Be serious, we are the army, says ATM

A Malaysian soldier prepares for a military parade. The armed forces have reminded its members to ensure military decorum during formal events. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) have defended a directive to stop the use of light-hearted Malay folk poetry or pantun at official military functions, but said it was not sidelining local culture and customs.

It said the directive, issued to the army, navy and air force, was aimed at ensuring the military protocols of the armed forces, adding it was meant to be an internal reminder to emcees not to indulge in “pantuns and jokes” during formal functrions.

“ATM’s formal functions are regimental in nature and must be carried out with respect, in an orderly manner, and in keeping with military etiquette,” the armed forces said in a statement.

It comes after social media users shared a copy of a Nov 2 circular issued by air force chief Kamalruzaman Mohd Othman, banning the use of pantuns in official military functions.

ATM said the ban applied to events attended by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and Malay rulers, as well as during parades and formal programmes held by the air force, navy and army.

“ATM still gives latitude on the use of pantun, gurindam and seloka [variations of Malay poetry] in non-formal settings that are less regimental such as during get-togethers with family members and sporting events,” it added.