The Armed Forces chief General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin has got it all wrong
when he hit out against former military personnel for exposing electoral
fraud in past general elections in the manipulation of postal votes as an
act of betrayal and questioned their loyalty to the armed forces.
In actual fact, the ex-military personnel who come forward to expose
postal vote fraud are the true patriots who love the army and the country
as they want to see the army continue to be held in the highest esteem by
all sectors of society and the country restored to the right track of a
healthy democratic nation.
Zulkifeli’s rhetorical question “How can we be loyal to you if you are
disloyal to us” is not only misplaced but is the classic example of how
far the public service, of which the armed forces are part, have deviated
from its proper non-partisan and professional role.
The object of loyalty of all Malaysians, whether individuals, groups or
public servants including armed forces must be to the country and the
Yang di Pertuan Agong and no other as it is not only wrong, but a great
national disservice to indoctrinate anyone including public servants and
the armed forces to be more loyal to Umno than to the country or to
equate loyalty to Umno as loyalty to the country.
The four ex-servicemen, Major (Rtd) Risman Mastor, Kamarulzaman Ibrahim,
Mohamed Nasir Ahmad and Mohd Kamil Omar who have come forward to admit
that they had been ordered by their commanding officers to mark postal
votes from hundreds and thousands of personnel who were out of the field
in three separate general elections between 1978 and 1999 should be
commended for their public spiritedness and great sense of patriotism
instead of being castigated as “traitors”.
What the four ex-servicemen revealed has not come as a surprise to the
Malaysian public as such electoral malpractices with regard to postal
ballots is an open secret for decades.
These exposes of postal ballot frauds in previous general elections are
not attacks on the integrity, competence and loyalty of the armed forces
but patriotic efforts to remove flaws and abuses in the postal ballot
system to ensure that every military personnel can freely vote for the
candidate of his or her choice in elections.
What Zulkifeli should have done is take effective measures to eradicate
these electoral flaws and abuses as for instance allowing candidates to
send polling agents into military establishments to supervise the postal
ballot voting process instead of making emotional and baseless attacks
questioning the loyalty of patriotic Malaysians who want to see a free,
fair and clean electoral system.