Monday, April 14, 2014

The General who cannot let go




Zulkifeli Mohd. Zin
Panglima Angkatan Tentera.png
Chief of Malaysian Armed Forces
Assumed office
15 June 2011
MonarchKing Mizan Zainal Abidin
King Abdul Halim
Preceded byGeneral Azizan Ariffin
Malaysian Army Commander
In office
21 May 2010 – 14 June 2011
Preceded byGeneral Muhammad Ismail Jamaluddin
Succeeded byGeneral Zulkifli Zainal Abidin
Personal details
BornJune 14, 1954 (age 59)
Pasir MasKelantan,Federation of Malaya
Spouse(s)Umi Kalsom Wan Awang
Alma materSandhurst Military Academy
Military service
Years of service1974 - now
CommandsAll unit
AwardsGrand Commander of the Armed Forces
MissionIMT Mission - Mindanao

Do our Armed Forces have a Succession Plan?

In parliament I raised the matter about a white paper on last year’s Lahad Datu Incident. I asked whether MINDEF will come out with a white paper on the incident. The minister of defence gave me a written answer saying that since the matter is in the courts, there will be no white paper forthcoming.
I hope that’s temporary. Once the court finishes with the case on the mischief makers, the MINDEF must come out with a white paper. If they don’t, how can our military form any doctrine as to how to deal with future similar aggression?
The business of coming out with a white paper must be top priority of the Chief of Armed Forces. Why is he dragging his feet on this matter? I am told he has dismissed the idea of coming out with a white paper. Is he capable to lead our military?
Even so, there must be some internal report and analysis on the matter. As an MP concern with the security of the nation as well as other MPs, we should be allowed to look at the internal report if there are any. This will allow us to gain a better appreciation of the role of the military. We want to support our brave soldiers and that is possible with a deeper appreciation and understanding. If the chief of armed forces is a mercurial fellow branding anyone who questions the conduct of the military as traitors, he is not conducting himself professionally.
As it is, I am very surprised that he has acted more like a tactical commander over the Lahad Datu incident rather than playing the role of a strategic commander. Why was he at the scene of clashes in lahad datu when we have field commanders in Sabah? Isn’t our First Division based in Sabah? A brigadier General is probably there commanding the Sabah theatre.
In the famous Japanese movie Kagemusha- the conduct of a strategic commander is beautifully summed up in the words- the mountain does not move. When Shingen moved, his enemies immediately became aware of his weaknesses. When our PAT or Chief or Armed Forces moved to Lahd Datu- that decision exposed all our weaknesses. First of all, it exposed out organisational weakness. Our field commanders are not entrusted and maybe inadvertently shown as not capable of handling an incursion of over 200 men.
The whole military conduct was unsound. We had to use commercial aeroplanes to ferry out soldiers to Sabah forgetting that we have our First Division Army there. We can’t excuse our logistics weakness by saying that one Hercules transport plane can only fly 92 soldiers and equipment at one time. We are not going to fly there only once a day are we? Don’t tell me one Hercules can only do one trip to Lahad datu per day.  We have to move seven battalions to Lahad datu mostly on civilian aircrafts exposing weakness in our military logistics.
I also asked the defence minister how much we spent on Ops Daulat. He gave a written answer saying that since this involves security of the nation, we don’t want to take issue on the costs. In other words, we spent what we need to spend. Yet only days later, it was stated that we spent RM300 million on the formation of Esscom. Presumably a big portion went to defray the costs of defending Lahad Datu.
The Minister didn’t answer whether the purchase of assets and decision to spend on consumables was done though the proper channels or as I asked, done through tender? Because it was easy for the PT to justify an expenditure during that period as being dictated by the emergency nature.
I understand our PAT is already 60 years old. He has lobbied and the minister has agreed to extend his services for another 2 years. He has served this country well but it is time for others to take over. I want to ask- is there a succession plan of the military top brass?
Why do we need to extend the services of the current PAT by another 2 years? Does this mean that the other services chiefs are not qualified to take over? We have at least four 4-star generals who could easily take over as PAT. we have the Navy Chief, the Air Force Chief, Chief of Amy and the Chief of the National Defence University. Why don’t we appoint any of these fellows?
Our military needs new commanders and new doctrines and needs to be modernized. The Lahad Datu Incident showed many shortcomings. The latest case of the missing MH370 further exposed our inadequacies. We lacked mission capable assets. The Hercules planes participating in Australia are doing exactly what? Hercules is merely a transport plane that is hardly suitable for SAR operations, unless of course we define eye observation as SAR.
The chief of armed forces is always housed at a government quarters somewhere near the old Istana Negara. Recently, the residence of our armed forces chief was renovated at a cost of nearly RM10 million. Hundreds of low ranking soldiers were mustered to do work at the house doing cleaning up jobs I suppose. How was it decided that we needed to spend this amount on sprucing up the official residence of our army chief? Is it proper also for the PAT to call up our soldiers to do domestic work at his residence?
Sakmongkol AK47

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Biggest heist in the world

With such promising career how not to tumble down like a rolling stone.