Wednesday, April 15, 2009


YB Dato Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had on Monday taken over the Defence Ministry, to the pomp and ceremonious welcoming display of military splendor. This is a sort of home coming to a familiar environment for Dr. Ahmad Zahid who is no stranger to the ministry. He was the Political Secretary to the then Defence Minister Dato Seri Mohd Najib back in the early 90’s. As the new minister, he assumes a heavy responsibility to ensure that the Armed Forces remains well equipped and ready to perform its roles and responsibilities, in responding to the domestic demands of the country, as well as the meet the country’s obligations to serve the United Nations in a myriad of roles.

It is heartening to note that Dr. Ahmad Zahid has assured that he will continue the work left by his predecessors, and will at the same time be looking at issues affecting the moral and well being of soldiers. It is true that Malaysian soldiers are an easy lot to look after. Just take good care of their families, and one is assured of the soldier loyalty to the service and his work.

I would like to suggest that Dr. Ahmad Zahid seriously look into the affairs of PERHEBAT, LTAT and PBTM, as these organizations have a significant roles to play in attending to the needs and requirement of both the serving and non-serving members of the Armed Forces. There is still much that these organizations can do to alleviate the economic and social woes normally faced by soldiers upon their retirement, especially those without technical, limited managerial and administrative skills. Admittedly, each organization have a specific charter, function and role to play, but they cannot claim to disassociate themselves from the Armed Forces – that’s sacrosanct.

I was privileged to have met the current PERHEBAT Chairman, Admiral Tan Sri Ilyas Din (Retired) over lunch recently. The discussion centered upon how he wishes to place PERBEHAT on a level where the trainees upon having been trained at PERHEBAT, are ready to go into civilian employment, or have acquired higher level recognizable skills to go into private business. In other words, the trainees leave with an assured productive second employment, and that they are not merely trained without ever seeing the prospects of acquiring an employment. As rightly said by Tan Sri Ilyas, it is the end product that matters, and the success of PERHEBAT will be determined by having to know that all their trainees are usefully and securely employed upon leaving the center.

One important issue raised by Dr. Ahmad Zahid in his first day of office that caught my attention, was the mention that he would like to see the raising of army volunteer units at all parliamentary constituencies. This would mean having volunteer units in all 222 parliamentary constituencies, and if it is going to be a company strength each, that will be equivalent to 55 Infantry Battalions, totaling approximately 27,000 personnel, and this does not take into consideration the supporting combat, logistics and administrative units. This is a phenomenal number, and even getting volunteers to fill in the existing vacancies in the present volunteer organizations is difficult enough.

While the intension is noble, i.e. getting more civilians to be involved and committed to the defence of the country; however, the manner in which the proposal was made appears to have a political connotation. This may be in conflict with the status of the Armed Forces as an organization that is apolitical, and is not affiliated to any particular political outfit, nor has it any vested political interest. It would better serve the country for the existing volunteer organization (army, navy and air force) be restructured to meet national strategic requirements (within affordable budgetary constraints), as an effective second line defence forces. The structuring of volunteer forces to meet the sole requirement of parliamentary constituencies, may not fit well into the overall Armed Forces strategic requirements.

Another aspect that Dr. Ahmad Zahid may want to seriously look into is with regards to broadening the base of the country’s defence industry, with emphasis towards greater specialization, and the production of high value defence products. Admittedly, R&D costs will be excessive, and the ability to indigenously produce some of the country’s defence needs is the only option for the country to progressively attain its self reliance capability in defence equipment, especially at a time when the country has only eleven more years left to reach its aspired developed nation status.

It is now left to Dr. Ahmad Zahid to show the lead, to propel the nation’s defence industry capabilities, and to narrow the technological gap between us and some of our neighbours, and at the same time to bring the level of our Armed Forces to greater heights.

Posted at 12 pm April 15, 2009


mangchikla said...

