DAP Benefitted From Military Camps

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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:

Senarai Kem Tentera Bawah PH 2013

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?

The RMN 15 to 5 Programme Is On Track

15to5

The Royal Malaysian Navy has recently laid the keel for the third Littoral Combat Ship (to be named Shariff Masahor after the Sarawak warrior who fought against the White Rajahs) at the Boustead Naval Shipyard in Lumut.  This will be the third of six LCS planned by the RMN as part of its ’15 to 5′ transformation programme.

Dogged by having as many as 15 classes of ships with an average life of 15 years, the current RMN fleet is supplied by seven different nations, causing logistical and financial nightmares for the operators. As a result, the RMN cannot have the kind of force projection that it envisages.

The transformation programme allows the RMN to reduce its current classes to just 5 classes of ships namely the LCS, the Littoral Mission Ships (LMS), the Multi-Role Support Ships (MRSS), submarines, and the patrol vessels (PV).

The LCS, with its ability to perform complete multi-mission 3-D operations, will be the obvious class to spearhead the Royal Malaysian Navy.  The six vessels, based on the Gowind 2500 corvette design, will fulfill the operational requirements in both the blue and littoral waters of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

All six vessels are and will be built at the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), which is a bit unorthodox given the need for a good project risk management as not to repeat the disaster caused by a previous builder.  The GMD of Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC), Vice-Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor TLDM (Retired) said that the project team from both BNS and Naval Group have taken the necessary measures to prevent such failure to occur in this project.

Commonality between classes is also key to the success of the 15-to-5 programme.  Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman bin Hj Ahmad Badaruddin TLDM said that all the classes will have major items that are common to ensure the availability of vessels.  Most importantly, these items are being supplied by 104 local vendors and that in turn has created thousands of jobs and endless learning opportunities for locals.

“The Navy is determined to show that not only does it give opportunities to local companies, but also help build the local defence capabilities to reduce reliance on foreign companies,” said Ahmad Kamarulzaman.

The Navy hopes to have up to 12 LCS, 18 LMS, four submarines, 18 PVs and three MRSS to fulfill its doctrine requirements.  It is believed that the PVs will consist totally of the Kedah-class NGPV while two more Scorpene submarines will be acquired depending on the funding from the government.  It makes a whole lot of sense to have the Kedah-class expanded as Malaysia is already in possession of the builder’s plans, while the acquisition of two more Scorpenes would be a lot cheaper as the infrastructure as well as logistics support are already in place.

In observation however, if all these vessels are already in service, there is only so many number of vessels that the Navy’s bases can handle at any given point of time.  I believe that the PVs will all be deployed to the Second, Third and (soon) Fourth Naval Regions, with major assets such as the LCS and LMS divided between the First and Second Naval regions.

How The Royal Malaysian Air Force Fits In

Commonality is another goal the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) hopes to achieve.  Recently, RMAF Chief General Tan Sri Dato Seri Affandi bin Hj Buang TUDM celebrated his first year as the service’s Chief.  Although dogged with several incidents of crashes, it has not diminished his team’s aim to elevate the RMAF’s ability as a force to be reckoned with.  Only the cut in defence budget has curtailed some of its plans for expansion.  The withdrawal of the MiG-29Ns from the frontline has stretched its frontline capabilities too thin.

Although the reintroduction of the MiG-29Ns back into service was thought of as an interim measure before getting its direly-needed MRCAs, this was not agreed by the government as it does not want to see its pilots flying aircraft that may endanger themselves.  This would also mean that the RMAF’s current LIFT, the Hawk 208s which are in their 23rd year of service, will soon have to go.

The 15-to-5 programme of the RMN would not mean much without sufficient air cover for the Navy to keep the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) open, especially between states in the Peninsular Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak.  The RMAF is already in the process of looking for a suitable replacement for the Beechcraft Super King Air B200T MPAs.  If commonality is a key to this, then we would either see the Air Force acquiring either more CN-235s, or opt for a stretched version which is the CN-295.  However, given the different powerplant of the CN-295, a MPA version of the CN-235 sounds most viable.

Combat Air Patrols, or sufficient and adequate air cover is also critical to the success of the RMN’s 15-to-5 programme.  However, current number of aircraft available to perform the task is limited as only the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet and Sukhoi Su-30MKM would have the ability to get into the theatre in the shortest time compared to the BAe Systems Hawk 108s and 208s.  Furthermore, the Su-30MKMs would have to undergo their 10-year maintenance and that would affect the number of availability.

