Political Expediency and the 90 Per Cent Rule, Part II

The Wasted Years or the Mahathir Era

Kuala Lumpur: I was finishing the second instalment of the three-part “Political Expediency and the 90 Per Cent Rule” when current events overtaken the whole process.

Tun Mahathir had quit Umno and laid a gauntlet against his chosen successor, Pak Lah. Since we might see new development in the next few days, it is simply impossible for me to ignore current events even if readers might choose to criticise Malaysian Defence for what to some may seemed just another attack on the Old Man for criticising Pak Lah.

I am not defending Pak Lah, but the fact that I had started on these theme before and it was part of the current post, the issue remained kosher as does any criticism against Pak Lah.

As part of my usual routine, I will leave the politics and economics to other commentators and will concentrate on what else but Malaysian Defence.

For Malaysian Defence, Tun Mahathir is incomparable especially when it comes to theatrics. Pak Lah may not be the world’s greatest premier but compared to his maker, he had make less mistakes. Granted that Pak Lah is still new to the job but Tun Mahathir is incomparable when it comes to doing things in detriment to the nation’s interest. And his reign was worst thing that had happened to the country.

For starters, twenty-six years after his reign, we are still reaping the bad seeds that were sown during his years. How else can you explain why Malaysia continue to rely on assets and strategies formulated in the late 70s as its main bulwark of defence despite billions spent on the sector during his reign?

An army which is set to field the M4 as its assault rifle, much like in the early 80s when it begun fielding the M16A1 rifles replacing the HK33s, Beretta AR70s and the SLRs. The same army that continued to rely on the 200-odd Oto-Melara 105mm pack howitzers for fire support, and an almost obsolete fleet of Condors and Sibmas APCs as its main manoeuvre force.

An air force flying 40-year old Sea Kings, patched up through a bevy of poorly-funded upgrades and a navy, so short of patrol vessels that its best assets, four of the most modern minesweepers – when procured – are pressed for routine sea patrols.

If only he did build one patrol vessel a year during his reign, even a small one, our borders would be much secure today than 26 years ago before the torrent of immigrants started.

What about the 29s, 18s and Sukhois you might ask, doesn’t that count? Of course not, not for the absurd amount of money we pay for them.

How much money did we pour down the drain?. My best estimates that it easily exceeds US$30 billion, mostly for the benefits of cronies and not the long serving warriors.

And what is more distressing, all of the bad things developed and perfected during the Mahathir years continue to be practiced to this day as shown during the recent DSA.

That is why Malaysian Defence is convinced that Mahathirism was the worst thing that had happened to this country, bar none.

–Malaysian Defence

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9 Comments

  1. It is quite unfair to blame the state of the armed forces solely on Tun Mahathir. He was at no time in his long political tenure at Kem Kementah. For a substantial part of his time, the man in the ministerial chair there is the one still there today. A fellow involved in almost every substantial purchasing decision for the last 2 decades. I don’t think it is possible to lament the state we find ourselves in and say te absolvo to him. These decisions were made during his watch. If he felt that they were wrong and did not serve the interests of the nation, he could and should have spoken up. (crickets chirping)

    He does not wear a uniform and he most certainly cannot hide behind the ‘I was following orders’ thing. That he does wear a uniform on occasion is OK but that he wears both a maroon and green beret is NOT. Those are earned, not given, no matter how very important you may be. It is a peeve of mine that these symbols are debased for the sake of ‘bodek’.

    He approved the move to an M4 after officiating at the Steyr-Mannlincher Malaysia ceremony just 2 years previously. There is no way in hell that he can not know about the reasons for the AUG being replaced. Indeed he should be very well versed on the AUG that was introduced in his first tenure at Kementah.

    On his watch the PV project collapsed due to the fraudulent actions of Amin Shah (sue me, I dare you……) and yet there is no accounting for the billions of ringgit of public funds that have just vanished.

    How is it possible to dissociate the current national leadership from Mahathirism when the majority are guilty of aiding and abetting in the criminal activities perpetrated?

  2. Of course he is not solely responsible for the current state of affairs all those in his cabinets are just as culpable too but since he isthe captain of the ship, the buck stops with him. We could apportion blame to the rest of the keystone cops but again he was the head cop so he got the biggest blame, of course.

    Those in the current leadership are also not absolved of course, I never made that distinction, just lesser role in the whole tragedy. Of course the person next-in-line played a crucial part but yet again the Old Man cannot claimed ignorance in the matter.

    In fact, he was prepared to put forth the M4 minister to replace him instead of Pak Lah. Even now he is still asking the person you are alluding to, to take over ASAP, as if it would solve the problem!

    One of the biggest problem with the Old Man, I believe is that his obsessive need to win, whatever the cost. Remember what happened before?

    Of course, the possible next PM would lay the blame on the Old Man if push come to shove when his tenure is scrutinised. I think his answer would be “I was just following orders!

    One ironic thing about his latest theaterics is that Anwar Ibrahim may well take over as PM next if BN MPs decide to cut their losses. 1-0 to the Old Man against Pak Lah but it will be 1-1 with Anwar!

  3. The power transition definitely stir up our politics for the past few weeks and the most drastic thing that the old man,as mentioned by Marhalim, did just worsen the politics within the ruling party. As a citizen, i’ve been following this issue closely and i’ve come to my own conclusion. The public has played their role in the constitutions by giving the clear signal/indication that we (rakyat) will not hesitate to teach the arrogant leaders if their integrity is questioned.

    For the past 2 decades since the old man took the top seat of the country, he has done what people would see as brilliant things to develop the nation especially during economics downturn and at the same time during his realm our judiciary system fell to disgrace, and yet he was the icon to those who support him and gave him ‘ketaatan kepada pemimpin yg xb’belah bahagi’.

    Now during Pak Lah time, where are those supporters? The same people who always praises him turn their back against him. It seems like whoever become PM will always get the ‘ketaatan’ no matter what he do and he resign everyone will start to turn their back. What kind of government we have here? Where is the ‘check and balances’ thing?

    My point,what we’ve seen today will keep to the way it used to be because the politicians in our country used to be like this. The transition thing for me is like driving bus. We change the driver but we are still on the same bus. I think M4 minister will be nightmare to Malaysia.

  4. And there is not much hope in the other side, unless, there wont be too much opposition against Haji Hadi or LimKit Siang and their set of followers. I know many will be against both leaders. So the top jon may well go to Anwar.

    My thoughts on Anwar? Since I spent about 30 days with him after his sacking in 1997, I have yet to trust him with anything let alone be the leader of this beloved country.

    Even if Pak Lah was resign and his deputy takes over, the problems which started with the Old Man and foolishly emulated by his chosen successor will not end. In the end, what ever personal feelings I have about Anwar, he may well be the next PM within the next six months.

    Another irony for the Old Man who spent the last 10 years trying to prevent Anwar to become PM. In the end it was his decision to go against his own chosen successor was the reason for the turning of the wheel.

    What will happened to Malaysian Defence then? Not much really, there will be open tenders and such but the end result will be the same, just different people running the show…

  5. Oh ye of little faith. Though it will be a long and hard road, it is possible to reform MINDEF and the armed services. I do honestly believe that given the opportunity, our servicemen and women will rise to the occasion. Leadership, and I don’t mean chairing meetings etc. will be paramount. Leadership by example and zero tolerance of the petty larceny that has become deeply embedded in the system.

    One of the essential steps IMO is to simplify the Byzantine structure of MINDEF and the Army in particular. Another is to end the culture of self-serving secrecy by making all but the most classified documents publicly available and open to scrutiny. No more hiding behind a stamp. A program of downsizing based on natural wastage needs to be combined with a readiness to deconstruct empires.
    Willful obstruction should be met with the administrative equivalent of a D-9 bulldozer.

    Actually the corrupt practices that permeate MINDEF and Kementah are paradoxically beneficial. When combined with asset seizure laws and money laundering statutes, its not just the individual who comes under the gun, most have exposed their immediate and even extended families. Honest men have nothing to hide…..guilty men on the other hand have much to fear. These guns to the temple provide tremendous motivation indeed.

    Tak suka……? complainlah to UMNO……kekeke

  6. The ICJ has made the decision over the disputed Pulau Batu Putih and its in favour our neighbouring country. As Malaysian, I am very very disappointed that we lose the sovereignty over the island even it is just a small rocky island. I believe the Johorian fell more upset since it is very close to them than the claiming Singaporean.

    What will be the significant impact to our defence?

  7. They had invested so much on the island the ICJ had no other choice but to give it to them. How it will affect our nation depends on how they draw up the new border, Will they have a corridor all the way from the nearest place?

  8. Haiya….we should sign an Right of Passage Agreemnt so they don’t steal a sea corridor lah. We are stupid when it comes to shit like this. We gave up Natuna to our abang for no reason back in the day.

    On the upside….our claim to Layang-Layang must look good…though with the PRC, ICJ might mean diddly.

    Our inability to deal with Singapore bilaterally is major problem. Wisma Putera has consistently sucked in this regard. I would have every last one of the idiots responsible for negotiations over the last 10 years drowned in a bubbling vat of gula melaka.

    Just to jolok Johoreans more, they should look at the cesspit that is JB. It is a mess, the very antithesis of the order that is Singapore. Little wonder then that the Sings have no respect for the us.
    We do not even respect ourselves.

    Simon

  9. i think the PV jumble purchases is not the M4 minister fault,bcoz as we can see, the Old Man watch closely every big procurement, the PT-91s,Sukhoi,Scorpene..so including the PSC amin shah,..
    i heard that the LTAT r getting more projects now and it benefits the industry.
    mind u that initial PVs procurement do not happen in the year of 2005 right?
    the M4 minister himself is trying to create soldiers for EW n NCW, might be less amount of money would be spilled.( i’m not favouring any camps either but then these deals somehow quite juicy if we see it from “the other side”.and of course , deals are supposed to be classified because of national security, even u wrote the article urself.

    take care

    Marhalim: In the PV case, the M4 minister may be at fault for not ensuring the project went ahead smoothly without any trouble. This is a simply a case of alleged dereliction of duty. Though it may sound trivial, a military man might find himself a civilian if it was found during a court martial. The lack of ministerial supervision was one of the findings of the Auditor General’s Report. The initial contract for the PV project was signed in 1998 but the actual award was done in 1999 before the M4 minister took over, based on my recollections.

    Thats the reason for the lack of oversight! The honey pot had been collected by Pooh himself and he is now guarding the Peace Acre Hills. If you dont believe me on this, go around Bukit Damansara and locate Datuk Anuar Musa house (he of the PPRT fame and the Kelantan UMNO) and asked his people whose the owner of the five-storey mansion opposite their already garish mansion. You have to this as the guards at the five-storey mansion will not identify the owner themselves, they have been warned!

    Thats the reason the Walther deal did not get the green-light, and we may well see another round of tender for the boys in blue!

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