Yesterday, March 1st 2011, the Malaysian Army celebrates its 78th anniversary with an all arms parade held at Sg. Besi Camp. The parade square that had seen many Army Day parades has been given a new face lift, with a large covered grandstand that can seat around a thousand spectators, if not more. To all army cadets that were trained at the Federation Military College Sg. Besi, the roundabout at the entrance of the parade square was the landmark for cadets to do a turnabout during their evening run back to the college.
I remembered too that it was at the same roundabout where I took chase of a car driven by civilian contractor who was seen speeding along the stretch of road that leads to the military college. I caught the driver and ordered him out of the camp. The roundabout also reminds me of some ghostly incidents that had affected some soldiers on their midnight rounds.
I was stuck by the speech made by the Chief of Army (COA), Gen Zulkifi Mohd Zain at the Army Day Anniversary Parade when he said, “Although I am a soldier, this does not mean that I do not bother about politics……but I am not involved in politics. I keep abreast with political developments top keep myself well informed”.
That was the most welcomed speech ever to have come out from the COA. I welcome the speech because that puts the army in its correct perspective and to quell any misconception that people has of the army that it is a tool or a ‘poodle’ of politicians. It is also a reminder to soldiers and politicians alike that the army and the armed forces as a whole is apolitical organization, free of the abuses of politics.
There have been a number of cases in the past where politicians have attempted to take advantage of the army to spike their popularity, especially nearing an election. We observe such a thing happened during the by-election at Bagan Pinang, Port Dickson of which I was not too pleased about, and had expressed it my writings.
As soldiers, they are certain of their responsibilities, and they must be seen to play a non partisan role in politics, nor are soldiers to be exploited by politicians, consciously or otherwise. As rightly said by the COA, soldiers also have a responsibility towards society and this role must not be seen to have anything to do to ‘curry flavour’ the government. Soldiers have participated in a number of ‘hearts and minds’ activities notably in the remote and inaccessible areas and such activities should continue as soldier’s are a link between the government and those living in the remote areas.
Finally, I wish to congratulate the Army and in particular its leadership on the army’s 78th Anniversary.
CRUSADE AGSAINST CORRUPTION