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7th Rangers: Using the Army on the streets is sheer folly


 
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Using the Army on the streets is sheer folly
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Click on image to enlarge Malaysiakini's image. I came across Nathaniel Tan's blog . I took the liberty of heisting a part of his post. This is the extract:

"There’s a reason we separate military and the police: o­ne fights the enemy of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people."

I absolutely agree with the above. Policemen are trained to enforce law and order amongst the populace. They do that the moment they are absorbed into training. When they become full fledged law enforcement officers they continue doing what they were trained to do. On the other hand soldiers are trained to kill, from the moment they join the army, their purpose in life is to defend tha country against aggression. Fuel hike protests are not aggression against the country but plain unhappiness of the citizens of the country. They are looking at a country where the robber barons (Barisan Nasional politicians) are plundering the country. The last count according to a foreign report was RM380 Billion lost through mismanagement and mostly corruption. Can you imagine that amount of money, will not even finish, if each citizen is given RM2 million to tide them over at the the age of 58.

Allow me to relate to you. Throughout my military career, I stayed in army camps, from my bachelor days until I got married, until I left the service. My interaction with civillians was more or less whenever I went to Church. I joined the Army at the age of 18. The other times I interacted with civillians was whenever I was on operations, where the Tactical Headquarters was near some civillian settlements. For example like Raub, where there was a golf club which was just beside the Tactical Hq. We always viewed the civillians with suspicion, it is due to our environment and our fraternity, of course it was also due to the ongoing insurgency. Soldiers from the Infantry always view the civillians with suspicion. Can you imagine the suspicion turning into action against the civillians? Most soldiers do not surf the internet, they read newspapers like the "Utusan Malaysia" and watch news on TV 3. Whatever is reported by those two entities is the gospel truth.

Soldiers are trained for war, especially so the Infantry which I was in. The only time we trained for public order was normally just before elections. We used to call it POPO, which meant "Public Order Public Ordinance". There was a manual with various laws and methods in dispersing crowds, plus the various orders, formations to disperse crowds, known as "Poman" in full means Public Order Manual. The formations can be a Platoon or Company formations, comprising of a diarist, cameraman, medic, banner bearers, magistrate and of course soldiers who are marksmen and 1st Class shots, being in the Infantry. That manual was a red book, I believe written in the sixties, I would not at all be surprised if that maual had not been updated. I bet you it has not been updated! If I am not mistaken, one of the signatories was the first IGP of Malaysia. Co-signed by the, I think the first Chief of Armed Forces Staff. The emphasis is on "minimum force".

Well, minimum force can also mean the use of firearms, more often then not, a crowd that does not disperse, is dispersed with tear gas. Failing which, which I know with the current bunch of protestors, the commander of the platoon can order the use of deadly force to achieve the aim. This is done by controlled aimed shots at an individual who is identified as the agitator or the leader,to the seen mass of an individual. If the crowd still does not diperse, another individual is selected to be shot. Of course the crowd will be given ample warning with banners, bugles and loud hailers before being shot. Once the crowd is seen waivering after the shooting the platoon will advance to recover the body of the individual. To prevent it being used to further incite the crowd. If he or she is involved is wounded, aid will be rendered. Behind the paltoon will be a, Light Strike Force, which will then conduct a baton charge on the now dispersing and shocked crowd. This is the training and that is exactly how they will deploy, according to the script.
The current rounds used by the Malaysian Infantry for it's standard assault rifle (Steyr) is equivalent to the SS 107 or SS 109 round. If that round meets any part of the human body, for example the leg, you can die from the shock ( as seen in Somalia, after effects of an Aussie and a Tunisian engagement on Somalis). If it hits the seen mass of the human body, which soldiers are trained to hit, all your internal organs are taken out, you will be dead very dead. You will be dead before you know you are dead. That is what the protestors will face, if the Army is deployed on the streets of Malaysia. They will keep on shooting until you are truely dispersed.

So this Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan's statement , two days ago that the army and the police have had training exercises. This is for a possible deployment in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam areas in response to demonstrations planned in the immediate future. Have the Army Generals now become wimps ? This was from Malaysiakini. The Police have the power to declare a "Public Order" situation, which will allow the Army to come in. The Army can always turn them down, as protests against the increase in fuel prices is not a public order situation and it is a gross abuse of powers if they declared it as such. There are laws that govern that, and our lawmakers in Parliament might be ignorant of this.

Anyway the last time the Army was involved was when a Company of Seventh Rangers was initially deployed to Sabah and later relieved by 10th Battalion Rangers when two individuals tried to conduct a coup in Sabah.

[1] Khan’s loyalty to Harris is such that when Harris lost the 1985 elections (obtaining only six seats), Khan and the heads of the other losing parties (who between them had won another 14 seats) drove to the governor’s residence at four in the morning and demanded to be seen. Khan is said to have ordered the governor to re-appoint Harris Salleh as chief minister. Once re-appointed, the plan was then for Harris to “appoint” another six state assemblymen to his coalition of 20, giving Harris the 26 seats needed for a majority in Sabah’s 50 seat assembly. The governor refused to participate in this plan, whereupon Khan is reported to have pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the governor if he did not re-appoint Harris. The governor still refused to budge. In the end, Khan did not shoot the governor. Although the matter never went to court, Khan’s was an act of treason, punishable by death in Malaysia (29 June 1997 interview with James Glyn). The source-some interesting reading on corruption in Sabah

The last incident which was justifiable, was during the Al-Ma'unah terror against the state.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 8:51 PM  
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