KUALA LUMPUR, 9 April 2009: Senator Major General (R) Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom is not new to television viewers who often watch RTM1’s religious talk programme Forum Perdana Ehwal Islam every Thursday night.
His personality and eloquence when discussing Islamic religious issues has made the former Miliatry Religious Corps (Kagat) director a well-known figure.
Besides serving in the military, Jamil who is fluent in Arabic, is also an Islamic activist and a member of the RTM Religious Programme Advisory Committee.
Born in Yan, Kedah, Jamil obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Syariah from Universiti Malaya in 1986 and a Masters in Islamic Studies (Islamic Economic Management) from the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Science in Virginia, United States, in 2000.
Presently, he is pursuing a doctorate at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today named him as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Religious Affairs.
Jamil is not the first serviceman to leave the military to take up a ministerial post because on 7 Jan 2004, Brig Gen (Rtd) Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Zainal Abidin who had also served as Kagat director was appointed to the same portfolio.
Jamil, 48, has served the military for 23 years, starting in the religious corps as a captain in 1986 before being promoted to Staff Officer 3 and later to Staff Officer 1.
He was made colonel on 1 April 2002 and became Kagat deputy management director in 2004.
On October 2005, he was promoted to rank of brigadier general and assumed the post of Kagat director. On 16 Jan last year, he created history as the first two-star general ever appointed as the director of Kagat.
Jamil is married to Datin Fatmawati Saidin and the couple have five sons and a daughter.
He told Bernama that his duties as the minister in charge of religious affairs were basically similar to what he was doing in Kagat.
He would also use all elements of discipline and strength he has developed while in the service in carrying out his new obligations.
“This is a responsibility entrusted upon me and with the support from all quarters, I’m sure I’ll be able to deliver the duties and champion the Islamic religious affairs in a bigger context,” he said.
Jamil also thanked the prime minister for the appointment which he described as a recognition and tribute to all service personnel. — Bernama