Major Teoh’s Blog

January 15, 2007

“Outpost Under Attack Report is False”

Filed under: Security — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 6:39 am

I refer to a STAR article, “Outpost Under Attack Report is False” dated 14 January 2007.

Luckily the grenade incident at the Malaysian border outpost at Ban Din Sameo was very diplomatically handled right from the start. We must thank the Deputy Army Chief, Lt. Jen Datuk Muhammad Ismail Jamaluddin for it. Otherwise it would have caused another international uproar and diplomatic embarassment just like the ear squatting case which ended up with a minister being sent on a wild goose chase half way round the world.

News that filtered in at first blamed the smugglers. Then an attempt was made to shift the blame to several unidentified armed men. Even the Thai army was nearly and almost implicated. The Thais too were very cautious. Initially they did not vehemently deny nor admit responsibilty of the whole incident but carefully and cautious asked for more time to investigate into the matter.

At least now we know that the explosion was from grenade of our own troops and not lobbed at the Malaysian soldiers by a third party. This sounded more plausible. Definitely at the beginning somebody on the ground was trying to cover up for another person. The platoon commander should take the full brunt of this incident for also trying to cover up this incident.

The bare facts were: a grenade went off accidentally and fearing that disciplinary action would be taken against him, the soldier came up with a cock and bull story.

I have operated in these areas, Sik, Gubir, Weng all along the Thai/Malaysian border and even in the Thai territory namely, Ban Kok Chang and Ban Tho.

There were no cases of Thai soldiers taking pot shots at us. Any deliberate attack on our outposts was non-existent. Both sides have very strict rules of engagement and any hot pursuit was one which was pre-arranged and with permission. Otherwise all movements were confined to one’s own side of the border.

There were also no records of groups of marauding Muslim separatists attacking our base camps on this side of the border. These groups usually avoided contact with our troops. It was because, in case of a hot pursuit, they could always hop over the border leaving their pursuers behind. Antagonising the Malaysian Government wouldl be foolhardy for them as more troops would be sent to the border making their movements more difficult.

All our posts in the jungle were defended in depth. In simple terms it meant you could not stumble into one without your approach being known or noticed unless you were prepared to inch your way up dismantling and neutralizing all the Early Warning Devices (EWD) and avoiding all the patrols and ambushes.

Trip flares and claymore mines were planted at all likely approaches. There were also LP’s (listening posts) and daily aggressive short range patrols. Ambushes were also conducted day and night. Therefore it was highly improbable and naive to assume that a bunch of untrained smugglers could, with ease, walk up to your outpost and lob a grenade or two into your base.

This and the earsquatting incidents underscore the importance of telling the truth to enable those at the top to make right decision and to take the appropriate action.

Please do not treat your boss like a mushroom, by keeping him in the dark and feeding him with bullshit.

Just sharing.

Regards,

Major (Rtd) Teoh

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