As it is, the supersonic Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50/FA-50 LIFT cum light fighters are the most suitable for this role, as well as to take over the LIFT role from the BAe Systems Hawk 208s.  I have written on the KAI T-50 in a recent article and still believe that other than its cost (said to be a third of a full-fledged fighter aircraft) the commonality that the KAI T-50 have with a type of aircraft that the RMAF is already operating is the Boeing F/A-18D Hornet as they use the same powerplant. Should the RMAF plan to acquire more of the Hornets, the T-50 would be the best option for the RMAF to consider acquiring as they can play the dual role of LIFT and advanced supersonic fighter far better than the Hawks ever could.  The RMAF would be able to provide more capable birds in the air in a shorter amount of time while waiting for a much larger budget to actually acquire new MRCAs.  The T-50s are combat-proven and have performed well in recent bombing missions against the ISIL-Maute group in Marawi.

Having the T-50s in Kuantan as LIFT/Advanced Fighters and as a advanced fighter detachment in, perhaps, Bintulu, would enhance the RMAF’s operational capability not just as a strike force, but also to provide air support for the Navy’s surface missions.  The Chief of RMAF is well-known as a fighter and operations man, and is therefore the perfect person to make a case to fulfill the RMAF’s doctrine with the correct equipment needed by his frontliners.

Summary

The Royal Malaysian Navy is spot on when it decided to go with its 15-to-5 transformation programme that would see more lean-and-mean vessel types be introduced into the service.  However, having a good surface capability without capable air support from the Royal Malaysian Air Force would limit its capabilities to keep hostiles away.  Both services would need strong support from the government to ensure that force projection to deter opportunistic hostile forces can be achieved by both services.

Kapal Selam Kerala Kena Tembak Lagi


Bising FELDA akhirnya tertangkap ambil komisyen juak hotel felda ialah Zahid Md Arip Pemimpin Pusat Parti Bunga Raya…kini mula terdedah pula kes kapal selam rupanya Mahathir dan anaknya di belakang sebenarnya
SCORPENE : Perjanjian Pembelian Dibuat Sejak Zaman Mahathir Lagi
Razak Baginda tidak ada sewaktu perjanjian kapal selam diadakan, yang ada adalah Mahathir. 
Ini kerana perjanjian kapal selam itu sebenarnya sudah dirangka dan dimeterai ketika zaman pentadbiran Mahathir Mohamad dulu sebagai Perdana Menteri dan bukannya pada zaman Perdana Menteri sekarang, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Perkara itu direkodkan dalam hansard sidang Dewan Rakyat pada tahun 2002 lagi. Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan telah memaklumkan Dewan Rakyat mengenai kontraknya apabila perkara itu dibangkitkan di parlimen. 
Mahathir yang kini adalah Pengerusi PPBM jangan buat-buat lupa berkenaan perjanjian membeli kapal selam itu.
Masa itu, Timbalan Menteri berkenaan telah menyatakan dalam dewan yang mulia di Parlimen jumlah yang dibayar kepada syarikat Malaysia bukannya komisen tapi kos perkhidmatan, penyelenggaraan dan latihan.
Kedua-dua mereka Perdana Menteri, Mahathir, dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri pada masa itu Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sebenarnya tahu apa yang berlaku. 
Bahkan sebelum itu Mahathir sudah meninjau kapal selam dari Perancis ketika Pameran Maritim dan Udara Antarabangsa Langkawi (LIMA’97) 1997. Tiga kapal selam dari tiga negara iaitu Rusia, Perancis dan Turki turut menyertainya untuk ditinjau oleh kerajaan pada masa itu.
Kemudian selepas meninjau kapal selam Perancis di LIMA 97, setahun selepas itu Mahathir menulis surat pada Michel Rocard, Perdana Menteri Perancis berkaitan hal kapal selam. 
Dalam buku bertajuk “Surat Terpilih Dr Mahathir Kepada Pemimpin Dunia”, mukasurat 218, menyatakan pada tahun 1998, Perdana Menteri, Perancis dan Mahathir bertukar-tukar empat pucuk surat.
Dalam kandungan surat itu menyatakan bahawa Malaysian Airlines (MAS) akan mendapat lebih hak mendarat di Paris, dan Malaysia akan mendapatkan dua kapal selam buatan Perancis iaitu jenis Scorpene yang akan dihantar pada 2009. 
“Seramai 145 orang pegawai Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM) sedang dilatih di Ecole Formation de Sous Marine di Brest, sejak 2005.
“Dua kapal selam itu akan diletakkan di pangkalan di Sepanggar di Sabah apabila ia sudah beroperasi nanti,” kata surat itu.
Ini bukti jelas, rundingan untuk pembelian kapal selam ini dibuat sejak zaman Mahathir lagi. Dua hari lepas, Mahathir kata dia tidak tahu menahu tentang pembelian kapal selam. Mahathir memang sengaja buat buat lupa dan tidak mahu mengaku. 
Pembohongan Mahathir tidak boleh ditutup. Jangan cuba menipu orang yang mengetahui urusan rundingan kapal selam itu. 
Bekas Pegawai Penyiasat Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia (TUDM) Kapten (B) Abdul Rahmat Omar Tun Haniff pula mendedahkan pembohongan Mahathir itu. 
“Mahathir boleh memperbodohkan pemuda seperti Ketua Armada PPBM) Syed Saddiq, mereka yang lebih matang mengetahui perkara sebenar.
“Lampu hijau bagi pembelian Scorpene diberikan oleh Perdana Menteri dan Menteri Kewangan sejak 1995 lagi” katanya.
Sejak 1995 lagi, sebab itulah pada 1997 pada pameran LIMA 97 ada kapal selam dari Perancis datang ke Langkawi. Kemudian pada 1998, Mahathir dan Perdana Menteri Perancis berutus surat berkaitan pembelian kapal selam itu. 
6 tahun selepas itu, pada 2002, kontrak pembelian kapal selam bernilai RM3.7 billion diluluskan oleh Perdana Menteri pada waktu itu. 
Malah lebih mengejutkan bila bekas pegawai penyiasat ketenteraan, Kapten (B) Abdul Rahmat Tun Haniff mendedahkan anak Mahathir dan Daim terlibat dalam urusan kapal selam ini.
“Penyokong asal program kapal selam Malaysia adalah Mokhzani Mahathir dan Ibrahim Mohd Noor (pada ketika itu CEO syarikat yang baru disenaraikan BERNAS, bertindak bagi pihak Daim Zainuddin)” kata Abdul Rahmat.
Hari ini, Mahathir mahu pertikai kenapa Malaysia beli kapal selam. Tidak patut hendak pertikai lagi bila Arab Saudi sendiri sudah mahu belajar dan berkongsi kepakaran dan latihan kapal selam dengan Malaysia. 
Sesudah gagal gunakan isu 1MDB, DoJ dan lain lain lagi untuk jatuhkan Datuk Seri Najib, Mahathir kena cungkil balik cerita kapal selam untuk dijadikan isu. “Desperate” dah Mahathir ini.
Klik https://www.facebook.com/SudahlahMahathir/

Insider Submarine Trading?

Najib Razak’s reply to Wan Azizah on the Scorpene issue in 2008
In 2008, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, in his reply to Wan Azizah confirmed that all terms and approvals of the procurements of the two units of Scorpene submarines and 18 units of fighter jets were made in accordance with Government procurement procedures and could only be executed by the Finance Ministry.

The inking of the deal to purchase the Scorpene submarines was made in June 2002 when a now-amnesiac Prime Minister was also the Finance Minister then.

In yesterday’s posting I mentioned about Ibrahim mohd Noor being Daim Zainuddin’s proxy and ran Perimekar Sdn Bhd with Mohzani Mahathir out of a bungalow at Jalan Lembah Ledang off Jalan Duta in Kuala Lumpur.  The fact is that very few people know that Ibrahim had an office there, which also happened to be the base for the creation of Ibrahim’s venture into media and advertising via Blue Inc Sdn Bhd.

Being close to Daim gave him the advantage of ‘privileged knowledge’ and knew when Mahathir finally agreed to to the submarine program.  He teamed up with Mokhzani Mahathir and used Perimekar as the vehicle for this venture. A nucleus team was formed and started on the proposal.  They went to a few reputable German shipbuilders like HDW and Blohm & Voss.

However, at the end of 2001, Daim and Mahathir had a fall out.  Lim Kit Siang, Mahathir’s now best friend, was very observant of this event and commented that the Mahathir-Daim fall-out is not over policy differences on whether to end the policy of bail-outs and buy- outs.

Rather, he claimed, it was “over differences as to who should be the beneficiaries of such government bail-outs and buy-outs at a time when the government must pick and choose the beneficiaries as public resources are stretched to the limit and are incapable of saving all crony companies and individuals.”

Of course, Lim Kit Siang being an old man although not yet as old as Mahathir, suffers from selective amnesia and seems to have forgiven Mahathir for all his sins to the people of Malaysia – as long as the position that gives power is within his grasp.

As a result of the fall out, Ibrahim had to give up Perimekar and his quest to supply the Royal Malaysian Navy with its submarines, and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) took this up.

At the time, Boustead was planning to take over Amin Shah’s Business Focus Group, in particular the PSC Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd.  Amin Shah, a known Daim crony, privatised the Royal Malaysian Navy’s dockyard during Daim’s tenure as the Finance Minister and injected it into a company he took over, Penang Shipyard Co.

At the time, PSC Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd already had the contract to supply six out of 27 new-generation patrol vessels  for the RMN, which happened to be a deal between PSC Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd’s joint-venture with German shipbuilder Blohm & Voss.

It seemed convenient for Perimekar then to also have another deal with a German shipbuilder especially Blohm & Voss.

After Ibrahim was out of the picture and Abdul Razak Baginda’s wife was in Perimekar, the latter shopped around for a suitable submarine.  The DCNS and Thales at the time had a product which was the Scorpene submarine, considered a superior diesel-electric attack submarine at the time and was constructing for the Chilean Navy.

In early 2002, the Malaysian Defence Industry Council was hosted at PSC Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd in Lumut, and Amin Shah tried to peddle two used Dutch submarines to Najib Razak who was then the Defence Minister.  The submarines, the Tijgerhaai (Tigershark) and Zwaardvis (Swordfish) were ambitiously bought by Amin Shah.  However, Najib Razak was not interested in having two rustbuckets for the RMN.

The Scorpene had incorporated systems that are in use with the French Navy’s nuclear attack submarines, also built by DCNS and Thales.  The proposal also included the very potent Blackshark II torpedoes and MBDA SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles.

Abdul Razak Baginda also managed to package together the elite turnkey submarine training with the DCI-NAVFCO at Brest.  Coupled with extensive exercise exposure of the RMN officers and men with their French counterparts in the submarine force at Brest gave the RMN men an exposure to the French Navy’s role and operations as well as tactics used in NATO.

Once the deal was inked in June 2002, Razak never went to Cherbourg again.

And Altantuya? She only existed a few years after the deal was inked. Even a renowned Najib Razak-hater wrote in his book that Abdul Razak Baginda first met in 2004, a good two years after the Scorpene deal was done.


It is interesting to note that the RMN had sent its first batch of officers for submarine training with the Royal Australian Navy in 1992.  They earned their submariners’ dolphin a year later.

And guess which Minister of Defence it was then who mooted the idea of having a submarine force?

The then-Defence Minister replying to a question by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament
So was the plan for Perimekar laid out like a carpet a while before the then Prime Minister gave the go ahead to work out a submarine program for the RMN?

It is impossible for the Prime Minister or Finance Minister then to not know about the purchase of the submarines.  This is not like buying sweets at a Mamak shop.  They cost billions of Ringgits that would still need the approval of the Finance Ministry.

So is Mahathir not afraid of the hereafter peddling one lie after another?

Borrowing the words of a certain Opposition office-holder:

“Allah Knows!”

 

Kerala Militant Torpedoed 

You know the next general election is going to be a dirty one when old issues are brought back ad infinitum despite being repeatedly shot down.

The latest issue that is being brought back is of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Scorpene deal. Two portals, Free Mischief Today and Malaysian Incite published a report yesterday claiming that Abdul Razak Baginda has been charged in a French court.

A quick search by a friend found no such news from AFP.

Credit to Danny Liew

I find it impossible that such a big thing never made it into a little column on the AFP portal.

