30th October 2020
AIR TIMES NEWS PORTAL HEADINGS ON ARREST OF MILITARY OFFICERS IS MISLEADING
A report by a local news portal Air Times dated 27 October 2020 titled ‘Ketua Pengarah Perisikan lantikan khas Pakatan Harapan didakwa pecah amanah’, is misleading and does not reflect the true workings of the Armed Forces Council relating to the posting and promotion of senior military officers.
The news report pertains to the arrest of three senior military officers for alleged bribery amounting to RM3.5 million. One of those charged was the Armed Forces Director General Military Intelligence, a three star ranking military officer. This case has been widely reported by the mainstream media, and a number of local news portal, reflecting the seriousness of the charge.
Being the Director General Military Intelligence, questions have been raised as to whether the bribery has anything to do with a breach of national and military intelligence. If the investigation does find evidence as such, then the officer ought to be charged for treason.
The report by the news portal using the words ‘lantikan khas Pakatan Harapan’ had misled readers into believing that it was a political party (Pakatan Harapan) that had appointed the officer to the post of Director General Military Intelligence. This is incorrect.
The Armed Forces Council established under Article 137 of the Federal Constitution is the legitimate body that exercises command, discipline and administration of the Armed Forces. The council is presided by the defence minister with the Ministry’s Secretary General acting as secretary to the council. The three services chiefs, i.e., Army, Navy and Air Force are important members of the council, including the Chief of Defence Forces.
With regards to the postings and promotion of senior officers, it is the respective service chief that submit the proposal of suitable candidates to fill various appointments within their service. In the case of the Director General Military Intelligence, being a tri-service appointment, it would normally be the Chief of Defence Force that shall nominate a suitable candidate. Traditionally, the post is given to the most senior officer of the Armed Forces Intelligence Corps.
The post of Director General Military Intelligence is not, and can never be a political appointee. Hence, the defence minister who chairs the council will only have to agree with the candidate proposed by the Chief of Defence Force. The same applies to all other candidates of the three services that are proposed for promotion or postings by the respective service chief. It is for this very reason that the words ‘lantikan khas Pakatan Harapan’ is misleading. At no time has there been a political party or a politician that decides the appointment of a military officer to the post of Director General Military Intelligence.
It is incumbent upon Air Times to make a public announcement and correct the erroneous title of its report.
BG Dato Mohmed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan