When the Defence Minister revealed to the world that we only had four Sukhoi Su-30MKMs that could fly out of the 18 that we have, I kept quiet because no one was interested in listening. This problem of the Sukhois had already been anticipated by both the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and by defence observers such as myself.
The RMAF was never told by Russia that once the fighters reach their 10th year, a major maintenance was required before they reach another milestone.
This problem had been anticipated from a couple of years back, even as early as under the leadership of the previous Chief of RMAF. The RMAF had since then made sure that all the other assets could make up for the Sukhois being offline for some time.
Today, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported an anonymous RMAF source saying that the problem of the Sukhois is not the weakness of the organisation’s maintenance regime, but more because of the way the Russians do business.
The deal with Russia for the Sukhois were made in 2003 during the final year of the administration of the 4th Prime Minister, and were delivered to the RMAF in 2007 and 2009. Receiving good support initially, Russian bureaucratic ways soon set in and made things difficult.
Although Western countries have offered Malaysia their fighters, buying from them always come with strings attached. When we purchased our earlier Boeing F/A-18 Hornets, the US did not allow them to come with the advanced weapons. We only received those after the Russians sold us their version of those weapons.
Coupled with slashed budgets, the RMAF had found it difficult to ensure that the Su-30MKMs undergo their 10th year undisclosed maintenance.
Russia needs to learn to rid itself of the bureaucracy that riddles its defence industry if it wants to continue having developing nations’ trust. Else there is no choice but for their air forces, including ours, to seek fighters elsewhere.
The Royal Malaysian Air Force turns 60 today. Despite turning a year older, the RMAF still maintains the theme of last year’s celebration which is “Air Power Pillar of National Sovereignty” (Kuasa Udara Tonggak Kedaulatan Negara). Yet, despite being a critical element in force projection and taking the fight away from the nation’s territory, the RMAF suffers from lack of attention. The Army has had new equipment added into their inventory including MD530G armed scout helicopters while the Navy has begun embarking on its 15-to-5 fleet modernisation, the Air Force has not seen any major purchases other than the inclusion of the Airbus A400M three years ago.
The responsibility of defending Malaysia’s airspace falls on the shoulders of the Boeing F/A-18D Hornets and the Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers. The latter are now undergoing its 10-year service programme which affects the number of aircraft available. The revival of the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29N Fulcrums came to a halt when the previous government decided not to fund their refurbishment. And whether there will be any funding for the Multirole Combat Aircraft (MRCA) programme remains to be seen. As it is right now, I doubt that the MRCA is at the top of the RMAF’s priority list. There are other pressing issues.
MRCA versus LCA/LIFT
Like it or not, MRCAs are very expensive to operate. And the RMAF suffers from having too many types of aircraft in its inventory, creating a logistical nightmare. Many of the interceptions over the South China Sea are done by the BAe System Hawk 208 light multirole fighters. The Hawks are more than 20 years old now and are affected by wear and tear. Subsonic with a thrust to weight ratio of 0.65, the Hawks are not the ideal aircraft for such jobs. Wear and tear due to age is also causing the RMAF to not be able to provide real flying hours for its younger pilots. Although its simulators can now provide high-fidelity training, there is nothing like getting a bird in the air in a real environment.
Once all the Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flankers have undergone the 10th year servicing, the RMAF would have an adequate number of multirole fighters. Therefore, rather than getting MRCAs at this juncture, the RMAF should concentrate on getting light combat aircraft cum lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft that could minimise the time needed to fully develop its fighter pilots. During World War 2, the Imperial Japanese Navy could not train its combat pilots sufficiently causing it to lose air superiority. Although its aircraft industry could churn out more aircraft, replacement pilots could not be trained fast enough. This is a situation the RMAF needs to avoid. It has to have a sufficient number of very capable and modern LIFT aircraft and a combat version to operate from. More modern contenders such as the Yakovlev Yak-130 and its Italian version the Alenia Aermacchi M-346, as well as the Korea Aerospace Industries KAI T-50 and its light combat aircraft version the FA-50.
A consideration that needs to be taken by the RMAF is the thrust-to-weight ratio of the contenders. The Yak-130/M-346 offer a ratio of 0.70 versus the T-50’s 0.96. The rate of climb for the Yak-130/M-346 is at 10,000 feet per minute while the T-50/FA-50 is at 39,000 feet per minute. The T-50/FA-50 has a digital fly-by-wire (FBW) system as do the Yak-130/M-346, but taking into consideration the commonality of logistics and spares, the T-50/FA-50 uses the same powerplant as the RMAF Boeing F/A-18D Hornets. Furthermore, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia are already using the T-50.
The RMAF should consider having about 36 of the FA-50 variant and 12 T-50 LIFT variant. This would not only prepare enough fighter pilots who would easily migrate to the new MRCAs, but would also complement the current number of MRCAs plus do a better job intercepting bogeys than the Hawks would. Once these are in place, the RMAF can do away with its Hawks and Aermacchi MC339CM.
There used to be a time when the RMAF slogan “Sentiasa Di Angkasaraya” (Always In The Air) was true. Seeing fighters flying overhead often drove many to join the RMAF. We had so many birds flying in a day that even the Air Traffic and Air Defence Controllers had good training. So, getting the number of airframes in the air is what matters.
In the end, when the RMAF does get its MRCAs, it should limit itself to just one type. The economies of scale of purchasing many of one type far outweighs the buying of several of several types. And that is not rocket science.
Enhancing Its Transport/Helicopter Capabilities
Other than having MRCAs and LIFT/LCA, the RMAF also operates various types of transport and helicopter capabilities. Fixed-wing transport aircraft (other than for VIP transport role) include the Airbus A400M, Lockheed C-130H and the IPTN CN-235. The Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri and the Eurocopter EC725 Caracal make up the helicopter inventory.
The C-130H and Nuri helicopters are definitely more than 20 years old. The C-130H is definitely in need of an Aircraft Upgrade Program (AUP) to address fatigue and cracks. Contrary to popular belief, the A400M was not acquired to replace the C-130H. The A400M is to take a strategic role while the C-130H maintains its tactical role. Both types are needed in the RMAF inventory as they complement each other. What the RMAF needs to do is to offload its Nuri helicopters to the Army (which is already operating several hand-me-down Nuris) and acquire more EC725s. The former is far better for transporting infantrymen and howitzers into the battlefield while the latter is more suitable for Search-and-Rescue operations as well as the insertion and extraction of special forces elements.
Another role that the RMAF should consider offloading is the maritime patrol role. This role only complements the Royal Malaysian Navy’s operations, and should therefore be handed over to the RMN. It makes no sense in having the Air Force pay for the cost of Navy operations.
Sufficient number of training hours flown by the transport pilots are also crucial. One incident has caused an uproar among observers, when the new Minister of Defence flew to a berbuka puasa event with RMAF personnel at the Butterworth Air Base in a RMAF Airbus A400M aircraft. The public must be aware that whether or not the Minister was on board, the A400M would still have flown – if not on that day, then on another, empty or otherwise – just so the pilots could clock at least minimum flying hours for the month.
As the Minister was invited by the RMAF to attend the event, it was arranged for the Minister as well as RMAF top brass and other personnel from Kuala Lumpur (there were 59 passengers on board in total that day) to be flown on the A400M so that the air crew could get their required hours.
Enhancing Radar/Early Warning Capabilities
In the old days, watchtowers were built as high as they could in order to provide the defenders with a form of early warning. We now have air defence radars scattered all over the country. These radars are in constant need of upgrading works to keep them updated. Funds must be made readily available for these radar to be able to operate continuously around the clock.
The RMAF lacks an eye-in-the-sky. From the days when I joined the RMAF in the 1980s, the AWACS have always been sought after but never procured. An AWACS provides the RMAF as well as the RMN a good detail of what is happening both in the sky and at sea. Four AWACS with good loiter endurance based in Kuching working round-the-clock should suffice. Kuching is at the nearest point between Borneo and the Peninsular, and covers the South China Sea easily. This is where, Maritime Patrol Aircraft with anti-ship and anti-submarine capability should be made available for the RMN to complement the its role especially in the South China Sea.
I am not sure but I believe we cannot see much of what is beyond the Crocker range in Sarawak. Mobile radar systems could be stitched along the range to provide better coverage of what goes beyond the range. The data can be fed via satellite or HF system. The RMAF’s HF system is more than capable of providing accurate radar picture of the area.
The Malaysian Army’s “top secret” Vera-E passive radar system should also make its data available and fed into the RMAF’s current air defence radar system to enhance the capability of the the latter. There is nothing so secret about the Vera-E. Several keys tapped on Google and one would be able to find out about the Malaysian procurement of the system. I am flabbergasted that the Malaysian Army has yet to share the Vera-E data with the RMAF. And I first wrote about this back in June 2015!
A Total Change In The Procurement System Is Needed
The RMAF used to operate the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29N Fulcrums. Received in 1995, the two squadrons of MiG-29Ns no longer exist. In contrast, the Bangladesh Air Force (BAF) has a squadron of MiG-29B acquired in 1999. All its MiG-29Bs will be upgraded to the MiG-29SMT. Why can the BAF maintain its fleet of MiG-29s when we can’t?
The answer is probably in the procurement system.
There are just too many layers of companies to go through when we acquired the MiG-29Ns. Spare parts get too expensive to buy when there are too many layers of companies to go through. There were talks of producing parts for the MiG-29N locally somewhere in Gambang, Pahang, but I guess that never materialised for some reason. In the end, the MiG-29N became too expensive to maintain and operate, and I suspect the same applies to many equipment of the Malaysian Armed Forces.
There were times in the past when the end user got what they did not want. It is imperative that the end user gets to dictate the equipment that they want, while the civilian administrators and the politicians seek the funds needed for those procurements, and not interfere in the process.
It is encouraging to hear that the new Minister of Defence will be looking at reforming some aspects of the Ministry of Defence. I really hope that the procurement system will be reformed as well to do away with these layers of companies marking up prices before the end users get their equipment.
Until the reform in the procurement process happens, neither the RMAF, nor the RMN, nor the Army, will ever get what they really want. Such wastage should be nipped and no longer be allowed.
Addressing the budget constraint faced by the government, the RMAF Chief General Tan Sri Dato Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang RMAF said that no matter the situation, the RMAF will always ensure that the sovereignty of the nation is never compromised.
“We shall prioritise our needs and ensure that the sovereignty of this beloved nation is NOT compromised in any way despite the budget constraints.”
General Affendi added that the RMAF has planned for the next 35 years to increase its level of preparedness and combat capabilities.
I certainly hope to see the RMAF have a better future, and hopefully, with a fresh new Minister leading, the required reforms could be made so that the RMAF will truly be what it used to be.
Happy 60th Anniversary, RMAF. May the next 60 years be better than the previous ones.
A ‘Force Demonstration’ conducted by the three services of the Malaysian Armed Forces was held at Kem Paradise near Kita Belud today. 400 personnel were involved in the demonstration of firepower that also saw the involvement of two Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighters, two Sukhoi Su-30MKM multirole combat aircraft, four BAe Hawk light multirole fighters and helicopters from all three services.
In his speech, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein assures the people of Sabah that the Barisan Nasional government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will continue to preserve the peace and security that is being enjoyed by the people of Sabah.
“The government will not compromise the security of Sabah. Today’s programme that involves all three branches of the Malaysian Armed Forces proves that we are sincere and serious about it,” he said.
Hishammuddin also urged the people of Sabah to not fall for the irresponsible sentiments of hatred that are being played by the Opposition.
“Their appearance is seasonal in nature and is filled with their agenda. They do not offer solutions like we do, especially in the security aspect of the people of Sabah,” he added.
The force demonstration was also attended by Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak; Secretary-General of the Ministry of Defence, Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Abd Rahim; Chief of Defence Forces, General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor; Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, General Tan Sri Affendi Buang and Chief of Army, General Tan Sri Zulkiple Kassim.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said that the Malaysian Armed Forces shall continue to cooperate and conduct trilateral cooperation with Indonesia and Philippines to face the threat of terrorism.
“For now, we have joint air and sea patrols with our neighbours while joint land patrols will be conducted soon,” he said.
The demonstration today also saw a field hospital being set up where the people of Kota Belud were given free medical and dental treatment.
Satu Majlis Penganugerahan pangkat Leftenan Kolonel Hakiki secara Posthumous (pasca kematian) telah diadakan di Markas Tentera Udara, Kementerian Pertahanan. Anugerah kenaikan pangkat itu telah disempurnakan oleh YBhg Panglima Tentera Udara, Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Hj Affendi bin Buang TUDM.
Antara penerima pangkat ini adalah Mendiang Lt Kol Kayamboo a/l Chellam yang terkorban ketika sedang beroperasi menerbangkan pesawat angkut Beechcraft King Air 200T di Pangkalan Udara Butterworth pada 21 Disember 2016, Allahyarham Lt Kol Yazmi bin Dato’ Mohamed Yusof TUDM dan Allahyarham Lt Kol Hasri bin Zahari TUDM yang terkorban bersama semasa menerbangkan pesawat Hawk 108 di Chukai, Terengganu pada 15 Jun 2017. Ketiga-tiga mangsa juruterbang ini menerima satu kenaikan pangkat asal mereka.
Penganugerahan pangkat tersebut telah disampaikan kepada Puan Usha a/p Suppiah (Isteri Mendiang Lt Kol Kayamboo TUDM), Puan Shofara Izwa binti Hilmi (Isteri Allahyarham Lt Kol Yazmi TUDM) dan Puan Asysyuhadak binti Ahmad (Isteri Allahyarham Lt Kol Hasri TUDM).
Majlis pagi tadi telah berlangsung secara bersederhana. Seluruh jemputan di majlis tersebut kelihatan sugul kerana masih lagi bersedih dengan pemergian juruterbang-juruterbang terlibat. Namun kelihatan bersemangat semula apabila mendengar obituari mangsa juruterbang tersebut yang nyata cemerlang di dalam pencapaian kerjaya, keberanian dan pengorbanan yang telah dilakukan sepanjang perkhidmatannya di dalam TUDM.
Selain merupakan satu tanda penghargaan kepada mereka di atas jasa dan bakti mereka terhadap perkhidmatan TUDM khasnya dan Negara amnya, penganugerahan ini juga membolehkan para balu wira-wira tersebut menerima pencen yang lebih tinggi dari pangkat asal terakhir. Inilah di antara cara TUDM dapat membantu keluarga mereka yang telah banyak berjasa.
Turut hadir di majlis ini adalah Timbalan Panglima Tentera Udara, YBhg Lt Jen Dato’ Sri Ackbal bin Hj Abdul Samad TUDM; Panglima Pendidikan dan Latihan Udara, YBhg Lt Jen Dato’ Kamarulzaman bin Mohd Othman TUDM; Asisten Ketua Staf Tadbir, YBhg Brig Jen Ahmad bin Abd Rahman TUDM, serta ahli keluarga Mendiang dan Allahyarham.
Nampaknya sedang tular di media sosial video Majlis Paluan Berundur ATM dari Kem TUDM Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur sehingga ada pihak yang membangkitkan isu bahawa kem tersebut telah dijual kepada China. Sesungguhnya, ia dakwaan yang tidak berasas sama sekali. Baca penjelasan berikut untuk mengetahui fakta sebenar.
1. Pemindahan TUDM Kuala Lumpur ke Pangkalan Udara Sendayan dibuat berdasarkan faktor rasionalisasi daripada aspek operasi dan keselamatan, dan juga TUDM Kuala Lumpur sudah terlalu lama dan usang, dibangun sejak tahun 1940-an.
2. Operasi penerbangan di TUDM Kuala Lumpur tidak berapa selamat disebabkan kepesatan pembangunan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, dengan adanya bangunan tinggi dan kepadatan penduduk.
3. Kawasan TUDM Kuala Lumpur amat terdedah dengan ancaman luar disebabkan lokasi berhampiran lebuhraya dan kawasan perumahan. Dengan ancaman yang ada sekarang ini, ia boleh dilancarkan daripada kawasan-kawasan tersebut.
4. Pendedahan TUDM Kuala Lumpur kepada umum turut menyukarkan pihak TUDM untuk memberi perlindungan mantap sebagai kawasan operasi ketenteraan kerana terdedah kepada aktiviti pengintipan.
5. PU Sendayan & 31 Rejimen Artileri Kem Tun Ibrahim, Kajang adalah antara tapak-tapak relokasi TUDM Kuala Lumpur. Penempatan di beberapa pangkalan udara yang ada adalah mengikut misi dan kesesuaian seperti yang dibuat di PU KL sebelum ini.