Today, U-Turn Mahathir revealed that the purchase of the Scorpene was never discussed in any cabinet meeting. It was reported again by Malaysian Incite. Perhaps the Big Chief of that portal had had too much during happy hours with Tokong.

Anyway, Mahathir can fool the youngsters like Pribumi’s Ketua Amanda, Syed Sajat. Other more matured people would know the truth.

The green light for the purchase of the Scorpene was given by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister back in 1995. I’ll leave it to you to name them. The negotiations were conducted according to defence procurement contracts procedures.

In June 2002, the contract was signed after getting the final approval of the Finance Minister who was also the Prime Minister. Again, I shall let you guess his name.

Included in this contract was the purchase of a former French Navy submarine (which is now a museum in Melaka) that would act as a training platform for Malaysian’s submariners for four years.

The final commercial committee was headed by the Secretary-General of Treasury who submitted the report of the acquisition. At this point, the Ministry of Defence was no longer involved.

Back in 2012, Mahathir said that neither he nor Najib Razak were involved in the acquisition of the Scorpene submarines. The Opposition bloggers went to town to link Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin to the purchase.

So, how is it that Mahathir is exonerated by the Opposition and now claims he would have blocked the purchase had he known about it?

Defence: Teka Bila Kem Tentera Mula Hendak Dijual?

Kian viral di WhatsApp ialah satu pesanan dari Yang Berbahagia Brigadier Jeneral Dato’ Mohammad Arshad bin Mohammad Raji (Bersara) yang pernah berbakti dalam Tentera Darat Malaysia.  Pesanan beliau berbunyi begini:

Surat terbuka kepada Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia

Kami dimaklumkan bahawa sebuah kem tentera peninggalan tentera British yang menyimpan banyak sejarah dan kenangan pahit manis pada ribuan veteran ATM yang pernah berkhidmat dan menduduki kem tersebut, akan dijual (atau pun sudah dijual) dengan sewenang- wenangnya kepada pihak awam.

Ini bukan kali pertama sebuah kem tentera peninggalan British dijual, tanpa menghormati sejarah silam, iaitu sesuatau yang amat berharga kepada veteran ATM, terutama bagi mereka-mereka yang pernah bertugas dan menduduki kem tersebut. Kem-kem peninggalan tentera British yang telah dijual oleh kerajaan adalah seperti berikut:

1. Kem Majidee, Johor Baharu, Johor
2. Kem Transit, Ampang, Selangor
3. Kem Tebrau, Johor Baharu, Johor
4. Kem Lapangan Terbang Sg. Besi, Kuala Lumpur

Kami baru difahamkan bahawa Kem Batu Kantomen, iaitu sebuah kem induk lojistik bagi Tentera Darat Malaysia bertempat di Jalan. Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur akan/telah menjadi mangsa untuk dijual/telah dijual. Disini kami ingin tahu samada maklumat berikut benar atau tidak:

1. Keluasan kem tersebut adalah dalam jangkauan 200 ekar.
2. Benarkah kem tersebut dijual secara rundingan terus kepada Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT)?
3. Benarkah harga yang ditawarkan kepada LTAT ialah RM2.3 bilion, dan bukan mengikut nilai pasaran semasa?
4. Benarkah arahan sudah pun dikeluarkan bagi semua anggota dan unit yang sekarang masih bertempat di Kem tersebut berpindah keluar dengan secepat mungkin?
5. Benarkah peruntukan sebanyak RM700 juta disediaka untuk pemindahan ke kem-kem lain buat sementara waktu sehingga kem baru disediakan?
6. Benarkah RM1,6 bilion dari harga jualan tersebut akan digunakan bagi membayar veteran-veteran yang tidak berpencen, yang akan diumumkan oleh Perdana Menteri pada Perhimpunan Raksaksa Veteran pada 31 Jułai ini di MIECC, Balakong, Selangor.

Persoalan nya sekarang……apa perlunya Kem yang besejarah ini dijual dengan begitu tergesa gesa dan melalui rundingan terus?

Sekiranya tiada sebarang kenyataan dibuat oleh Menteri Pertahanan dalam tempoh 14 hari dimana mana media massa menafikan maklumat ini, maka kami anggap maklumat ini benar. Jika ianya benar, maka adakah ini satu petanda bahawa kerajaan sedang menghadapi kesulitan kewangan akibat skandal 1MDB, dan tujuan Kem Batu Kantomen dijual secara tergesa gesa adalah bagi menyelamat kan kerajaan dari masalah kesulitan kewangan serius yang dihadapi sekarang?

