New Army Chief Part II

SHAH ALAM: Former Armed Forces headquarters chief of staff, Jen Datuk Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, 56, is to assume the post of Army Chief replacing Jen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, 55, tomorrow. (June 14, 2013).

Following the promotion, Raja Mohamed Affandi, who was a Lt Gen, is now a full General. According to his official biography, Raja Mohamed Affandi was commissioned into the Royal Malay Regiment on May 11, 1977.

Raja Mohamed Affandi
Raja Mohamed Affandi

Back in 2010, both generals were among the four candidates for the post of the deputy Army chief but Zulkifli then the vice-chancellor of Universiti Pertahanan Negara Malaysia (UPNM) was chosen ahead of Raja Affandi, who was already the COS at MAF HQ.

Zulkifli, was then promoted to COA on June 15, 2011 (two years go) now return to UPNM for a second stint as the VC.

Why the sudden change? I dont know. If I could get a million bucks for all the reasons about the change, I will be in the Forbes list of richest Malaysians already! And will this set a precedent for a two year limit for the chief? Perhaps, as they will need a new Armed Forces chief within the next two years.

–Malaysian Defence

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1 Comment

  1. lee yoke meng says:
    June 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Two years is a bit short for a leader to do something. 4 to 5 years would be better now that retirement has been raised to 60

    I believe the top leadership should not be more than 55
    AM says:
    June 13, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Marhalim, I would just like to ask if your profession is in the defence sector, and if you work for a local or an international company.

    I am the owner and publisher of
    lee yoke meng says:
    June 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Hmmm . Maybe the appointment has political reasons behind too?. Just a speculation. Any leader would want someone who is abdolutely loyal to be behind him. Ability may be secondary especially for the army appointment

    I don’t think so although they need the political backing to do it. I believed this is more likely to ensure the next PAT is also from the Army
    cengeh says:
    June 14, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Come on Tuan Marhalim, it’s a demotion for Tan Sri ZZA plain and simple. Why wont u admit it? Unprecedented as it is, something big must have happened.

    Read between the lines. From what I heard so far I still believe ZZA took the bullet for the Regiment’s sake. The regiment cannot take not having a PAT from its rank
    FareedLHS says:
    June 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I guess I’ll be the first to go off topic on this thread…


    In your opinion, now that the US has stated that it plans to arm, support and train the Syrian rebels, and perhaps establish a limited no-fly-zone along the Syrian-Jordanian border, is there a chance that we might see covert (or overt) assistance to the rebels coming from Malaysia? Considering the presence in Lebanon, I doubt that anyone would want to take a chance, but was wondering what your thoughts were. We have already seen Steyr AUGs in the hands of rebels – perhaps assistance already has been and is being provided.

    Not on official government basis, Syria is not part of our strategic concern. However individual participation cannot be discounted as what had happened in Afghanistan and Bosnia. On the AUGs, most probably its from Saudi or Qatar the biggest supporters of the rebels. I believed between them they bought around 60,000 AUGs in the early 90s. We had hoped to sell them the rifles but our deal with Steyr limited export sale to SEA only. The Saudis are reequipping with LWRC rifles so they have plenty of AUGs to go around. IMO it is better to equip the rebels with AKs or its derivatives as they could always restocked with the Syrian army ammo
    FareedLHS says:
    June 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I found the old link (in Austrian German) providing ‘evidence’ that Malaysian Steyr AUGs are being used by Syrian rebels:

    Based on perfunctory evidence the AUGs must have come from Saudi or Qatar. Malaysia sounds more exotic and inflammatory from an Austrian newsman perspective
    AM says:
    June 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    “Not on official government basis, individually perhaps.”

    Government assistance sounds like something Mahathir would do. As for assistance by individuals, I can’t imagine any rich Malaysian using his own money to do that, not even Mahathir.

    Not rich people but mostly ordinary folks who dreamt of becoming a mujahideen. Check out stories of individuals going to Afghanistan and Bosnia if you don’t believe me. I read recently of a sundry shop owner in Kedah who self-financed (he even sold his Kupchai) his trip to Afghanistan prior to Sept 11. He was said to have fought alongside the Taliban and even met OBL. The Kedahan was killed some three months after entering Afghanistan
    AM says:
    June 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Btw a rifle which does not use the prevalent ammo in a civil war, such as our Steyr or the SAR80 which is sometimes seen in Somalia, would go for cheaper than an AK. If the rebels can find enough 5.56 they might find it useful.

    Of course but in a war one used what is readily available
    AM says:
    June 14, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    That Kedahan was lucky he did not end up in Gitmo or a third country’s black site. Or if he were assisting the Taliban while Malaysian forces were in Afghanistan, he could have been tried for treason in Malaysia.