6. Ini adalah kali pertama sebuah Pangkalan Udara (Sendayan) dibina untuk keselesaan para pegawai dan anggota TUDM di mana mereka akan mendapat kawasan kerja, kediaman dan infrastruktur yang baru untuk memberi sokongan atas misi-misi latihan TUDM. Selain itu, dengan adanya PU Sendayan ini, TUDM akan dapat menempatkan pusat latihan TUDM di mana buat masa ini latihan-latihan tersebut berpecah dan ada yang dibuat di Subang, Alor Star serta di Kinrara.
7. PU Sendayan ini apabila siap dibina dapat menyatukan TUDM yang akan meletakkan semua ini di bawah satu bumbung bagi tujuan uniformiti dan latihan manakala perintah dan kawalan akan menjadi lebih berkesan.
ISU KEHILANGAN ASPEK SEJARAH PU KUALA LUMPUR
1. Sejarah TUDM Kuala Lumpur akan dikekalkan selepas dipindahkan ke PU Sendayan kerana ia merupakan landasan antarabangsa yang pertama digunakan semasa zaman kemerdekaan. TUDM akan memelihara artifak-artifak sejarah TUDM Kuala Lumpur ini di muzium TUDM. Ini akan dilakukan bagi memastikan sejarah TUDM tidak akan terlupus.
ISU PROJEK BANDAR MALAYSIA DIKUASAI SYARIKAT CHINA
1. Dakwaan kononnya projek Bandar Malaysia di bekas TUDM Kuala Lumpur di ibu negara dikuasai oleh syarikat China kini bukan lagi isu. Sebaliknya tapak strategik seluas 198 hektar itu dikuasai 100% Kementerian Kewangan, berikutan terbatal perjanjian jualan saham (SSA) Bandar Malaysia dengan pihak pemegang saham projek tersebut sebelumnya.
2. TRX City, dengan mengambil kira kepentingan nilai tanah Bandar Malaysia, akan mengekalkan pemilikan penuh terhadap kawasan itu demi memastikan rakyat Malaysia meraih manfaat hasil pembangunannya.
3. Adalah fitnah berniat jahat dengan mengatakan kem TUDM KL diserah kepada Cina dari China.
1. Adalah tidak benar kerajaan mengenepikan sejarah penting negara dengan menyerahkan Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur kepada pihak pemaju untuk dibangunkan. Banyak sejarah dan artifak TUDM akan dipelihara untuk pengetahuan generasi akan datang.
2. PU Kuala Lumpur telah hilang nilai strategiknya dan tidak sesuai lagi untuk menempatkan unit-unit tentera. Kedudukannya juga menjadikan pengintipan dan serangan oleh musuh menjadi begitu mudah.
3. Angkatan Tentera Malaysia memperolehi kemudahan-kemudahan yang jauh lebih baik dan bersesuaian setelah perpindahan ini berlaku.
4. Malaysia bukan satu-satunya negara yang menutup pangkalan-pangkalan tentera. United Kingdom telah dan bakal menutup sebanyak 56 pangkalan-pangkalan tentera termasuk Woolwich Barracks dan Fort George yang berusia hampir 300 tahun dan kaya dengan unsur-unsur sejarah. Berbeza dengan Malaysia, penutupan pangkalan-pangkalan tentera di UK tidak melibatkan sebarang penggantian.
Oleh itu janganlah kita mempolitikkan pertahanan negara dan hargai Angkatan Tentera Malaysia serta hak mereka untuk bertugas dan tinggal di pangkalan-pangkalan yang jauh lebih moden dan selesa sesuai dengan tugas mereka yang berat untuk menjaga kemananan, kesejahteraan dan kedaulatan negara.
I am appalled that there still are those who deny the roles played by the non-Malays in defending this country, especially during the two Emergencies; that dark 33 years of fighting communism. The history books emphasised more on the 12-year First Emergency because of its relation to the independence of Malaya, thus many forget that not too long-ago bombs were going off in the middle of Kuala Lumpur while ordinary policemen were getting slayed.
The First Emergency broke out in June 1948 with the murder of three British estate managers in Sungai Siput. Fuelled by the progressive successes the Communist Party of China was having against the Kuomintang, the acts of banditry increased exponentially. Based on a priori the British found it best to both resettle the Chinese in camps while between 20,000 to 50,000 be sent back to China. The plan moved at a snail’s pace due to the objections by many, and with the total withdrawal of the Kuomintang to Formosa, the repatriation of the Chinese came to a halt in September 1949 when the Communist Party of China closed off all ports and beaches. Only 6,000 Chinese from Malaya were sent back (Anthony Short, 1975 pp 178-201). The rest were settled in new villages to curb them from supplying the Communist Party of Malaya with food and other essentials.
