KUALA LUMPUR, 25 Apr: The former Vice-Chancellor of the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM), Lieutenant General (Rtd) Datuk Ir Ismail Samion is the latest figure from the field of national defence to join Pakatan Rakyat today.
Choosing PAS as a platform for political struggle, Ismail has served with the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) for 38 years as a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) engineer and Commandant for the Military Academy of Malaysia (MAM).
The Islamic-based PAS policy attracted his interest in joining politics after evaluating for the last five years.
He also asked all former military personnel to follow in his footsteps to being about the waves of change to the country.
He added that the existing dual-party system is the best formula, thus giving a chance to the people to choose, so that a certain party will not feel that they are invincible forever.
“I have actually been looking at the political situation and it needs a change.
“Many public servants tend to get into politics.
“Over the past five years I have been assessing the political situation.
“This is the last chance. I lean towards a dual-party system because the people can choose,” said the graduate of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom in Mechanical Engineering in 1980.
Ismail submitted his PAS membership entry form to the Secretary-General, Datuk Mustafa Ali, witnessed by PAS Vice-President, Datuk Mahfuz Omar and the Director of the Department of Law and Human Rights (Juham), Ahmad Zamri Asa’ad Khuzaimi.
He also sympathised with the plight of former soldiers who have to work hard to continue life after retirement.
His advice is for a skills education system to be given earlier to those who are retiring soon rather than six months as practices currently.
“We need to be prepared and to provide skills courses earlier instead of six months before retirement. The period is too short,” he said.
His success in the RMAF began as a senior engineer at the transportation Squadron (helicopters) till he was appointed as the Assistant to the Chief of Air Force (engineering).
He was appointed as the Chief Engineer of the RMAF from 1997 to 2000 before being appointed as the MAM Commandant in 2001.
When the Armed Forces Academy (ATMA) was upgraded to become the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM), he was appointed as the first Vice-Chancellor.
For the record, he was the first engineer to be appointed as the Vice-Chancellor in a Public Institute of Higher Learning (IPTA).