I have been receiving calls from several people (known and unknown to me) to seek my comment on the recent statement made by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Tan Sri Zulkifly Mat Zain concerning the revelation made by some former Armed Forces (AF) retirees that the ballot papers of AF personals have been rigged in the past to favour BN candidates. Personally, I have not seen nor have I been involved in the rigging. But I did hear that such an activity has occurred in the past, and if one were to proceed with an investigation (I believe it should be done to redeem public confidence), I suggest it should start at the very source i.e. at Jabatan Rekod dan Pencen (JRP) and the AF Intelligence Division.
I fervently believe in a free and fair election where all contending candidates must be given equal opportunity to the electoral process. Just look at what Singapore had done in the last election where it was conducted in complete fairness to all candidates. The opposition (though small) were even given air time on TV to express their political agendas to the public, that is barely acceptable here. There wasn’t any arrest or harassment on opposition candidates by the authorities during the campaign. Everything was civil and orderly. Finally, the Singapore election saw a long standing minister being ousted and because of this, the government has taken drastic measures to win back public confidence; not by demonizing the opposition, but to see what more can be done to improve on their weaknesses. Here, I do not wish to make any further comparison between us and Singapore, but certainly there is a lot our politicians can learn from the Singapore election.
Now with regards to the CDF’s comment that was viewed on TV and in the alternative media, I have this to say. I personally think the CDF should have been more careful with the phrases used during the press conference. There must not be any political undertone that would subject him to odium by civil society. Please remember that civil society’s thinking today is unlike what it was in the 60’s. It has change dramatically. There is a lot of consciousness and differing perception among civil society today of the ruling government and of political parties. People now have greater access to the media, where in the past the MSM ruled supreme. Today the alternative media is easily accessible, even to grandfathers and grandmothers. There is no denying this fact.
I am rather shocked to hear that the CDF has referred the former soldiers as traitors. This is uncalled for and with such a declaration; it merely nullifies the former soldiers past service record of loyalty, sacrifice and service to King and country. What I fear is that by referring to them as traitors merely on grounds that they were trying to reveal the truth may also hurt the feeling of other former soldiers. This is because the camaraderie among soldier is strong even after having long retired from the service and this is true among them. If indeed they were traitors, such a declaration I think can only be announced by the King in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
While I have my highest respect for the CDF and the service chiefs, they ought to be extremely careful and weary of making statements that can be seen to have a political undertone. Please confine statement to reflect the AF apolitical stand and not to be dragged into the ‘abuses of politics’. Cast away the poor example shown by the likes of the Deputy Chairman of the Election Commission that clearly shows he acted as a tool to his political masters. Please remember too that the AF is not subservient to politics, if it is to be respected.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION