'I know why [they have opted to go across],' says the prime minister, apparently referring to several retired army officers who crossed over to the opposition.
The prime minister said that even if a person had lost everything, people would still respect him or her because of the principle of loyalty.
“Maybe two or three may have gone astray to become opposition candidates, but the majority is with us. I know who are to be fielded [in the general election] on the other side. I know their background and I know why [they have opted to go across]. Actually, they have problems. Everyone in Mindef [Ministry of Defence] knows,” he said in an apparent reference to several retired senior army officers who may be fielded as opposition candidates in the coming general election.
“The Westerners say you come to the office with honour and dignity and you leave the office with honour and dignity.
“Honour and dignity cannot be bought even if people promise all sorts of things. Respect accorded to us by the people cannot be bought; that is why we must have principles in our struggle, we must safeguard our honour,” he said when addressing a get-together of government retirees at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), here.
Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa, Public Service Department (PSD) director-general Mohamad Zabidi Zainal, Putrajaya Corporation president and president of the Senior Government Retirees Umno Club Aseh Che Mat were also present at the event.
More than 3,000 retirees, comprising those from the military, police, Prisons Department and Immigration Department from all over the country, attended the event. There are about 700,000 retirees in the country.
Najib said retirees, as experienced and knowledgeable individuals, would better understand that the future of the country could not be gambled away or experimented with.
“If we make the wrong choice, we will suffer, and not only us but also our children and grandchildren. This does not mean that it is mandatory for us to support the government, but we want to support because it is the best choice,” he said.
Najib said the opposition could not be trusted because of its inconsistent talk and direction. For example, he said, it had proposed auctioning off Putrajaya at one time but now coveted the federal government administrative centre.
“Inconsistency in direction can lead to chaos in the national administration,” he said.
Najib said that if the Barisan Nasional helmed by him was returned with a huge majority, the country would achieve more success and the deeds of the retirees would not be forgotten.
He said the current minimum two percent annual increment in pension enjoyed by retirees could be raised depending on the financial capability of the government.
“Rest assured. If you support the government of today, we will chart more success. I will work even harder. I give the undertaking to work wholeheartedly with all my strength,” he said.