Brig Jen Dato Arshad Raji ( B)”

Sebagai seorang bekas pegawai tentera, saya berasa amat terharu masih ada di kalangan bekas pegawai kanan tinggi Angkatan Tentera Malaysia yang masih mengambil berat akan kebajikan para veteran serta tradisi ketenteraan. Semoga Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala merahmati niat murni beliau.

Namun sebagai seorang yang gemar mengkaji, saya suka membaca apa jua pesanan mahupun artikel-artikel dan kemudian membuat sedikit penyelidikan untuk memastikan fakta-fakta yang diberikan bukan sahaja oleh YBhg Dato’ Arshad, tetapi oleh sesiapa sahaja.  Dan sepertimana di dalam grup-grup WhatsApp Veteran yang mana saya ikuti, sekiranya betul dan memberi manfaat akan saya kongsi, yang tidak betul saya terangkan.

Sebagaimana kisah mengenai “kedudukan strategik” Pangkalan Udara Kuala Lumpur yang telah saya terangkan, kisah kini berkisar beberapa buah kem Tentera Darat (TD) yang merupakan kem-kem warisan peninggalan British.  Sudah tentu tempat-tempat tersebut mempunyai banyak peninggalan sejarah.  Kem-kem tersebut di atas adalah, elok saya ulangi di sini, Kem Majidee dan Kem Tebrau di Johor Bahru, Kem Transit Ampang di Selangor, dan Kem Batu Kantonmen di Kuala Lumpur.  Di antara kem-kem yang saya sebutkan di atas, Kem Batu Kantonmen mempunyai nilai sentimental buat saya kerana pada tahun 1988 di situlah saya dan rakan-rakan bermain ragbi melawan pasukan MINDEF Officers Rugby semasa membuat persediaan untuk perlawanan tiga perkhidmatan menentang TD dan Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia (TLDM).

Kedudukan Kem Batu Kantonmen kini

Namun, kepesatan pembangunan kawasan bandar menyebabkan kesemua kem yang dinyatakan di atas dihimpit pembangunan yang tidak lagi menjadikan kawasan-kawasan tersebut strategik.  Kalau dulu kem-kem tersebut berada di pinggir atau luar bandar, kini kesemuanya terhimpit dalam sebuah bandaraya yang membangun pesat.

Pelan penjualan Kem Batu Kantonmen ini sebenarnya dibuat pada tahun 2002 lagi, tujuh tahun sebelum 1MDB ditubuhkan.  Ketika itu, negara ditadbir oleh seorang Perdana Menteri yang lain.  Kerajaan Negeri Perak ketika itu juga telah menyediakan satu tapak seluas 680 hektar (hampir 7 kali keluasan Kem Batu Kantonmen) untuk tujuan penempatan unit-unit TD yang terkesan akibat pembelian kem tersebut.

Pada tahun 2011, Boustead Holdings yang ketika itu mempunyai Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) sebagai pemegang saham terbesar, iaitu 59 peratus saham syarikat, telah menyatakan

Berpandukan nilai hartanah pada tahun 2011, tanah yang belum ditukar kegunaan milik Kem Batu Kantonmen seluas 98 hektar (atau bersamaan 240 ekar) itu adalah sekitar RM40 hingga RM80 sekaki persegi.  Ini bermakna jumlah yang boleh diperoleh dari penjualan tanah tersebut ialah sebanyak RM845 juta.  Nilai tersebut KINI adalah sekitar RM1.7 billion.

Sepatutnya kita tidak mempersoalkan sebarang pembelian yang dibuat oleh sama ada Boustead mahupun LTAT kerana apa jua pembelian yang mendatangkan hasil untuk kepada kedua-dua organisasi tersebut akan memberi manfaat kepada para anggota dan pegawai sama ada yang masih berkhidmat mahupun yang telah bersara.  Ini adalah kerana Nilai Pembangunan Kasar tanah tersebut sebanyak RM8 billion setelah ditawarkan kepada LTAT dengan harga RM2.3 billion bermakna keuntungan kasar yang bakal diperolehi adalah berjumlah RM3.2 billion, yang mana akan menjadi dividen masa hadapan LTAT itu sendiri.

