallantry awards for exploits in the face of the enemy, and presented by the King; not awards that one buys.

You have an official forum to deliberate on this matter i.e. the Jawatankuasa Panglima Panglima, but does anyone of you ever thought of raising and deliberating this all important matter in the Jawatankuasa? I may be wrong, but I suppose non have ever thought of taking this matter up collectively to the authorities. Just in case that you do not know or have forgotten, the Jawatankuasa Panglima Panglima is a powerful forum, and if ever the Armed Forces wants to stage a coup d'etat, it is through this all powerful forum. I am not suggesting one, but merely to impress upon all of you the importance of the Jawatankuasa.

I think, what has really annoyed Mej Nor Ibrahim and including me, is the recent announcement by the Youth and Sports Minister that athletes who qualify for the Olympics will receive a monthly allowance of RM2,000, from a previous sum of RM1,000. He also said that the government would increase the SEA Games reward to RM10,000 for the first gold, and another RM5,000 for subsequent gold. For the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, a reward of RM80,000 for gold, RM40,000 for silver and RM20,000 for bronze. For the Olympics, a gold medalist is set to receive RM1 million, RM300,000 for silver and RM100,000 for bronze. What absurdity are these and I think the Youth and Sports Minister must be dreaming when he made the announcement. I am not at all surprise that these 'gallant sportsmen and sportswomen' will one day be eligible to receive the gallantry awards of SP, PGB, JPP, PTU and the KPK.

I would now like to make a personal request on behalf of my retired colleague Mej Nor Ibrahim, that all of you sit and ponder for a moment whether Mej Nor Ibrahim is right in doing what he did i.e. to fight for the rights of the recipients of the JPP, PTU and KPK. If you all think that Mej Nor Ibrahim is right, then for God sake, take it collectively to the government for its approval and nothing less, and not leave it to Mej Nor Ibrahim to fight it alone. But if you all think that Mej Nor Ibrahim appeal has no standing, and that the sportsmen and sportswomen deserve better, than I suggest that all of you resign collectively, and the many stars on your shoulder be thrown into Sungai Klang. I think you will gain respect by doing this.


Sunday, April 11, 2010


Home Minister, Hishamuddin speaks with a fork tongue. Having first denied that there was a security breach in the RMP by supposedly Israeli agents working for a communications company contracted by Bukit Aman, he then went on to announced that a thorough investigation of the alleged security breach will be carried out by four agencies of the government. Why four investigating agencies is mind boggling. To most, this only proves that there is some truth in the allegation that was brought about by Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament. What I thought is even more ridiculous is that the whistle-blower Anwar Ibrahim will now be investigated for having brought the issue out to public notice. And I am sure he will be made to look the valiant and a compulsive liar by the mainstream media.

I have read and known about this security breach in a posting by blogger Johari Ismail back in January 2009, but nothing much appeared in the mainstream media. I presume then that what was posted by Johari is irrelevant and baseless till now, when the story is forced out in Parliament, coupled with a stunning revelation by RPK who even had a copy of the minutes of discussion held between RMP officers and the Home Minister relating to the reported security breach posted in Malaysia Today. What caught my eyes is in the few last lines of the minutes which sought that the discussion be kept out from public notice. It is strange that a matter of such importance affecting national security be kept from public notice. I do not know whether Military Intelligence was aware of this when it was first made known to the police.

Now, who is the bigger liar………. Is it the whistle blower Anwar, Johari or the Home Minister? Sadly, even the IGP does not seem to agree that there was a security breach and his statement seemed to suggest that this whole affair is being concocted and politicized by Anwar for his political gain and a diversion from his on-going sodomy trial. If this is how our nation’s security agency views breaches of national security, and where the public is expected to remain silent, then I would say that we might as well not have a security agency at all.

In my 34 years of military service, I have had numerous opportunities working with the Police Special Branch officers on military operations. I have my highest respect and regards for their professionalism, and never was there a time where I was confronted with selfish police officers who placed their own service interest first over collective military/police interest. The many military success throughout the insurgency period is undeniably attributed to the support we got from the Police Special Branch. And having to hear about this security breach by purportedly Israeli agents within our police organization makes me to wonder what has become off our once renowned Police Special Branch. And the denial by the Home Minister and echoed by the IGP, is indeed frightening.

