Army vets against ex-colleague vacating seat for Anwar

Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah (left) and PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.

PETALING JAYA: The National Patriots Association (Patriot) today warned of a possible backlash from veterans if Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah is forced to vacate his seat to make way for Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by-election.

In a statement, Patriot president Brig-Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji said veterans had welcomed Danyal’s victory in the May 9 polls, hoping he would fill the void left by previous Lumut MP Mohamad Imran who, like Danyal, is also a first admiral.

“The PKR leadership must understand that the presence of armed forces veterans in Parliament is supported by thousands of veterans. These individuals are seen as their representatives, and a voice that they can rely upon in matters affecting veterans.”

If reports were true that Danyal would step down for Anwar, Arshad said, the group would view it as PKR’s disregard for veterans and a sign that the party did not appreciate the presence of a senior retired armed forces officer as a parliamentarian.

“Patriot feels strongly that Danyal should remain as MP to articulate issues pertaining to military matters and the welfare of veterans which are often left wanting.”

Party sources have indicated that Anwar, the incoming PKR president, will contest the Port Dickson seat in his bid to enter Parliament.

Danyal, a former naval officer, won the seat with 36,225 votes in the May 9 polls. He beat VS Mogan from Barisan Nasional (18,515 votes) and PAS’ Mahfuz Roslan (6,594 votes).

Arshad warned that asking Danyal to vacate his seat could result in protest votes against Anwar and negatively impact armed forces candidates in future elections.

“We understand that the decision to force-vacate any seat is an internal party matter,” he said.

However, he added that the people were feeling fatigued after the May 9 general election and the following three by-elections.

“If another by-election is really necessary, Patriot urges the PKR leadership to allow the Port Dickson seat to remain with the incumbent, and for Anwar to contest a seat elsewhere.”