When Ismail Mina Ahmad, the chairman of the Ummah umbrella group for Muslim organisations, claimed that only the Malays fought against invaders and communists in this country, it shows the level of ignorance on his part (Syed Jaymal Zahiid – In fiery speech cleric tells forum only Malays fought invaders communists, Malay Mail Online, 13 January 2018). His claim is far from the truth.
At the peak of the First Emergency, the British had to not only bring in members of the Palestine Police Force who were experienced in counter-insurgency warfare, but also recruited a large number of Chinese residents of Malaya. Tan Sri Dr Too Chee Chew, more famously known as CC Too, headed the Psychological Warfare section. We had the likes of Tan Sri Jimmy Koo Chong Kong, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling, Datuk Leong Chee Woh to name a few who spent most of their lives fighting the communists.
CC Too, Koo Chong Kong and Yuen Yuet Ling were among the ranks of the Malayan People Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) during the Second World War who chose to go against their former comrades and became targets of the Communist Party of Malaya. Jimmy Khoo Chong Kong, who was also a former member of the Sarawak Communist Party before surrendering to the authorities and joining the Royal Malaysian Police, paid with his life on 13 November 1975 in Ipoh, Perak, as did his driver Constable (awarded Sergeant posthumously) Yeong Peng Cheong who died with his gun blazing. Without hesitation, even with the knowledge that he was also on the hit list, Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Ling replaced Tan Sri Koo as the Perak Chief Police Officer.
When a Royal Malaysian Air Force Sikorsky S-61A Nuri helicopter was shot down in Gubir, Kedah on 27 April 1976, three Malaysian Chinese personnel were also among the 11 killed. They were Captain Choo Yeok Boo TUDM, Lieutenant Chung Ming Teck TUDM and Sergeant (Air) Leong Yee Heng. They were on a resupply mission from the Butterworth Air Base when they were shot down.
Captain Frank Chong Keng Lay TUDM (retired as Lieutenant-Colonel) flew his Nuri into a hot landing zone to rescue several infantrymen. His two commando escorts were killed as his Nuri took 22 heavy machinegun shots. The next day he flew into the same landing zone to repeat the task. Keng Lay was my Chief of Staff at the RMAF Air Training Command where I was a Staff Officer and later its Adjutant.
Inspectors Kamalanathan and Robert Cheah were inside a coffee shop meeting with informers when a terrorist threw a grenade into the shop. The explosion maimed Kamalanathan and for the rest of his life he walked with an obvious limp with a grenade shrapnel still embedded in his leg.
There were many other non-Malay police officers in particular those who served in the Special Branch who died as unsung heroes as they were not recruited nor trained with other policemen. They were the deep infiltrators, members of the community, who went on leading a double life that even their own family did not know they were all policemen. Their pay did not come from Bluff Road (Bukit Aman) directly. DSP Jeganathan was a Jabatan Talikom employee tasked with setting up the police’s VHF network and spent years jungle-bashing, building towers on mountain and hilltops with the communist terrorists hot on his heels so that the police could have a nationwide communications network.
There were those who were just roadside sweepers working for the municipal and town councils, collecting information. One had his cover blown when he was discovered in a different town by a neighbour asking him loudly what was he doing there sweeping the streets.
Another was on his death bed, ridden with cancer, when he sought the help of a Malaysian daily to contact my father to tell the latter of his condition. His real name was quoted by the daily to my father, which my father could not recall. My father asked the contact in the daily to ask him his Special Branch name. When the reply came, my father left his golf game and rushed to the hospital and after more than 50 years of being married, the wife and family finally knew the man-of-their-house was a hero fighting the communists, not just some small-time trader.
Let us not forget Chief Inspector Chin Chin Kooi. He was a Special Branch officer probing communist activities in Serdang, Kedah. At 9pm on 12 July 1973, six communist terrorists stormed into his home and let loose a volley of bullets. Mortally wounded, Chin returned fire until his last breath.
