Ex-servicemen salute armed forces chief for ‘we are apolitical’ statement

Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji reminds voters that voting and the ballot papers were secret and it was impossible for anyone to trace which party or candidate one had voted for.

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Patriots Association (Patriot) has applauded Malaysian Armed Forces chief General Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor for saying the armed forces is apolitical and loyal only to king and country.

“Patriot salutes the Armed Forces chief for his open declaration,” its president Brig Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji said in a statement today.

Arshad urged Raja Mohamed Affandi not to stop with the assurance but to follow up with another statement “to allay fear, distrust and confusion among the armed forces personnel and the public”.

He said, in the statement, the armed forces chief should clearly tell all armed forces personnel that they and their family members were free to vote whomever they wished.

Raja Affandi should also state clearly that persons entitled for postal/early voting should mark the ballot papers themselves, and that nobody should mark the ballot papers for them.

He should also tell his men that any marking of ballot paper for others, with the exception of those physically challenged and those authorised to do so, was an offence under the Election Offences Act 1954, and the offender would also be seriously dealt with under the Armed Forces Act 1972.

In Kuching yesterday, Raja Affandi had said the armed forces did not support any particular political party and that his troops were ready to serve the people and the government of the day.

On March 30, Raja Affandi had, in a speech, urged both his troops and the police to be grateful and loyal to the government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak as Najib had given special attention to the security forces’ needs.

Regarding this, Arshad said Patriot did not fault the armed forces chief for making that statement at the Mindef officers’ mess on March 30, pledging loyalty to the government and the prime minister.

Arshad reminded voters that voting and the ballot papers were secret and it was impossible for anyone to trace which party or candidate one had voted for, adding that even Election Commission chief Mohd Hashim Abdullah had said so.