9th April 2018
PATRIOT SALUTES ARMED FORCES CHIEF FOR DECLARING ATM DOES NOT SIDE WITH ANY POLITICAL PARTY
Persatuan Patriot Kebangssan (Patriot) applauds the statement by Malaysian Armed Forces Chief, Tan Sri Raja Mohd Affandi for his statement made in Kuching on 10 Apr 18. The armed forces chief mentioned that the loyalty of Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) is to the King and country, and that the ATM does not side with any political party. Patriot salutes the Armed Forces Chief for his open declaration.
Patriot is appalled to hear the caretaker Minister of Defence Hishammuddin stating, “Do not try to trick ATM personnel and don’t try to mislead others with allegations (that ATM personnel side with only one party)” (Borneo Post online 10 Apr 18). Patriot does not fault the Armed Forces Chief for making the statement at the Mindef Officers’ Mess on 30 Mar 18 pledging loyalty to the government and the Prime Minister, as we believe he was merely following the narrative of the speech writer from Hishammuddin’s ministry.
Patriot has mentioned previously that voting and the ballot papers are a secret and it is impossible for anyone to trace which party or candidate one has voted for. The Election Commission chief has also made a statement to the effect. Now that the Armed Forces Chief has made the welcomed statement in Kuching, we implore him to immediately make a statement to the following effect, to allay fear, distrust and confusion among the armed forces personnel and the public:
1. All Armed Forces personnel and their family members are free to vote whomever they wish.
2. Persons entitled for postal/early voting should mark the ballot papers themselves, and that nobody should mark the ballot papers for them.
3. Any marking of ballot paper for others, with the exception of those physically challenged and authorised to do so, is an offence under the Election Offences Act 1954. The offender will also be seriously dealt with under the Armed Forces Act 1972.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President, Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan