KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Defence was checking out the new Army website tonight for the latest developments.
The website has been under construction the last few months and even now, after it went live, the site remained under development.
As usual I checked the Buletin TDM, now operating from another IP address, for the latest news but to my chagrin, the featured bulletin was published in May. Perhaps the BTDM is a tri-monthly magazine.
Anyhow, one article stood out. It is called “Rancangan Perlaksanaan” (Plan of Implementation). I am not sure whether the current Armed Forces chief Jen Abdul Aziz Zainal was the author or not, but his quote was placed on top of the article. The translation was credited to Major Zulkifli Dato Tahir.
To me the article was not that interesting (it was too academic) but the pictures that were used to illustrate it, speaks volumes of the current conundrum on the selection of a standard assault rifle for the Army and the rest of the Armed Forces.
The editors used 17 pictures for the article and 14 of those were soldiers with rifles. From the 14, only two were those of the Steyr AUG and the rest were those of the M161A1.
The BTDM editors have lots of photos in their file, and being responsible for the image of the Army, it is certainly their job to promote the service, therefore the latest and greatest equipment would have the been the natural choice.
Instead they choose to highlight that the Army, which in 1994 replaced the M16A1 with the Steyr, is still issuing rifles that should have been in store.
I know, perhaps I am reading too much into the pictures and making my own assumptions to fit my thinking but hear me out here.
The Army wants the latest version of the M16/M4 to replace the Steyr. Technically they did, in April 2006. But unforeseen reasons, some claimed it was the interference of the US Department of Defense and State Department but until now the Army have yet to be issued with the latest and greatest.
So one year on, the Army, either knowingly or not and through subordinates (yes, I am being a psychologist!) continue to tell the world that it needs the Black Rifle.
Otherwise, the Army would have stopped its units from issuing M16s to soldiers. With the delay in the M4 procurement, wouldn’t you think the Army should have opted for another assault rifle to replace the Steyr by now?
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