Who Will Be The Next Armed Forces Chief?

The three service chiefs, from left Admiral TS Abdul Rahman Ayob; General TS Mohammad Ab Rahman and General TS Asghar Khan Goriman Khan. Picture taken on August 1 at the launch of Eks Angsa at the Lumut naval base. RMAF picture.

SHAH ALAM: The Armed Forces is set to have a new chief later this month as the incumbent, General TS Affendi Buang is due for retirement soon. Affendi, 62, made his first farewell visit as the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) to deputy Prime Minister 2 DS Fadillah Yusof on August 1.

Affendi who was then the RMAF chief took over as the CDF (the preferred Defence Ministry designation for the post) on January 2, 2020 replacing the then chief Gen TS Zulkifli Zainal Abidin. Affendi is the first Sarawakian to be appointed as the country’s top soldier.

Zulkifli and Affendi at the handing over ceremony on January 2, 2020.

The official release:

KUALA LUMPUR, 1 Ogos 2023 – Panglima Angkatan Tentera, Jeneral Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Haji Affendi bin Buang TUDM telah memulakan agenda persaraan beliau dengan melaksanakan kunjungan hormat perpisahan ke atas Timbalan Perdana Menteri II, YAB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah Bin Yusof bertempat di Bangunan Perdana Putra, Putrajaya, hari ini.
Beliau seterusnya dijadualkan akan membuat kunjungan hormat perpisahan bersama beberapa Pegawai Tertinggi Kerajaan yang lain sebelum menjalani cuti persaraan tidak lama lagi.

By tradition and convention, the candidate to become the next CDF is the Army chief. That said since the government in 2005 decided that any of the three services could become the top soldier/sailor/airman by appointing Admiral TS Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor as the CDF the convention/tradition is no longer consider the rule.

And in June, 2018, its gets harder to guess the appointment convention when General TS Zulkifli Zainal Abidin was appointed as the 20th CDF replacing the incumbent General TS Raja Affandi Raja Noor. Zulkifli was retiring as the head of the National Defence University Malaysia when he was appointed as the 20th CDF.

As for the current situation, since we are no longer bound by tradition and convention, the obvious candidate for the 22nd CDF is RMAF chief General TS Asghar Khan Goriman Khan, the most senior service chief. He was appointed to the post on March 7, 2022. However, based on talks for the last few months, it unlikely that Gunjiz (Asghar call sign) will take over the CDF post as Affendi is of course from the air force.

That leave us with RMN Chief Admiral TS Abdul Rahman Ayob – appointed as RMN Chief in January this year – and Army chief General TS Mohammad Ab Rahman, who took over as the chief in March 22 this year as the candidates for the CDF post.

The talk is that Mohammad – the Army chief – is the favourite to take over as CDF though. That said nothing is set in stone until the decision is made by the Agong, who is also leaving early next year. It is interesting to note that both the RMN and Army chief will be 60 years old this year or next year.

That is the reason that if either of them is selected as the CDF it is likely that the candidate will be given a two-year contract for the job. It will be like the two-year contract for IGP TS Razaruddin Husain when his appointment was announced on June 23. Retiring CDF Affendi will also turn 62 this August 21.

— Malaysian Defence

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