Kami9 is coming

The Kuala Lumpur City Centre garden is a favourite spot for Malaysians as well as among the top destinations for shopping among foreign tourists in Malaysia. Photo by Weekly Echo.
By Dato Syed Ahmad Idid

Kami9 is coming

A new advocacy group, Kami9, is emerging to bolster an old course or pathway to re-build a sound nation with fellow citizens as comrades of goodwill!

Nine like-minded friends have got together to form Kami9 for Kami Anak Malaysia Insaf.Their emphasis is on the word insaf or “realisation”.

I was privileged to know about this important development recently. It came about at a high-tea get-together at Kuala Lumpur’s Rebung Restaurant in Taman Tasik Perdana on Oct22. Rebung, as many know, is well-known for its Malaysian delicacies.

The gathering of nine friends there is hoped to jump start our country to becoming a greater nation. Nine is a special number. We also have Negeri Sembilan whose royal family is highly-respected by Malaysians. Some religions also place nine as an important number!

Many at the get-together got the message that Kami9 wants our country to be a role model of honesty, cleanliness in body and soul, and that every citizen can be a proud member of a glorious country.

The nine members are Dato’ Kamaruddin Jamal, Dato’ Zarazilah (who is also in G25), Gen. (Rtd) Dato’ Mohamed Arshad Raji (Chief of Patriots), Dato’ Shahruddin. Dato‘ Haniff, Datin Suriza, Datin Julini, Sufin and Nazri.

When I received the invitation from Gen. Dato’ Arshad to sit at his table, I felt the conversation was going to be strict and stern.

But with a hefty meal, of course!

But it turned out to be very friendly with lots of family fun and melodious music of the 1960s generation. Music was provided by students from the Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia.

I first met Gen. Dato’ Arshad in Sabah when I was at the (then known as) Borneo High Court of Kota Kinabalu. Colonel (Rtd) M. Yunus Ali was also in Sabah during that time.

At the get-together I also met an Ibrahim School “old mate”, Colonel (Rtd) Noor Ikhsan Raffii and Dato’ Zarazilah, who remembered my uncle, Syed Osman Idid, who was then the District Officer of Kuala Muda. Zarazilah was a young school student then!

Gen. Dato’ Arshad together with the late Datuk Panglima Charles Ho flew with me by helicopter to an overnight stay at Pulau Layang Layang (which is among the famous disputed Spratly islands) at one time. Wish I can change the name of this wide expanse of water to Sea of SEA for Sea of SouthEast Asia with the hope this can lessen the various conflicting claims there.

It was indeed a wonderful get-together where the Guest of Honour was Toh Puan Aishah Ong, who was with Puan Sri Cecelia and other titled persons.

Was it a launch of “a thousand ships”? Getting our power back? Can such a gathering launch a serious campaign to reverse “a once glorious narrative which had gone downhill?”

From what I could infer,  the Chairman of Kami9 seemed unsettled with the chaos around us.

Dato’ Kamarudin once served in the Malaysian Army from 1962 to 1974 and became a major. He took early retirement and joined Esso Production Malaysia Inc, rising to be its HR director before retiring in 2001. He was awarded the meritorious Pingat Gagah Berani (PGB) for bravery during the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation from 1963-66.

With such heroism and experiences, something strong must have pushed him to start Kami9.

Dato’ Kamaruddin said: “Kami9 is a more dignified neutral platform that should appeal to the generally silent majority.”

Remember that crimes increase when good people remain silent? Dato’ Kamarudin is concerned with “today’s free for all verbal slanging of hatred, ill-will, untruths, slander, insults and threats” in the country.

“We are here to win the hearts and minds of the sound and currently silent majority who have just been observers, not realising their strengths,” he said.

He admitted that he and his team are “of the old stock but still youthful and strong” who could be relied upon to steer our country to greater heights.

Dato’ Kamaruddin reckoned that it is not too late to realise that all Malaysians must do their part to get the country back on track and reminded those present that with “passion and emotion, we will do what we can to help bring down the chaos and misunderstandings and the negatives that thwart our country’s way of life for God, King and citizens of all races.”

That is a tall order. But achievable, they reckon.

Though there could be some hindrances of ignorance hampering Kami9, whose members admittedly are of the “old stock educated with an international outlook and equipped with global connections versus those who, since 20 to 30 years ago, are domestically-grown and cultured with local diet and thinking.”

Many may be reminded of similar situations and parting of ways in Sudan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ways to gloom and doom are easy compared to the difficulty to bloom.

But I guess Kami9 may have its secrets with which they can unfold to overcome the grave difficulties to win over the people who matter – our fellow citizens and the civil service, in particular.

May the Almighty bless us towards getting the country to perform at its best;  lessen the useless empty talk or “cakap cakap kosong”; and put forth our best foot forward to gain that extra mile in terms of productivity and courage to become better than the best.

The army veterans know what courage is. On that premise, Kami9 can gain its strength and captivate the general public and lesser mortals in our blessed land of plenty. Let us wish Kami9 what they wish for themselves and for the people of Malaysia.

Dato’ Syed Ahmad Idid, a highly experienced legal eagle, is our guest columnist with a keen sense of humour and a sharp eye on things around him.