Ultimately military loyalty is to the people of M’sia By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Malaysiakini : “If you feel that strongly about something, you have an obligation to try and change my mind.”
- Aaron Sorkin
COMMENT | While some armed forces personnel - active and retired - have nothing but vitriol for my writings for Malaysiakini,
I am glad to report on an anecdotal level at least, there has been far
more support - most often qualified - for what I write amongst serving
and retired members of our security services.
Anecdotal levels are of course cold comfort when the reality is that
most people would rather not say anything unless cloaked in anonymity
and people often confuse the echo chambers they live in as the “real
world”, which is unfortunately far more complicated and diverse than
what they read online. I have always disliked the propagandising of the security services
and while I believe that there are many people who do the hard work of
keeping our country safe, they are hampered by the petty fiefdoms of
their immediate superiors and hobbled by a self-serving political
apparatus. The latter is more interested in maintaining political
hegemony than by ensuring that these institutions are independent and
serve the people of Malaysia.
The former meanwhile hampers the legitimacy of these institutions by
eroding public confidence by its official statements, but more
damagingly by engaging in practices that apes the accepted political
culture that has resulted in our country being categorised as a
Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVATM) deputy president Sharuddin Omar’s rejoinder
to old soldiers, or in my case old sailors, “to the principle that we
are always loyal to the current government” misses the point about
loyalty, obligation and serving the country. On a professional level, while I have always observed the chain of
command, truth be told my duty - however, you define it - was always to
the men and women under my charge. This of course is old school military
thinking but one shared by many old timers who put the welfare of the
men and women under their charge ahead of politics, racial or religious.
Times have changed, of course.