Saturday 23rd July 2011, I attended a reunion of officers who had served 15th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment in the era of the 70’s at Kem Rasah, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. This is the second time a reunion of such nature was organized; the first being last year held at about the same period at Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam, Kuala Lumpur.
The reason the organizers’ chose Kem Rasah for the reunion this year was because Kem Rasah was the home of the battalion when it was first established back in the late 60’s. The camp was formerly the Headquarters of the British Gurkha Brigade that withdrew out of this country to conform to the British government’s policy of withdrawing all their troops ‘East of Suez’.
This year’s reunion was accompanied by the spouses and it was wonderful to see the first three Commanding Officers (CO) in the crowd and they are, first, Lt Kol Osman Harun (retired in the rank of Lt Jen), second, Lt Kol Abdul Rahman Lassim (retired in the rank of Kol) and third, Lt Kol Ismail Salleh (retired in the rank of Kol).
Besides the first three CO’s, we also had officers that were the first unit staff officers i.e. the adjutant Capt Yusof Dahaman (retired in the rank of Lt Kol) and the Mechanical Transport Officer Lt Wan Mohammad Wan Ali(retired in the rank of Lt Kol). I was also pleased to meet four of my platoon commanders i.e. Lt Kol Ariffin Shah Muhamad (retired), Lt Kol Noor Mohamed Abdullah (retired), Lt Kol Abd Rahman Kamil (retired) and Mej Ahmad Dzahir Hj. Ali (retired). These were the platoon commanders that I had that made my army life interesting.
I am fortunate to have served the first two of the three CO’s and I remembered having to take command of a rifle company on 29th September 1971 when the battalion was on operations at Kroh, Perak. I was to remain with the battalion for almost 5 years before being posted out to a newly raised battalion i.e. 18th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment that was being formed at Segenting Kem, Port Dickson where I served for 2 years. So in all, I held the post of Company Commander for a total of 7 years; a record I suppose.
Having got into Kem Rasah, I was dumbfounded to see the changes that have taken shape within the camp itself; not for the better but sadly for the worse. The entire camp area looks so run down, and it appears more of a refugee detention center than an army camp. Someone remarked that we should all be ashamed if a Thai Army Officer were to visit the camp, because the army camps in Thailand are far superior and well maintained. I do not know if ever any of the higher Commanders visits the camp, and I wonder what have they to say about the camp.
I think Kem Rasah should have long moved out because of the intense development surrounding the camp. It is definitely not a safe military complex any more, where even the perimeter fencing is no longer in existence. I am now beginning to wonder why Kem Rasah, the camp where I spent 5 years of my army life has been left to neglect. I just wonder why. Certainly, the soldiers in Kem Rasah deserve something better.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION