KUCHING: Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang is set to become the 21st chief of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), making him the first Sarawakian to hold the post.
Speculation about who will be the next the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) chief arose after current ATM chief Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin revealed that he was set to retire soon.
“News of Affendi’s appointment is true. The assignment of duty will take place on Jan 2, 2020 at the Ministry of Defence’s headquarters,” an ATM public relations officer told The Borneo Post today.
Born in Kampung Lintang, Petra Jaya here in 1962, Affendi is the only Sarawakian to hold the highest position in the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) to date.
Affendi began his military career as a RMAF cadet officer in 1980 and received basic training at the Cadet School, Sebatang Kara, Port Dickson.
In 1981, he was selected for the Basic Training Course in flying at Alor Setar’s RMAF and was inducted into the RMAF as a Second Lieutenant in 1982.
He is experienced in operating the Aermacchi MB-339, McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and MiG-29N and was also actively involved in airstrikes operations during the Communist Insurgency era in the late 1980s.
“Affendi is also one of the founders of ‘The Smokey Bandits’ which is an aerobatic team in 2001, that operates five MiG-29N / NUB aircrafts. He led this team throughout his service as a No17/19 Squadron Commanding Officer from 2002 to 2004,” said the source.
Affendi was also a graduate of the Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College in 1997 and Defence and Strategic Studies Course at the Center for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS), Australia in 2005.
He also holds a Masters of Art (Strategic Studies) from Deakin University, Australia and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in the United Kingdom in 2011.
According to 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.