Change of Commands

SHAH ALAM: Change of commands. Two ceremonies were held to mark the handing over of two important posts – albiet lower down the totem pole – in the Armed Forces today. These ceremonies involved the Army and the RMN. For the Army, the ceremony was held in Kuching where Lt. Gen Stephen Mundaw was formally promoted as the Army’s Eastern Field Command commander. He succeeded Lt Gen Zaki Mohktar who has reached the mandatory retirement age.

Succeeding Mundaw as the GOC 1 Division is Maj. Gen. Toh Choon Siang, another Royal Ranger Regiment officer, who was previously the 11th Infantry Brigade commander. Toh, had previously commanded the 8th Batallion of the RRD, the sole parachute unit of the regiment.

Stephen (far right) and Toh (far left) after the promotion and change of command ceremony in Kuching today. Second from right is Army Chief Gen Zulkiple Kassim and retiring Lt Gen Zaki Mokhtar.

Toh may well succeed Mundaw as the Eastern Field Commander as the latter has a year before his mandatory retirement.

Mundaw handing over the post of 1 Div GOC to Toh with Zaki witnessing. Army picture

Before anyone suggests otherwise, both promotions had been approved prior to the general elections. There are two other one-star non-Malay RRD officers waiting in the sidelines so both could also be promoted within the next two years though nothing is set in stone just yet.

Unlike the Army, RMN did not promote anyone today even though it was the last day in service for retiring Vice Adm. Roslan Ramli. Roslan was the Western Fleet commander since January, 2017 when the RMN decided to stood up the Eastern Fleet command. He was previously the Fleet Operations Commander, the third highest ranking position in the navy and traditionaly was the stepping stone for the highest position.

Roslan (left) handing the command of the Western Fleet to the acting commander, Abu Bakar.

Instead of promoting one of the two stars to the position, Roslan’s deputy First Adm. Abu Bakar Ajis is now entrusted as the acting commander in the hand over ceremony held at the Lumut naval base. The Armed Forces council will decide who will take over the position permenantly when it meet soon.

After the ceremony, the media quoted RMN chief Adm. Kamarulzaman Badaruddin as saying that the service’s 15 to 5 tranformation would continue under the new administration. Whether this is true or not remained to be seen. Already a number of people and groups are calling for the government to review and cancel the LMS project one of the cornerstone of the transformation plan.

— Malaysian Defence

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