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Retired generals raring to do battle

 | April 7, 2013

The five generals who have joined Pakatan Rakyat want to bring about political change in the country.

TAIPING: Five retired generals who have joined Pakatan Rakyat are all ready to bring out their “firepower” to battle the Barisan Nasional government in the coming 13th general election.

The five are former deputy army chief Lt-Gen (R) Abdul Ghafir Abdul Hamid, former chief of logistics at headquarters air logistics Brig-Gen (Rtd) Abdul Hadi AlKhatab, former chief of staff logistics Navy fleet headquarters Rear-Admiral (Rtd) Imran Abdul Hamid, former director of the Army Corps of religion Brig-Gen (Rtd) Najmi Ahmad and chief of staff of army, Gen (Rtd) Md Hashim Hussein.

These retired generals, who feel the BN government has neglected the armed forces personnel, are hoping to bring about political change through the ballot box.

They will be contesting in parliamentary seats and are keen to debunk the public perception that the armed forces has always been supporting the BN in past general elections.

Both Ghafir and Hashim are slated to contest in the Johor constituencies of Pasir Gudang and Johor Baru respectively.

Imran and Hadi are likely to fight it out in the parliamentary seats of Lumut and Tanjung Malim, Perak, respectively while Najmi in Baling, Kedah.

Last week, FMT spoke to three of them: Hamid, Hadi and Imran, who had attended a PAS ceremah at Bukit Gantang here.

Hadi said that there was a public misconception that the armed forces was always supportive of the ruling BN government in previous polls.

He blamed this on the alleged postal rigging of the armed forces votes for prevailing wrong notion.

Democratic rights

Soldiers should be given the democratic right to cast their votes for whichever political party they chose, said Hadi who is also the former director-general of operation and training of the Royal Malaysians Air Force.

“There should be more transparency now for soldiers to vote according to their conscience,” he added.

“Now the armed forces wants to go for the change. We do not know what had happened to all the postal votes [in the previous elections],” he said.

“Now the military votes will be going to Pakatan as the soldiers want changes in their lifestyle and improvement in their standard of living after decades of BN rule.”

“The votes of the soldiers will go to [PKR de facto leader] Anwar [Ibrahim] as they have expressed their view that it’s time for change for a better life in the [armed forces],” he said.

However, Hadi was quick to point out that the five generals were not against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the sultans.

Rather, he said the armed forces is against the alleged rampant corruption of the Umno-BN and its cronies.

He cited the many closed tender projects that were given to Umno cronies who had wasted public funds.

He also took a swipe at former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for allegedly enriching his son and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for allegedly enriching his brother Nasir Abdul Razak through various projects.

“We want to have a system that is answerable to the public and Najib is now frightened of the rising people’s power,” he said.

Military purchases

Ghafir claimed that military purchases made through open tenders are of higher quality than those bought through closed tenders.

He added that the current system of ordering expensive spare parts for military hardware overseas is a waste of public funds.

He also took a dig at the BN government’s slow response to the Sulu incursion into Lahad Datu, Sabah, which had resulted in unnecessary loss of lives of Malaysian security forces.

He said the government had made a mistake of sending in the police instead of the military force to contain this explosive situation.

Ghafir also called on the Election Commission (EC) to closely monitor the postal votes that may be manipulated to favour one political party.

Meanwhile, Imran said opposition law-makers were not given their annual allocations to serve their constituencies efficiently.

He also urged the voters to fight the phantom voters that have allegedly increased in many states including Selangor.

“Phantom voters are robbing us of our [democratic] rights [in choosing the government of our choice],” he said.

He said Umno-BN had been constantly harping on race and religion to keep society divided to ensure their continuous rule for the past 55 years.

Imran alleged that Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian are the political weapons of Umno to brainwash the rural folks to blindly support the ruling party.

He warned that if BN is returned to power, the country will suffer.


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