KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 ― The year 2020 will see the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) under a new commander, with the current Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin going on retirement soon.
A native of Perak who was born in Port Weld 61 years ago, he was appointed as the 20th ATM chief on June 20, 2018, replacing General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, who went on compulsory retirement.
Prior to him leaving the service, Zulkifli paid a courtesy call on Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador at Bukit Aman last December 28.
A special dinner was hosted by ATM last December 18 to thank him for his service.
The focus now is on who will be appointed to replace Zulkifli as the 21st ATM commander, whether the candidate is from the army, navy or the air force wing.
According to the records, the post of ATM Commander had always been filled by a top officer from the Army since 2011.
The last time the post was held by an air force officer was in 2009 with the appointment of Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin, making him the first ever ATM chief from the Royal Malaysia Air Force (RMAF) to hold the post, while Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor, who was appointed as ATM chief in 2005, was the first from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
The appointment of the number one post in ATM is decided by the Malaysian Armed Forces Council, which is chaired by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, with the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The current Army commander is General Tan Sri Ahmad Hasbullah Mohd Nawi, while Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany and Tan Sri Affendi Buang are RMN and RMAF chief, respectively.
Affendi, 57, was appointed RMAF chief on Dec 21, 2016, while Ahmad Hasbullah, 58, was appointed the Army chief on September 3, 2018 and Mohd Reza, 56, assumed the post of RMN commander on November 30, 2018.
It is learnt that the name of the new ATM chief will be announced at an event on January 2, 2020. ― Bernama