BANTING: Skill, knowledge and ability are the definition of strength for Kapt V. Premalatha (pic) of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
“In the armed forces, women have to be as tough the guys. There are things that we can do just as well as them, and there are things that we cannot do as well.
“Leadership is one of the things that puts us on equal footing. Leadership is strength,” she said.
Kapt Premalatha, 37, is adjutant of RMAF Regiment in Jugra, Banting, which houses the Royal Malaysian Air Force Special Air Service (Paskau).
Her role puts her in charge of planning, controlling and monitoring base operations with her superior officers.
She also shoulders the added responsibilities as facilities officer and security squadron leader.
Leading a force which is predominantly male, Kapt Premalatha said none of her colleagues or subordinates treated her any differently because of her gender.
“They treat me like they would any other officer. I have not had any problems although managing people can be difficult,” said Kapt Premalatha, who joined the service in 1998 as a cadet officer.
She decided to join the Air Force because she felt it suited her personality.
“I was head girl in school and I was always involved in co-curricular activities. The Air Force was the perfect place for me to develop my leadership qualities,” said Kapt Premalatha.
Being the only member from her family to join the armed forces, she said her parents initially had no idea what it entailed and generally thought that “only men joined”.
Only after she passed her training course did they understand that the focus was on training leaders.