Sekiranya benar RM700 juta telah diperuntukkan untuk perpindahan yang dinyatakan juga adalah satu jumlah yang besar dan berpatutan.  Malah, kita sepatutnya berasa gembira adik-adik kita yang kini berkhidmat, berpeluang dipindahkan ke kem-kem serta pangkalan-pangkalan yang moden, lebih selesa, dan lebih sesuai sebagai instalasi tentera berbanding bangunan-bangunan uzur.

Kenapa juga kita mempersoalkan kenapa kem-kem bersejarah ini dijual secara terus tanpa memanggil tender?  Pada saya, ini soalan peringkat amatur dan bukannya peringkat pakar strategi.  Sekiranya dipanggil tender maka ianya terbuka kepada syarikat-syarikat pemaju gergasi yang pasti akan menafikan Boustead atau LTAT peluang untuk membuat keuntungan yang boleh dinikmati oleh semua yang menabung di LTAT dan para veteran.

Yang saya tidak faham adalah kenapa seorang bekas pegawai kanan tinggi TD mempersoalkan imbuhan sebanyak RM1.6 billion yang akan diberikan kepada para veteran yang bersara tanpa pencen?  Adakah para veteran tidak berpencen tidak layak menerima imbuhan seperti bayaran pencen bulanan yang diterima oleh mereka yang berpencen? Adakah veteran tidak berpencen berada dalam kasta yang lebih rendah dalam hirarki Veteran?

Sayugia diingatkan juga buat semua veteran dan mereka yang masih dalam perkhidmatan, begitu getir cabaran mereka yang berkhidmat sebelum kita sehingga merdekanya Tanah Melayu dan terbentuknya Malaysia kemudian dari diberi arahan oleh pihak British yang mentadbir kita sebelum ini.

Pada tahun 2016, Kementerian Pertahanan United Kingdom telah membuat pelan untuk menjual LIMA PULUH ENAM kem-kem tentera termasuk kem-kem tentera yang lagi penuh dengan sejarah, termasuk yang pernah digunakan untuk melatih para tentera semasa Perang Dunia Kedua seperi Woolwich Barracks di London dan Fort George yang sejak azali menjadi kem Batalion Ketiga, Rejimen DiRaja Scotland.

Kini kita pula ingin memalukan mereka yang berkhidmat sebelum kita dengan menjulang peninggalan kolonialis.  Kalau benar dkerajaan pusat bersalah menjual kem-kem usang yang disanjungi, kenapa kita berdiam diri apabila bangunan bersejarah yang pernah menempatkan Markas Dua Divisyen di Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Georgetown, Pulau Pinang dijual dan dirobohkan untuk pembangunan baharu?  Banyak juga kenangan saya di bangunan tersebut dalam tahun 1980an.

Dan telah dibuktikan bahawa 1MDB tidak mengalami sebarang kerugian mahupun kesulitan kewangan.  Saya kecewa sekiranya YBhg Dato Arshad mempergunakan emosi para veteran untuk mencapai tujuan politik kerana kenyataan yang melibatkan 1MDB sememangnya berbaur politik.

Biarlah sekiranya kita hendak memperjuangkan hak, perjuangkanlah dengan betul, dan bukannya berlandaskan yang batil.  Kita ini semuanya veteran.  Setiap hari kubur menghampiri kita.  Eloklah kita benar dalam percakapan dan perbuatan tanpa sebarang niat yang memesongkan.

Defence: Appreciate The Men and Women Protecting The Nation

One of the things introduced by the Najib Razak administration is for Ministers to go down to the ground and meet with the frontliners, learn about the problems that they face as well as consider the proposals from them on how things can be done better.  The days of “I’m a Minister therefore I know better” or “You are new therefore you know nothing” are over.

Sun Tzu quoted in Chapter 10 of the ‘Art of War‘:

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

Taking queue from both his boss and Sun Tzu, Minister of Defence Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein rushed off to Kuantan after the conclusion of the recent National Security Council meeting to rendezvous with the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu which was conducting a patrol in the South China Sea.  Despite the very limited time that he has, he made it a point to meet the frontliners to see how they are getting on while keeping the nation safe and secure during the fasting month.