The question now is to what extend has the police organization and national security being breached? The public need to know, simply because national security is not only the concern of the police, the military or any other government security agencies, but it is also the concern of the ordinary public. How then could the government, and in particular the Home Minister expects the public to partake in ensuring national security when they (public) are oblivious to breaches of national security that could affect their daily lives? Or is it in the opinion of the Home Minister that it is him alone who has a complete say in matters of national security?


Sunday, April 4, 2010


I am back, and must thank all that have taken time to make comments at my last posting. It seems that I am not the only person to voice my reservation at PERKASA, and from the comments that I get, it is clear that a majority views PERKASA as nothing more than a political gimmick and a ‘hollow tin can’. Even BN Parliamentarian Nazri Aziz has declared PERKASA an opportunist; the only member of the ruling government to have opposed PERKASA, with the unusual silence from his own ruling party. Or was Nazri Aziz merely insinuating at Tun Dr. Mahathir for his presence at the AGM? And we know well that Nazri Aziz does not hide his ‘dislike’ for Tun, and is so often at loggerhead at what Tun does or say. Even the fire-brand Khairy seemed to have turned mute.

I also noticed that there were comments that viewed me as being anti-establishment. I am not at all surprised nor am I offended by such views, because I am an advocate of the freedom of speech and expression. And surely, the views that I have expressed in my postings cannot be totally wrong, nor do I claim that all that I have written is absolutely correct. It is up to the readers then to judge and to voice out their agreement or disagreement; however distasteful it is to me. It is for this very reason too that I do not wish to edit nor discard comments from my viewers. I view comments as an expression of one’s inner thoughts, and it is also through their writing that allows me to have a fair idea as to the character of a person.

I must say here that I do get regular calls from people and some do come forward to me to express their likes and dislike, or to put right some of the things that I have written. I do not have the cause or the reason to dislike them, nor do I want to get into an argument with them. I would merely say to them that they have every right to disagree, and I too have every right to say and write what I deem to be true. There is always one thing that I demand in a person i.e. that respect has to be mutual.

Now, on the question of corruption, the government seems to have conceded to the demands of the rakyat. PM Najib has recently announced a new policy that is supposed to enhance transparency and curb corruption in the award of contracts and tenders. I hope this policy is not merely a show by the government that they are serious in combating corruption. What this policy means is actually an acknowledgment by the government that corruption in this country is so rampant and blatant, and that something has to be done quickly before the country falls in line with some of the most corrupt countries of the world.

One needs to ask who actually are the perpetrators of this evil acts? My answer would firstly be politicians, and secondly civil servants. This is the undeniable truth, and since they are the powers themselves, I now begin to suspect that this new ‘anti-corruption policy’ announced by PM Najib may not be the end solution to the eradication of corruption in this country. Policies will be meaningless, if the people who manage and implement the policies are not sorted out first. We need people with integrity, honestly and God fearing to act as the custodian of these policies; not rouges and rascals that we so often hear off. It was only a few weeks ago that a young political secretary to a senior minister was caught with millions in his possession. Earlier, we had a civil servant who was a Director General with a substantial amount of unexplained cash kept in his house. These are examples of what I meant by rouges and rascals, and certainly such examples are not exhaustive.

I am told too that some top civil servants, especially those with the powers to approve huge tenders and contracts, have now got wiser in trying to escape noticed for corruption. They would approve tenders and contracts to their favoured companies; only to be offered a position as Chairman or Director of the company upon their retirement; of course with some monetary benefits accompanying the offer. And as Chairman and Director of the favoured company, they would then continue to play an influencing and exerting role to secure new tenders and contracts from the office where they had previously served. This is not uncommon, and one only needs to search the internet or refer to the Registrar of Companies to gain excess to names of Chairman and Directors of companies.

While I wish to remain skeptical of the new ‘anti-corruption policies’ introduced by the government recently, I am hopeful that something positive will come about from this policy. I also wish and hope that the ‘custodian’ of this policy are those who are trustworthy, honest and are well imbued with self respect, integrity and above all………God fearing.