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Sakmongkol ak 47

Wednesday 10 September 2008

The way of the Soldier?

Since the chief of the arm forces spoke on a political issue, I feel obliged to write something about this. Two bloggers have also written on this new development. I have written about this in my earlier blog( see the 3rd way- no thank you).

It is highly irregular for a sitting general to speak about politics. The traditional role of the army is apolitical.

But I am sure, in keeping with the characteristic wanton abandon of the PakLah-Najib leadership, this statement will not be broached. It may even increase public’s anxiety which can be exploited by the sitting government.

Creating a military toned government is a double edged sword. It can be used by the ruling elite to maintain their political power. Once installed, the military led government is more effective hurdle to democracy. It will involve concessions given to the military the refusal of which can even lead to outright military coup d’├ętat.

I chance upon a short speech by Lee Kuan Yew who said something along these lines. From the moment the commander has pressed the button, control of events goes over to local commanders until the battle was over. During the battle, it is the captain, the lieutenant, the sergeant, the corporal, the lance corporal and private, who makes the decisions. Now, that is a sobering thought indeed.

Those who venture to think that military rule is good need only to study the fate that have befallen countries that have embraced military rule. Invariably these have turned into dictatorships and the military establishments becomes the oppressor.

In a society like ours, the means of organised and structured violence are in the monopoly of the military. If the ruling elite allows a strong military activism, they have to live with the political hazard that this choice causes. The military can be an agent serving the elite’s interest or can be the enemy they slept with. Then the ruling elite must be conscious of the costs involved such as the need to pay efficiency wages to soldiers and make other social and policy concessions. To avoid coups.

But beyond just exploring the notion of the usefulness of using the military as bulwark to democracy or to life as they know it, the current political leadership has exposed its truer darkener side. That deep down, they actually have oligarchic tendencies. They are more interested in preserving their interests than seeing civil democracy at work.


Anonymous,  10 September 2008 at 13:04  

hi mat tomoi,

i've just expressed an almost similar sentiment at rocky's bru.

this general issuing out-of-turn warning is so highly irregular... what IS the pm/dpm playing at?

[p.s. i've been visiting regularly but could only stay to read but not to leave comments.]

Ariff Sabri 10 September 2008 at 13:18  

thank you mek yam. pls feel free to comment. even if its the contrary. why dont you blog too?

Anonymous,  10 September 2008 at 13:34  


i don't even have enough time to pepper my favourite blogs with comments, what more to churn out reasoned pieces on a regular basis like you.

lagipun i prefer to be a moving target [not that i say much to draw fire]. :D

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