| Patriot’s Arshad defends country by speaking out against corruption by Annabelle Lee
| Thursday, March 08, 2018
MALAYSIANSKINI | At 75 years old
and long retired, former brigadier-general Mohd Arshad Raji recently
rose to “defend” the country again, as he had many times before.
Enlisting other military and police veterans to join him, he set up Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) last May. Less than a year later, Patriot has seared itself into the public
consciousness with its outspokenness, taking aim at Mara’s Australian apartment scandal, affirmative action policies seeping into the military, and the National Service programme, which he likened to a “holiday camp” because of its apparent failure to instill patriotism in youths.
When a cleric claimed that non-Malays played no part in defending the
country against the Communist Insurgency, Arshad was among the first to
set the record straight. It did not take long for the group to catch the attention of the
public, nor for it to earn flak, most notably with Defence Minister
Hishammuddin Hussein accusing Patriot of opposing the government. To Arshad, however, speaking out against corruption and injustice is an extension of his service towards the country.
“We are not against the government, we are not. We will support the government if it is a good government. “We were the ones who fought for the country, we gave the people peace so they can sleep soundly at night with their families. “So when you see all this (corruption) happening, you feel betrayed. “To voice myself through writing, through the press, is the only
avenue I have now to defend the country. The pen is mightier than the
sword. “I see this as a continuation of my service,” he said in a recent interview with Malaysiakini.
Despite retiring in 1998, Arshad continues to sport a “uniform” of
sorts – a military-green beret, a light coloured shirt, dark slacks and
polished leather shoes – whenever in public. Another thing that has stuck with him is his commitment to patriotism. “A patriot is someone who loves the nation. To love the country you have to defend it. “We know what patriotism is all about, because we soldiers took up arms to defend the country. “That is what we are doing with our voices now,” he said. In his own words, Arshad tells the story of his time in the army, and of how he became a patriot.
I AM AN ORANG KAMPUNG. Born in Kampung Ulu Langat in
Selangor. In the 1950s, Ulu Langat was a communist-infested area and as
a child, I would see British soldiers pass by my kampung in their
lorries. We used to wait by the roadside and wave at them, they would throw
chocolates at you. I thought “Wow, this job was very good, you get
chocolates!” I was about six to seven years old.
When I was 20 I joined the army. In fact, I did not even complete my
Form Six year. I saw an advertisement asking people to join the army and
quickly joined. The pay was good then, better than graduate pay!
ONE TIME, WE WERE AMBUSHED BY COMMUNIST TROOPS IN THE KELANTAN JUNGLE. I was leading a company and the company behind mine got shot. They always attack the weakest point, the rear. We heard the shot go “pa-pa-pa-pa” and we scrambled, we did
not know where it came from. When you’re walking in the jungle, you
never know where a shot is coming from.
I NEVER SAW MY CHILDREN GROW UP. Soldering comes first, family comes second. But I don’t regret it, that’s my job. One time, I came back home after three months away, and before I
could even say hello to my small kid, the van came back and said I had
to leave again. When you’re deployed, you’re deployed. You can’t say “I can’t go because of my family.” That is the life.
WHEN WE WERE IN THE SERVICE, WE KNEW NOTHING. We only concentrated on what we are supposed to do – train for war and go on missions. I thought the government was so good.
But when you are out of the service, you realise there are so many
things that are not right. To me, the politicians and government today
are not patriotic. We are the ones who are more patriotic than them.
They are thieves, they are corrupt! I am very much against corruption; I get very upset about it. I can’t
bring myself to see them as they continue to rob the country and get
millions and billions. We have to voice it out. So I formed Patriot to be a platform to raise issues.
WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE MORE VETERANS TO STAND UP AND SPEAK OUT.
We know they are unhappy with welfare; the cost of living is killing
everybody. When I go around meeting other former soldiers, they tell me
they are not doing well. In the army, the welfare of your soldier is your top priority. Even your family comes second. The problem is the top leadership in the army today does want to
speak the truth about this. They know what is happening with the former
soldiers, they know the problems we are facing, but they are not
fighting for it.
WE WANT OUR MINISTERS TO GO DOWN TO THE GROUND AND MEET THE VETERANS. If you meet them of course you will know their problems.
Don’t assemble them in big halls and make promises only to have nothing happen in the end.
|posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 10:04 PM