Under Section 22 of the RELA Act 2012, an act which has been passed by Parliament and which will come into force with effect from 22 June 2012, RELA will be using the established Army rank structure.

Many members of RAFOC and other retired Armed Forces officers have expressed their "objection" to the use of the Army rank structure by RELA.

They are not against the RELA Act 2012 per se but only objected to the use of the Army rank structure, which has been belonged exclusively to the Malaysian Army since 1933 and used by armies world-wide.

Although there are one or two organizations such as Civil Defence, Security Guards etc. that use the Army rank structure but their use have not been legalized as such. Their use is therefore "illegal" or not authorized. The RELA Act 2012 "legalised" the use of the Army rank structure by the RELA.

The Army, for that matter the Armed Forces, holds esteemed and sacred the commission and the rank structure conferred to them. Their commissions are conferred by SPB Yang DiPertuan Agong and can only be withdrawn or revoked by him.

Having met the prerequisite to become an officer cadet and having to go through a vigorous selection process, those who were successful underwent a period of military training to become an officer, either in our own local institutions or abroad. Not all who applied were selected to undergo the training and not all who underwent the training were commissioned. Their commissions were conferred in a traditional ceremony, solemnly officiated by SPB Yang DiPertuan Agong or one of the rulers on his behalf, befitting the profession.

Having made Second Lieutenant, they had to attend numerous professional courses and had to pass a written and a practical examination before they could be promoted to the next higher rank as Kaptain and Mejar. Their promotions are also based on the vacancies that existed in the establishment and goes through the appropriate Promotion Board and endorsed by the Armed Forces Council before the consent by SPB Yang DiPertuan Agong. They are not promoted simply on a time scale. Hence, a number of officers left or had to leave the Service before their due retirement age or on reaching the end of their short service commission date to facilitate for the upward movement of the younger officers.

Their commissions and promotions are gazetted in the Government Gazette. A commissioned officer holds his commission, using his last rank in Service, till death unless his commission is revoked by the Yang DiPertuan Agong for disciplinary reasons. Hense, retired Armed Forces officers have their last rank, before retirement, with their names and they are still referred to by their ranks. They are proud to use them or to be referred by their rank even though they are only Kaptain or Mejar, when some of their intake members are Kolonels or Jenerals.

Likewise, the Other Ranks also goes through a vigorous selection process before they are selected for the basic recruit training. Again, not all who applied to join the Armed Forces were selected to go through the recruit training and not all who underwent the recruit training were selected to serve the Armed Forces and the country. On joining the Service, they also had to attend numerous professional courses and must have the proper leadership qualities required before they are promoted. Again, their promotions are also subject to the vacancies in the establishment and promoted through a properly constituted Promotion Board.

With all due respect, RELA is not part of the Armed Forces. They have their roles to play but their roles are not part of the total defence plan per se. We have the Territorial Army as the back-up force to the regular forces in the total defence plan of the country. The Territorial Army is part of the Armed Forces set-up.

Not having to state the shortfalls of the RELA officers in comparison to the Army officers as above, and other not-so-nice to state reasoning, we see no similarity nor justification to warrant the use of the Army rank structure by the RELA organization. They should use their own or other rank structure as appropriate to their organization.

We hope the appropriate authorities take recognition of this. We are not privy to know if the Army or for that matter, the Armed Forces or the Ministry of Defence or the Armed Forces Council have been referred to or consulted on the use of the Army rank structure by the RELA organization or by the Ministry of Home Affairs before the Act was tabled in Parliament. We are not sure if SPB Yang DiPertuan Agong, as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was made aware or has been duly advised beforehand and consented to the use of the Army rank structure by RELA.

On the part of the retired Armed Forces officers, Kol Abd Malik bin Alwi, (Bersara), President of Kelab Pegawai RAMD, has taken the initiative to convey our objection, in writing to our YAB. Prime Minister. Kol Abd Malik has also briefed our RAFOC Committee on this matter during our committee meeting on 14 Jun 2012.

Our RAFOC Committee deliberated on the matter and agreed to support the effort by Kol Abd Malek on this objection. Thus, Jen Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abd Rahman bin Abd Hamid, (Bersara), our RAFOC Deputy President and Lt Jen Tan Sri Dato' Seri Abd Ghani bin Abd Aziz, TUDM, (Bersara), accompanied Kol Abd Malek to meet YB. Minister of Defence on 14 Jun 2012 to state our case. YB. Minister of Defence has agreed to refer the matter to YAB. Prime Minister. To date, we are yet to get the feed-back. 22 June 2012 is only this Friday!

Please let our objections be made known to the relevant authorities and your peers still serving in the Armed Forces through your net-work. We must protect the exclusive and the sacred use of our Army rank structure by our Armed Forces. RELA should use its own rank structure.

On behalf of its members and all the retired Armed Forces officers in general, RAFOC will make its objection known to the relevant authorities. We want Section 22 of the RELA Act 2012 be rescinded.

   Click here to view the RELA Act 2012.