Friday, April 17, 2009


There has been comments from among some senior retirees of the armed forces, and including some from within the service, that there is no real justification for top senior officers of the armed forces to be given an extension of service exceeding their official retirement age. The top seniors officers that I am referring to are the three service chiefs i.e. army, navy and air force, and the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).

The practice of extending the service of senior officers of the armed forces is more often applicable to the CDF, and occasionally, to the three service chiefs. I am told that the present CDF is on an extended service, and is scheduled to retire early next year, while both the Army Chief and the Air Force Chief would also be retiring at about the same period next year. The Navy Chief who was appointed to the post last year, has several more years to serve, and should both the Army and Air Force Chief retire, the Navy Chief, will in all probability be the next CDF.

The argument against the extension of service of top senior officers is simply that the armed forces does not have a well defined succession policy that is transparent, ideal, justifiable and fair. I believe, there is already a policy defining that the post of the CDF can be assigned to either one of the three service chiefs, which hitherto has been dominated by the Army Chief, except on one occasion where the post was held by the Navy Chief. The ideal would be to have the post assigned to the service chiefs on a rotational basis. But this often cannot be done, because of the aforesaid reason.

I am not able to reason out why is it so necessary that the CDF be extended, every time one is appointed to the post. Is it because he has such an important work that he wants to accomplish, that requires him to be extended? Or is it to give him the extra mile, because his tenure to the post is deemed too short? Or is it merely for a compassionate reasons? Or is he so outstanding in his job that he is deemed in-dispensable?

Whatever be the reason, by extending the service of the CDF, it does not really help in the subsequent succession plan. More often, the successor to the post will in all probability be extended too, maybe for one of the reasons stated above, or for other unknown reason. And this process of succession will go on endlessly. If at all there are strong and justifiable reasons that a CDF should be appointed for a reasonable period, why not then make it a policy, that upon an officer being assigned to the post of CDF, he will remain in that post for a specified period e.g. 3 years maximum, regardless of his age. This will give each service the opportunity to plan for the next succession, since they are informed of the retirement date of the incumbent CDF.

It has been rumoured that cronyism is presently being practiced by some senior officers. It is a question of whom you know, and not what you know, that finally decides the promotion and the succession plan. They say that the reason for this is to protect the interest of certain officers even after they leave the service. If this indeed be the practice of some officer, I wouldn't be surprised that we will no longer have a dedicated and professional armed forces, but one that is build on cronyism and self interest.

Let us hope that the current corps of officers of the armed forces remains true to their profession, and not be subjected to the 'worldly temptations' that will destroy the outstanding image of the force, that has been meticulously build by officers of the past.



komando said...

The ATM has always put the their priorities wrong, from selection of leaders to the colour of dress uniforms!

So, there is no need to plan out for anyone..the political masters have the last say, you play the game right and the ball will remain with you forever, even after retirement guaranteed!

Smart officers does the mean you are gonna make it, play it right and carry apples and shoes, licks toes will do the job, YES man all the way!

That is the only criteria...they call it DS Solution or the PINK...!


Unknown said...

I was not from the army but I often heard from some serving and retired military friends talking about what happens in the miltary.

When a general becomes the CDF he automatically becomes perfect and "indispensible"!

When there is a Prime Minister and Minister of Defence change, the military leadership cannot change and therefore CDF must remain to "tongkat langit".

If there is a war before the PM and Minister of Defence can warm up their seats ( may be one to two years) this country would lose the war if the military were led by a new CDF.

The country must extend the services of CDF if he salutes and kisses the hands of PM and Minister of Defence and their wives. CDF's wife does the same to PM, Defence Minister and their wives but of course less saluting.

The CDF must be from the army because it is the most senior service and also has the biggest manpower compared to the navy and air force! Malaysia must never follow other countries which practise "service rotation" and "best person for the job" because we are different.

Malaysian Armed Forces is a great organisation and everbody lives happily ever after.

Ir. Hanafi Ali said...

The military profession in general and the officers corps in particular are honorable vocation and discipline.

To see an officer divert his attention from honing his skills (either physically as in physical training to strategically as in formulating the best defense strategy) to getting his purse fattened with the purse strings held by his or her political masters, is, for lack of a more finesse word, sickening.

Being an officer does not just mean that one does not crack under psychological pressure over a short time, but also over worldly temptations that is prolonged into years and decades.

I salute good officers. May there be more and more of them.

maurice said...

To eradicate any negative perception, those in position of power must formulate policies regarding the following:
1. Forbidding officers meeting businessmen after office hours.
2. Forbidding officers to receive gifts from businessmen.
3. Forbidding officers to play golf individually with businessmen.
3. Forbidding officers to be entertained by businessmen during overseas trips.
4. Forbidding sponsored trips by businessmen for spouses and families to accompany official trips.
5. Forbidding immediate relatives to work in companies doing business with the Armed Forces.
5. Stationing MACC officers at Armed Forces critical points.

Such directives must be accompanied by strong enforcement mechanisms.

Unknown said...

I like Maurice's comments, it appears harsh but that's the way to put things right, restore the military image and honour.

YB Zahid Hamidi, Mindef KSU, PAT and the military "chiefs" will make the difference by enforcing what Maurice has suggested. They have to lead by examples.

In addition, the government must seriously consider prohibitting KSU and military chiefs from sitting on boards of private companies having Mindef contracts.
These seniors must be given the chance to use their positions and power to "screw" defence contractors which fail to perform instead of getting their hands tied with handsome "financial perks" and very attractive company privileges.

The government must seriously consider the policy of "senior retired military officers are allowed to take up directorships or consultancy positions in private companies having contracts with Mindef only after three years of their retirement".

The present practice of Mindef KSUs and military chiefs joining private defence industry companies immediately after their retirement becomes a laughing stock and it is a classic case of "accomodating
and encouraging corruptions".