I believe fate had destined me to work in MINDEF, Kuala Lumpur from 2010 to 2017. I was before attached with the Ministry of Tourism (MOTOUR) located in PWTC Kuala Lumpur (then) when I got my promotion to a better post. The Public Service Department (PSD) decided that I had to leave MOTOUR for MINDEF in Jalan Semarak. I was very happy to stay in MOTOUR, my relationship with my colleague and superiors were fantastic. My work nature was fun and fulfilling (I handled domestic and international events related to Tourism industry) and I didn't see any sane reason why should I leave MOTOUR for MINDEF. My previous Secretary General in MOTOUR even wrote a commendation letter about me to PSD as to identify me as one of the fast track officer. Not that it matter to me because I was just happy doing my work and wants to contribute to the nation, but just to show how great the recognition given by my superior and I feel truly grateful for it. I love MOTOUR. The staffs and colleague were awesome and one of the most professional individuals that I've met so far then. They are very unique and very embracing towards life, perhaps due to the nature of work there. I learned singing and dancing when I was there. So when there was a call for me to move out, it was truly illogical for me to accept it considering how happy I was at MOTOUR.
|With my close friend Shida and staffs in MINDEF's office|
I think the one that I owed much when I was a junior officer back then was my immediate boss. His name is Rashidi Hasbullah and he is the current Secretary General of MOTAC today. I was a lousy officer back then, not quite good on how should I carry my work task as a bureaucrats, but he saw the potentials in me and took me under his wing. Sometimes he asked me to stay back up to 9pm at night just so he can coach me on report writings. You know living in Kajang and you need to commute daily to Menara Dato' Onn KL for work was much of a challenge with traffics and all, but I adhere to his instruction and we do always work late to the night. From his coaching, slowly I improved myself. I never saw such a passionate person and workaholic as I've saw in him. But ironic as it goes, he trained me and MINDEF reaped the benefits of it. He was very sad when I told him in 2010 that I will be leaving MOTOUR for MINDEF. But I guess when God decided on your path, nothing can change it and it is for the better.
|Me with the P8 Poseidon USAF Kadena Base crew in Subang|
What can I summed up from my 7 years posting in MINDEF, KL? I was involved directly with three main mission on the international level of which I'm very proud of, I had hundreds of excellent encounters with great individuals which have build me to who I am this day, attended meetings and briefings representing Malaysia and went through one severe heartbreak. I treasure my time in MINDEF even though the plan was for me to just work there temporarily before going back to MOTOUR, but I guess the love is too real which makes me decided to stay long. I found solace in MINDEF and feel a sense of belonging working there with all the ceremonies and interesting works, maybe because my late grandfather was a soldier himself. 7 years in my type of service is a very long period to stay at one organisation (mostly people would stay maximum up to three years before jumping to other ministry/ agencies), but I guess I love working in MINDEF so much. The environment was fantastic and in terms of welfare, the ministry does took care of their own.
|I gave lectures on National Defense Policy to the MCS Cadet in Port Dickson|
MINDEF taught me a lot of things, I met fantastic and befriended great friends and individuals of which many of them remain close to me to this days. Its the place where I got a chance to undergo through a real military training with the territorial army (515 Regiment) of which no doubt the best period of my life lies in. I've traveled all over Malaysia visiting military camps and establishment and be part of a social service programs organized by MINDEF/ Malaysian Armed Forces. It was a beautiful loving memories. Most of the military personnel that I've met are great peoples, kind and dedicated in their work. I've learned a great deal observing how military carry out their daily task without question. I love working with them and I believe the respects that I got from them were mutual. I will share later on my experience handling bilateral matters between the militaries of the world.
|Me standing in the middle and the MINDEF team on the day PM Najib officiate the Kluang Mini Prison under the NBOS Prog in 2012|
My first year task in MINDEF was handling the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) project within the military camps all over Malaysia. We built a few mini prison camp for the pre-parole inmates. Usually inmates that were sent there will serve maximum up to two years incarceration due to petty crimes. Inmates will do menial work daily in maintaining the camp such as cutting the grass. This is the period which taught humility in me. I think of all the four main camps at that time (2011-2012) which housed the mini prison, two of the official functions involved the Prime Minister of which I was the project manager in Kluang and Gemas. It was a great opportunity, I drafted the PM's speech and coordinates involvement with various parties for the events. Apart from that, my tasked was also given to overseer the first year of the mini prison operations. I befriended officers and wardens from the Prison Dept. It was again truly remarkable seeing how wardens handled inmates in front of your eyes. There was one time when I visited the mini prison in Kluang Camp, I had the opportunity to spent time to pray Zohor with the inmates. On another visit, one inmate spoke fluent English with me when I visited the prison, got me thinking temptation to do crimes are just a short breath away in real world. Be that you're down the economic ladder or the high up, everybody is vulnerable. He was imprisoned due to graft. I realized that being incarcerated even for such a short period of time is not easy. That left an indelible mark for me never to take freedom for granted and keep living an honest and straight life.
MINDEF gave me an opportunity to serve oversea too. In 2013 I was given a rare opportunity within the diplomatic service circles to serve in the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao. I saw from close range the true meaning of nationalism concept and how Muslim in Mindanao were discriminated from every angle in their daily life of which after I came back, I'm never will take the stability and prosperity in Malaysia for granted again. It crossed my mind maybe that was the condition we were in 1946 when Dato' Onn Jaafar amassed and unites the Malays for the cause of independence. Living in Mindanao mostly with the NGOs social workers and human rights activist left me in awe of how wonderful special people were doing what they are doing best in life at such a very young age.
|Me and the Brunei observers taking photo with the MILF rebel during one of our peace advocacy program|
|Polina in the middle of the peace advocacy program in the heart of Mindanao|
Polina later left Mindanao six month prior to my posting ends there to pursue her Ph.D in Human Rights field at University of Moscow. I later had a chance to bring Polina to Malaysia along with her mother and her son Aiden. We travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bharu enjoying the best food Malaysia can offer. We climbed the footsteps of Batu Caves Temple, went to see mangroves trees at Tanjung Piai and took the river cruise boat in Malacca. It was a great moment indeed. I still writes her emel from time to time asking about Aiden and how shes doing in Moscow today.
Came back from Mindanao, got me with enough funds to buy a house of my own. I would never think with my economic background and middle class family income living in the city some more, I would one day own a house. But as God is the most gracious, my overseas posting allowances managed to give me certain amount of funds to buy a house. I was truly grateful and came to a thinking that God is truly the true provider. At my young age I managed to buy a decent apartment with low financial installment every month after I paid a high sum of deposits and lawyers fees. I reckon if its not because MINDEF gave me such an opportunity, I would remain broke and without a house up to this day.
A day after I landed in KLIA coming back from the Philippines, I found myself in my village in Machang, Kelantan. I was having a great time with my young cousins and I turned the televisyen with every single news that aired about Malaysia Airlines losing a plane in the South China Sea. It was 8 March 2014 and will carve next big interesting chapter of my life in MINDEF.
|Me during the official visit to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2015. That green folder containing MoU that was negotiated by me with the Saudi's MoD.|
to be continued...