Across the South China Sea, Police Field Force Superintendent Joni Mustapha was a champion Sarawak hurdler from 1958 to 1959. Joni was watching a movie with his son in Sibu when a policeman relayed a message to him that his men were being pinned down by communist terrorists upriver Sungai Setabau. He asked the policeman to stay with his son in the cinema and left to rescue his men.
Constable Nuing Saling, an Iban policeman, was on a two-week leave to be with his wife Imbok Jimbon who was six months pregnant with their third child. Upon hearing that Joni was leaving for the jungle, hurriedly joined the team. Both Joni and Nuing had made a pact that they would help each other. They left by boat to get to the location. Upon arrival, they engaged the communist terrorists. Joni was felled by machinegun fire but remained conscious to direct the firefight until he died. Another constable friend, Abang Masri was already dead. Seeing his commander and friend die, Nuing unsheathed his machete and charged at the terrorists’ position firing at them, only to be mown down. He had been hit in the face by a bullet. Nuing refused to give up. He continued his charge and was hit several times more but kept on charging, killing and wounding many. He died inside the location of the communist terrorists.
Kanang ak Langkau is perhaps the most known warrior from Sarawak who shed blood and tears fighting against the communist terrorists. He was wounded several times but not once let his wounds stop him from fighting.
These are stories that we should all remember. Stories of our non-Malay brethren heroes who risked and gave their lives so that we can all enjoy the peace and prosperity that God has bestowed upon us. Many more have gone unsung, but they shall not be forgotten. Especially not by selfishly ignoring the sacrifices that have been made by them.
Recently Kluang Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong slammed Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein for denying that an army camp was being built in Paloh, a state seat in the latter’s constituency of Sembrong. Liew Chin Tong implied that the army camp is being built for political purposes.
“This proves that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using these army camps to increase voters in constituencies that it won with thin majorities in the 13th general election,” Liew told a press conference last week.
He said the inclusion of the army personnel in Paloh would increase the electorate by over 1,000 voters.
“In Paloh, DAP lost only by a few hundred votes and these new voters will result in another BN win,” he added.
The fact is that while members of the Malaysian Armed Forces swears its allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, His Majesty’s Government (the Government-of-the-Day), and the Country, each member of the Malaysian Armed Forces are free to vote for whom they are politically-inclined to support. Therefore, having a military camp/base does not guarantee you any solid support for votes. I had written at length on this issue of allegiance in a recent blog post.
Perhaps it would be good for Liew Chin Tong to admit that he won Kluang against the Barisan Nasional in 2013 because of the presence of a huge army camp, namely Kem Mahkota, that houses the 61st Royal Artillery Regiment as well as the 881st Regiment, Malaysian Army Aviation.
Come to think of it, out of the 89 Parliamentary seats won by the then-Pakatan Rakyat during the 13th General Elections four years ago, at least 18 parliamentary constituencies have major military camps/bases in them. That is 20 percent of the total of parliamentary consituencies held by the Pakatan candidates. Here is the list that I have compiled:
Let us take for example the Lumut Naval Base which is under PKR. That base alone had 14,231 registered voters while PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won 40,308 votes. Why didn’t Barisan Nasional win there?
Perhaps Liew Chin Tong should also inform all Malaysians that out of the 18 constituencies with major military camps/bases that was won by the Pakatan back in 2013, eight seats were won by the DAP. That is 44 percent! Despite being the other “Malay” party within the Pakatan, PKR managed only seven seats or 38 percent. PAS could only get three then but one of those seats, Shah Alam, is now firmly under Khalid Samad of Amanah after he betrayed his oath to remain in PAS if nominated as a candidate and would divorce his wife if he jumps ship. Shah Alam is the home of a major Royal Malaysian Air Force base – Subang.
Pakatan and its supporters should just stop politicising the Malaysian Armed Forces. As towns and cities are developed, old camps and bases are no longer strategic nor conducive to be inhabited. How could Pakatan, advertising that it is all for rights and stuff, allow military personnel to live and work in deplorable and antiquated conditions? And as development creep into their surrounding areas, military bases are no longer of any strategic value. I have addressed this issue in a posting of mine and so has my friend Danny Liew in his recent posting.
So, wouldn’t DAP now like to offer a piece of land in constituencies held by it for Hishammuddin to build military bases or camps?