Written by Major (Rtd) D.Swami
Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi remarked that non-Malays shun a military career because they lacked patriotism. His sense of history and of the contributions of the Chinese, Indians and our brothers from East Malaysia towards the sovereignty of Malaysia leaves something to be desired. Zahid’s is a racist and bigoted view, pure and simple.
I’ve previously blogged about the winners of valour awards, not including those who had laid down their lives, are maimed, and not forgetting the non-Malay police officers.
I guess when the Chinese and Indians were bleeding and dying for this country, Zahid might just have been a dirty glint in his father’s eyes. I am not insulting this dull fellow, just that this shallow-minded individual needs some input regarding who was the first Malaysian to be awarded the Pingat Gagah Berani. He was a Chinese! Sergeant Chong Yong Chin PGB of the First Federation Regiment.
Dey Zahid, I suppose you did not know that. Insults have to be politely reciprocated with civility, I am doing just that.
Did you not know who was the first recipient of the Pingat Gagah Berani in the Congo? That person too was a Chinese, Lieutenant Lee Ah Pow PGB, read about how shoddily he was treated too! It had to take Brigadier R.S. Noronha of the Indian army (during a UN peacekeeping mission in Congo) to recommend him for an award. Lt Lee had shown exemplary courage and tremendous restraint under fire, yet his own Malaysian high command overlooked his valour.
There was another young Chinese officer, Lt David Fu Chee Meng, who too was awarded the PGB at the Battle of Tanah Hitam.
So those guys were not patriotic enough for you? Here is my favourite, someone I know personally, Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB, my wife’s uncle. The short guy in the centre of the photo is Sergeant Choo Woh Soon PGB. This guy, patriotic enough for you?
How about this Indian officer and Chinese soldier dying together to save your sorry butt from the commies? Captain Shanmuganathan PGB and 207770 Ranger Mat Isa bin Hassan PGB, do not be deceived by the name Mat Isa, he was a Chinese.
How about this Indian officer who laid down his life at the ripe old age of 24? Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan (200402) Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa. Not patriotic enough for you? Here is another Indian who got the PGB, Second Lieutenant Panir Chellvum a/l Velaithan PGB. Still not patriotic enough for you?
M’sian soldiers burn cross
How about this where a sorry excuse for an officer caused the death of 13 Italian airmen in the Congo. The Malay Major had shirked his responsibilities of providing the airmen with protection, placed them in danger by ordering them to be brought to the mess and allowed them to be captured by the rebels. The Major then further disgraced himself by ordering all the officers and men at the mess to surrender their weapons to the rebels who had surrounded them, which they did sheepishly.
Malaysia’s name had to be salvaged in this incident by Second Lieutenants N.H. Siebel PGB and Captain Maurice Lam PGB, notice their names, they were non-Malays.
How about the time in Bosnia where soldiers desecrated a Catholic Cross? Again the situation was salvaged by the non-Malays. For posterity I have another link here about how the then Defence Minister Najib Razak excused the burning of Croation Catholic cross by two Malaysian UN peacekeepers stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina as “unintentional”.
I will not even talk about the vandalising of the Hoba meteorite in Namibia.
Here is another Indian, who after serving a total of 29 years in both the police force and the army is denied his pension. The reason being he did not attend the weapons course and tactics course. What weapons and tactics course, when he and his men wiped out the remnants of the enemy in Selangor. What would his unshaved instructors teach him? Read about him, Captain Courageous aka Mukhtiar Singh s/o Sodagar Singh.
In any other army in the world today, they would have cited Mukhtiar Singh for courage and piled honours on him without any questions asked. Unfortunately he is an Indian in Malaysia, get that Zahid?
Here is a picture of an all Chinese group of Kinta Valley Homeguards who fought the Malayan Communist Party. More pictures here.
The problem with people like Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is he does not know about people like these Chinese and Indians who were willing to die for Malaysia unconditionally. They only wanted to be treated fairly. The current situation is like “some people are more equal than others”.
East M’sians discriminated against
People like Zahid are wind bags, full of foul air and all empty talk.
If you notice the minorities were significant in numbers in the forces when Malaysia was in danger, from the Japanese occupation of Malaya, the Emergency, Confrontation and the subsequent Emergency until the cessation of hostilities by the Malayan Communist Party.
Remember the Communist Party of Malaya did not surrender. It was a treaty for the cessation of hostilities. Freeing our Great Leader to push his agenda of Ketuanan Melayu, subsequently his achievements were … I shall just cite one, i.e. the amazing statement that Anwar Ibrahim socked himself in the left eye to gain public sympathy and give the police a bad name. Mahathir could not do many of the things he has done if the Malayan Communist Party was on the warpath as it would increase their numbers. Zahid, being an ardent fan of this old goat, is still playing to the gallery.
Soldiers who have served, the non-Malays, know what it is to be discriminated against because of their race and religion. Even the Bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak are discriminated against, as most of them are Christians.
While at this, being an ex-soldier and all, I have seen many East Malaysian officers serving in combat units. Why did not any one of them make it to General? Not good enough?
Look at how brave, loyal and patriotic they are. See in the archives for the records I’ve compiled. After seeing the results of the Sibu ‘buy elections’, where the BN lost, I guess they saw the writing on the wall and recently promoted an Iban officer to become the first Iban who made it to General, Stephen Mundaw, in September this year.
Anyway that is peanuts, East Malaysians should demand and expect at least a 4-star General from amongst the Ibans, whose bodies have been littered across the battle fields in Malaysia. Their courage and ferocity in battle is unmatched.
Lack of promotion prospects
After having served many years and plodding along, being bypassed by juniors and incompetents, there are so many grievances. There is not enough space to write it all at one go. Is it not heart wrenching? You expect patriotism to burn brightly in the hearts of the non-Malays when our children are discriminated by virtue of race and religion?
Treat everyone equally on a level playing field and you will not need to ask for the non-Malays to defend this country. The numbers would be so huge that you would have to send most of them back.
In the military, the non-Malay is ridden like a horse, for the greater benefit of the majority. No rewards, when it comes to promotions and benefits … they forget you. You know about the old race horse, that it runs until it drops dead or is put out to pasture. Most non-Malays make it to the rank of Major, I am sure you have heard this before, about the infamous glass ceiling. That is the rank you have to be happy with.
You are not promoted on merit. I know of guys who can barely speak English but become Generals. During my time all the courses were in English. Ask the ex and serving non-Malays about the subtle hints to convert. They do not even respect your faith by suggesting that. If they’re always hinting to you that you should convert, it means they look down on you.
Religious and racial discrimination go hand in hand.
I have also had the privilege of seeing a General’s knees tremble, when he stepped out of my Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) as I helped him down. This was after an exchange of fire. I was the escort commander and he was riding in my IFV in Somalia.
A hundred non-Malays would, without hesitation and asking questions, charge a hill of 10,000 enemies to defend their country, Malaysia, if you treated them and their offspring as Malaysians and not as dhimmis and second-class citizens.
I could continue shellacking Ahmad Zahid until the cows come home but it is us who are to be blamed. He is the MP for Bagan Datuk, Perak. Those of us who continue supporting MCA and the MIC, are actually getting him elected year in, year out. Your votes have made him arrogant. If you notice his majority is actually shrinking. So the strongest message for the Defence Minister would be to boot this racist Umno supremacist out of Parliament in the next general elections.
You can see pictures and read more at the writer's blog here.