Hishammuddin looking at the KD Lekiu before landing (taken from the Minister’s Twitter)

Hishamuddin, who was accompanied by the Chief of the Armed Forces  General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, and the Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin RMN, landed on board the KD Lekiu at 5.30pm and was met by the Commanding Officer of the KD Lekiu, Captain Mohd Fadzli Kamal Mohd Mohaldin RMN who then gave the Minister a short safety briefing.

Hishammuddin saying goodbye to the crew of the EC725

When the Ec725 helicopter took off and flew by the starboard side of the KD Lekiu, Hishammuddin said, “That helicopter crew is excellent, and for it to be able to land on this ship shows great cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy.  That is how the services, the Army included, depend on each other for support.”

True enough. It was the first time that the KD Lekiu had accepted the EC725 on its flight deck.

On board the Minister spent his time talking to the officers and men, asking them how do they find spending Ramadhan and Aidil Fitri away from home.  There are times that the KD Lekiu, like many other man-o-wars in the navy, have to spend up to three months at sea away from home, regardless of the festive seasons.

This scene is repeated throughout the Minister’s visit – officers and crew asking for a photo op with the Minister and the latter is always obliging

Through the Royal Malaysian Navy’s “Rakan Maritim” (RAKAM) program where the maritime community especially the commercial fishermen work hand-in-hand with the Navy to provide information especially on crime at sea,  the fishing community has been providing such support especially through the “Initiatif Bertanya Khabar” (IBK) conducted by the individual naval vessels that are on patrol.  A fishing trawler that was hailed came alongside.

The Minister is seen helping a trawler crew come on board

Encik Ramli bin Isa and Fauzi bin Omar had been out at sea for four days with another crew member.  The moment they realised that it was the Minister himself whom had helped them up, their face lit up.  The Minister, General Raja Mohamed Affandi and Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman asked them how they were and if they find that the waters are safe from foreign elements.

I later asked the two fishermen of the Navy’s initiative.  They are very happy with it and find it reassuring that the Navy has been actively making its presence felt.  On meeting the Minister, they were very surprised that a Minister would want to even ask how they are.

I know he must be really busy but for him to make time to ask me how I am is like having a dream come true,” said Encik Ramli.

Hishammuddin later gave some food to the fishermen for them to break fast with.

Hishammuddin later had a talk with some of the crew which was also attended by the Commanding Officer and the Chief of Navy.  There, the Minister related to the men the government’s plans for the Navy, and how the Ministry is working hard to facilitate the Navy’s 15-to-5 transformation program.

DS Hishammuddin and TS Ahmad Kamarulzaman spend a few moments with the men of the KD Lekiu

Tan Sri Kamarulzaman is happy with the progress of the 15-to-5 transformation program where the Royal Malaysian Navy will limit its fleet types to just five instead of the current fifteen.  The program will see the RMN operating only Littoral Mission Ships, Littoral Combat Ships, New Generaion Patrol Vessels, Multirole Support Ships, and Submarines.

RMN’s 15-to-5 transformation program (courtesy of Senang Diri)

As we waited for maghrib prayers, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin said to me, “I’m amazed by these navy people.  They stay months at sea guarding our waters.

I guess we’ll just have to make the public understand about what they do out here,” I replied.

The Minister frowned and replied with a sigh, “That is another matter. It is so difficult to get the public to understand wht these people do here, the hardship they have to go through. Imagine if these people are not here to do their duty. Mosul, Aleppo can happen here.”

It is so damned hard to get the support of the people, especially from the non-Malays, let alone to get them to join.  But when something happens, they would be the first to condemn, especially so in the case of the fatal crash that killed two of our RMAF pilots.

The usual comments made especially by the non-Malays about the Malaysian Armed Forces

How the realisation that without the Malaysian Armed Forces this country would be in ruins escapes them puzzles me.  It is because of these men and women that they are able to wake up in the morning and make money, and then go home to sleep peacefully.

Perhaps it is time for the National Service to be what it is – a two-year active duty upon attaining the age of 18, followed by a 10-year stint as reservists.  That would probably make them have a better understanding of the Armed Forces and love the country as something more than just a place to make money in.

In the meantime, the men of the KD Lekiu will continue to be vigilant so we can all wake up shamelessly in total ignorance of their existence.