    Afghanistan is not that simple. Furthermore the Taliban has never attacked a Muslim contingent even those from Saudi and Qatar.
    EA says:
    June 14, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    I dont think its about politics.
    It is acceptable and there shouldnt be any speculation about it since Datuk RMA has served as military longer than Tan Sri ZZA.

    Even a straight forward promotion exercise will result in speculation…
    Its only one year
    stanman says:
    June 15, 2013 at 8:01 am

    But both men a RAMD no? I don’t track regimental affiliation much.

    KSA is only partially equipping with LWRC Six8 for selected units. The bulk of their army is getting G36 and the AUGs belong to SANG and some MOI units. The AUGs are the wrong colour, the KSA specified and got Tan furniture.

    Fareed….you are totally wrong. The specific routing though will be a surprise if it is ever revealed. I guarantee you will never guess.

    Yes both men are RAMD. The new one has commanded a battalion and also was the TD Field Commander. The former is a scholar first than a soldier. As I said the former took the bullet for the regiment
    Azlan says:
    June 16, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Cambodia…….. We trained a faction here – they were flown in from Thailand to a training site in Pahang. I spoke to Ken Conboy [author of Kopassus and Intel] about this. He actually met Camdodians – as part of his research for a book on Cambodia – who were trained here. Th Cambodians were never told were they were and they were confined to this training site – I know were it is but would rather not name it here :]. Apart from training, we issued end user certs for a small batch of Eastern European made small arms to be sent to Thailand where they were moved by lorry to the Cambodian border.
    Singapore and Indonesia did the same for other factions.

    As for Bosnia, I know of an ex-RMR guy who went – he got picked up when he returned here. But yes, a handful of Malaysians ended up there, some ended up fighting the Croats. As for Afghanistan, quite a few Malaysians ended up in madrassahs in the tribal areas before and after 9/11, only a few actually made it across the border, and fewer still got involved in any protracted fighting against the NA.

    The thing to bear in mind is that during the war against the Soviets, groups like Jamiat Islami [Massods outfit] and a number of Pashtuns factions further south [the ones that were doing actual fighting like the Haqanni and Abdul Haq factions], did not rate the Arab fighters highly. The main value of the Arabs was cash… Rich individuals in several Gulf States, donated, as did Saudi Arabia which matched U.S aid, dollar for dollar….. And that is why the Afghans tolerated the Arabs, who mostly operated in the south and never in non-Pashtun areas.

    The real juicy story about Malaysian involvement in Bosnia is not about any Malaysian volunteers who fought there and is not about MALBATT – who despite their bad driving skills and inability to deal with the cold, did a pretty good job under very tough circumstances]
    but is about something totally different, that has not publicly come to light yet… BTW, we even sent observers to Vietnam in the early part of the U.S. involvement there, not many know this. And Malaysians were even intercepted trying to cross from Dagestan into Chechnya, they were turned back. A couple of Malaysian students were also picked up in Moscow forr suspicion of having links to the Chechians.


    In the very unlikely event that we decide to ”assist” the Syrian rebels, we won’t make it so obvious as to provide them with surplus AUGs. There are other ways to do it, so it won’t be directly traced backed to us and it will be done with full U.S. backing. End user certs can easily be bought for stuff we don’t operate and have never operated, the black marker arms trade is thriving and there are middle men who can do the job.
    Azlan says:
    June 16, 2013 at 3:13 am

    Since there was some talk about small arms in Syria –
    AM says:
    June 16, 2013 at 9:58 am

    At the risk of simplifying things, it’s probably easy to notice when some guy from a rural state who would never ordinarily hold a passport, goes overseas for longer than any country’s visa and comes back with that combat tested look and an excessive appreciation of Malaysian food.

    The Saudis encouraged their fanatical young men to go to Afghanistan knowing many would die and would not come back to hate on the ruling family’s wealth and association with the west. Such people that they publicly encouraged was also the ones they were most worried about. I wonder if there was an element of the same motive in Malaysia.

    Azlan, how long did Malaysians typically fight in Afghan or Bosnia before they came home? How about Gaza and Lebanon- any Malaysians known went there?

