Armchair warriors would probably be able to dig up a heap of statistics on the Malaysian Armed Forces using their computer keyboard. You could do it too with the right search terms.
The value of attending the ATM Bersama Media (Malaysian Armed Forces and the Media) event in 2007 came from the opportunity to hear, firsthand, what ATM officers thought of the Third Generation Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Their frank comments made the trip to KL worthwhile and I thank them for hosting me.
In my view, the specifications of weapons displayed during the event at Kem Sungai Besi on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, were not the main draw. Anyone can dig these up on the Internet.
The viewpoints and comments collected at the ATM Bersama Media event were invaluable. The conversations with officers I met revealed that most were well-briefed on developments in Singapore.
The photo essay that follows should give netizens an idea of the event I attended and the effort the Malaysian military takes in cultivating strong rapport with their national media.
Malaysia's Kementerian Pertahanan (KEMENTAH) stages its media engagement activities regularly and the contacts with the media provide an avenue for frank feedback from the press. This is unlike the practice in a certain Asean country where one senior officer is known to stalk his boss at press luncheons lest journalists try to - how would the Malaysians say this? - pecah lobang (loosely translated, it means something like "bust one's balloon") by sharing feedback with his superior officer.
My sense of the matter is that the Singapore Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has much to learn from its KL counterpart, especially in the area of defence information management.