This brief article is dedicated to all serving military officers.
I followed closely the recent case of alleged abatement in the misappropriation of almost RM 15 million in funds by former Chief of Defence Force (CDF) and former Malaysian Ambassador to France i.e. Tan Sri Gen Abdul Aziz Zainal (AAZ). When the news of his arrest by MACC was reported in the media, I was shocked in disbelieve that a person whom I had known when in the service, and who had reached the pinnacle of his professional career as a military officer could be handcuffed and escorted to MACC headquarters to be remanded for questioning.
I had never served him as my superior, nor had he served me as a subordinate, but we had come across each other on several occasions. At no point in time had I lay thoughts that he would rise to become the most senior person in the Armed Forces, and let alone lay thoughts that he was to be appointed the Malaysian Ambassador to France upon his retirement. To be appointed to such lofty positions is a desire for most people; both in the Armed Forces and the diplomatic fraternity. I believe AAZ had the credentials and the confidence of the government to lead the Armed Forces and also to serve the country’s Ambassador to France.
AAZ was arraigned to court where he stood bail pending a full trial. Throughout the days AAZ was under remand at MACC, I received many calls from retired military officers voicing their concern and for some their displeasure at AAZ for his alleged wrong doings. I am here not to make any judgment as to the final outcome of the trial, for I am not privy to the full extent of the case. But allow me to comment on the allegation for the benefit of all those military officers that are still in service.
I say to all of you that this case should not have occurred to a retired senior military officer, and even more so from among serving military officers. You swore upon being commissioned as an officer to serve faithfully and loyalty to King and country. This means that whatever you do, it is for the service to King and country. There can never be things that you do that will ‘desecrate’ the good name of King and country. As officers, you are constantly reminded to perform well and honorable, because honor is a vital trait (besides other established traits) to be upheld at all times. Without honor, you can never be called a military officer.
Misappropriation of funds and worse still corruption must be avoided at all costs and it is a dishonorable act. I know corruption (maybe on a lighter scale) still thrives in the Armed Forces, and it is the duty of every single officer with honor to expose such ‘heinous’ acts. Corruption is evil and I don’t need to tell you the consequence of that act when a corrupt officer faces his creator upon death. Also, how could you face shame when you are caught and jailed for corruption when you are still alive?
Although the act by AAZ is merely an allegation that has to be proven by the court, I am truly saddened at what had happened to AAZ, for I think it has in some way brought disrepute to the noble profession of the Armed Forces (although he has retired), the country and the diplomatic fraternity. Let the AAZ experience be the a lesson to all serving officers regardless of rank, and let it be the last for any military officer to be hauled in by MACC for corruption.
My prayers are with him during the days to come, and more so during the period of his trial, and that he be given a fair trial and a final judgement that is favourable to him.
My final plea to all serving military officers and ranks included……please don’t get near CORRUPTION.