"Undi Pos" potential

Ir. Hanafi Ali said...


Ir. Hanafi Ali said...



I am currently enlisted as a private with the TAs. Last year I attended the Kursus Bakal Pegawai Siri 1/2008 in Puswatan/PLAW, and was unceremoniously FAILED for "failing to command" my platoon during the course, and various others accusations.

I was the only one that was failed out of 73 students (but one more RTU the first week).

I could not fathom why I was THE ONLY ONE failed, due to THE REASONS GIVEN. If others failed, too, for the same reason (there were many incompetent, unfit and totally uselly coursemates but they were not failed), I would have understood and accepted my failure.

I accepted all the raggings by the trainers, even drank nestum mixed with the salivas of my other platoon mates (they drank parts of it, too).

Is this the army of the 21st century?

To me Malaysian Arm/military are a bunch of abused victims. They accept their abuse as part of army trainings. You know how psychologically-wrecked the Malaysian green berets are.

Why do you guys need 1 year or 18-month kursus peralihan from military to civilian, if not for the fact that most of you have been psychologically damaged, in the name of to be trained for membunuh dan dibunuh.

Far sophisticated armies of the world have discarded such torture of their own men and officers.

Why in hell does Malaysian military still maintain such an outdated training methodology???

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Hansac,

I appeal to you to communicate with me for me to really understand the problems that you a facing with the TA. I can be contacted at 012-3876061 or email I can assure you that I will do my level best to seek the truth and to highlight your problems to the Chief of Army.

Ir. Hanafi Ali said...


Not just I will contact you, but if you have the time, I will meet you up.

I will be going to KL in a fortnight or so and would be very grateful if you could spare some of your time to hear me out.


Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Hansac,

Certainly. Its a pleasure meeting you. Just call me when you are in KL. Regards.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to YB Dato Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Zahid Hamidi, though he has been in Mindef before as Political Secretary to Najib, is now faced with gigantic tasks of putting right to so many ugly perceptions of Mindef, corrupted PTD officers and senior generals.

I know Zahid Hamidi and I have some hopes for him to change or "reform" to so many wrong doings which have been disregarded but accepted as norms and right.
Top on his checklist of "reforms" is to clear names of his PTD officers and senior generals from being perceived as "corrupts".
I know that he knows who they are and if he doesn't, MACC or you, Dato Arshad , can assist Zahid Hamidi. If senior officers are corrupted Zahid Hamidi must not offer them early retirement, instead make them responsible and accountable for their disgraceful conduct by sending them to jails! This would be the only way to avoid generals flirtting with defence contractors and gather wealth while serving in top positions.

Zahid Hamidi should immediately cease the "direct negotiations to award contracts to cronnies" as what we have heard and seen in the past. This is one of the main reasons why the military had been "forced" to accept sub-standard defence equipments. Indirectly BN and UMNO lost many votes because of this sickening practices.

Zahid Hamidi MUST really and positively put to tasks to defence industry companies which appear to be Mindef's and Treasury's cronnies but failed to deliver. Companies such as AIROD, Target Resources, ZETRO, ATSC, Pustaka Astana, SAPURA, SME and many more are known to have been given big contracts but failed to meet the military needs. An example, just make a surprise walk to AIROD and see for yourself billions of dollars of government aircrafts lying in the hangers waiting for repair and maintenance... and for a very long time too! Sadly, our Defence Industry Council has a powerful sounding name but the nation's defence industry capability is moving nowhere.

Zahid Hamidi must be aware that serving and the retird military are very "angry" and frustrated when and if the military is being politicised by BN and UMNO. Soldiers serve the government of the day, they must be taken care of but hate to be politicised. If Zahid Hamidi continues remembering these secret words, positively enforcing it, he will receive genuine salutes ( not necessarily getting his hands kissed) and he will be the most respected Defence Minister in history.
My prayer and good luck to YB Dato Dr.Zahid Hamidi.