    Most who went are not country bumpkins contrary to popular belief. Remember Yazid Sufaat? An old boy of RMC and a Chemistry engineer. Yes many of them studied at madrasahs from Pakistan but many are also graduates from Yemen, Jordan, Syria and Eygpt.
    nimitz says:
    June 16, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    IMO no sane malaysian will join the fight in Syria. It’s a war against their political leaders yet they are still muslim except different mazhab, correct? Afghan and Bosnia IMO is different as Afghan fought USSR (before they turn against each other) and Bosnian fought Serbs and Croats (which Croats and Serbs are Christians). I will not support any Malaysian who dared to supply arms and manpower to the civil war in Syria. If it is humanitarian…well let it under the auspices of IRCRC,UN,Arab League,OIC,Mercy Malaysia.
    Azlan says:
    June 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm


    As far as some Muslims are concerned, Shiites are heretics and are not true Muslims. Look at the sectarian violence going on in Iraq [courtesy of Bush junior and Blair]. Look at the slaughter that happened in Lebanon during the Civil war – the people doing the slaughter didn’t look at their victims as Muslims. In Syria, the Sunnis have always looked down at the Alwaties as heretics because the Alawites share some Christian beliefs/customs and even celebrate Christmas. As for Bosnia, the Bosnians only fully ”embraced ” Islams as a means of getting Muslim aid and to unite the people. MALBATT troops were shocked to find many Bosnians eating pork……….. Same as Chechnya, were the process is described as ”Chechianisation”, when a largely secular non-religous community became more religously inclined…

    Anyone who is interested in reading about Malaysians who embraced armed Jihad should read Ken Conboys ”Second Front”.
    Azlan says:
    June 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    AM – ”Azlan, how long did Malaysians typically fight in Afghan or Bosnia before they came home? How about Gaza and Lebanon- any Malaysians known went there?”

    Let’s just say that when the victorous Mujs entered Kabul that there were no Malaysians with them. Many Malaysian wannabe jihadists found that life in Aghanistan – whilst under fire and being fed bad food – was much harder than protesting in front of the U.S. embassy. A few Malaysians [ones with JI links] are reported to have been in Ambon, during the sectarian violence there and it goes without being said, that individuals who later became Malaysians fought with the MNLF and MILF in Mindanao. If you go to the Philippine market in K.K, you would be hard pressed to find workers there who at some point, did not take up arms under the MNLF or the MILF.

    The kind of Malaysians who end up on armed jihad tend to view Shiites as heretics and as such would never end up in Lebanon fighting with the Shiite Hezbollah. Gaza is an open air prison camp and is cordoned off by Israel and Egypt [which needs U.S. dollars to prop up its economy. Not easy to get into Gaza and a Malaysian there would stick out like a sore thumb, especially given that Gaza is not big.

    Gaza is not a prison anymore, after the ascension of Dr Mursi as Egypt’s president. Its now a tourist destination for Malaysians!. I bet even Jeuju Island tour will be hard pressed to compete with it!
    Azlan says:
    June 18, 2013 at 12:58 am


    Sorry, but as long as Israel enforces a strict blockade on Gaza, imposes strict movement controls on its population and dictates who they should elect as their leaders [we have gone full circle, at one point Israel courted Hamas as an alternative to the corrupt and inept Fatah, now Israel and the West wants the Gazans to bring in Fatah again….], then in my view it is an open air prison. Egypt under Mursi – like when it was under Mubarak – is the 2nd largest recipent of U.S aid [they got that for signing Camp David] and they will not freely open the Rafah crossing and let everything in or out without controls – they don’t want to upset their main benafactor and Israel. The real story off course is that the occupants of Gaza are not originally from Gaza but that’s me going off-topic again.
    AM says:
    June 18, 2013 at 9:15 am

    In terms of receiving military aid, Mursi is one lucky guy.
    Azlan says:
    June 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    AM – ”In terms of receiving military aid, Mursi is one lucky guy.”

    It goes back to Camp David. Why do you think that Egypt is the 2nd largest recipient of U.S. aid after Israel? Camp David was Kissinger’s master plan to further divide the Arabs, take Egypt away from the Soviet orbit, strengthen Israel’s position and make Egypt totally dependent on Uncle Sam for economic survival – it worked perfectly. Like Mubarak, fighting a war with anyone is the last thing on Mursi’s agenda – he wants to strengthen his position, keep the army happy and ensure U.S. aid continues to pour in.

    To some its a curse
    AM says:
    June 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Yes but why is the aid of such large amount? I don’t think this amount is necessary to keep Egypt in the US camp, or that aid alone is enough to keep the army happy with Mursi and encourage it not to seize power. Which would not be too bad for the US. The army will probably remain more pro western than Mursi will ever be
    kamal says:
    June 19, 2013 at 12:01 am

    read the star online just now, stated that the ESSCOM Chief denied the Phinoy claim that there was an altercation between Malaysian Armed forces with 400 suluk.

    Melayu pepatah kata tiada angin masakan pokok bergoyang hahahaha. If its not true fine but if it is true then how the hell did the media here was not alerted. Just need a video phone to mms here or in you tube…hmmm

    Anyway even if it is not true, it is a sign that more ISR and combat assets needed to be placed there. I say more operational budget for ESSCOM. Put all the condor, Nuri, allo and F5E there.

    To me if its not true just dismissed it and leave it at that

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