Four more ex-soldiers admit to postal vote fraud
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Four ex-military personnel have confessed to committing election fraud - the same way an ex-army man said he did so earlier this month.
The four, who had served at army and air force bases across the country, say they marked thousands of postal votes in three separate general elections between 1978 and 1999.
- Major (Rtd) Risman Mastor ,
- Kamarulzaman Ibrahim,
- Mohamed Nasir Ahmad and
- Mohd Kamil Omar .
They said they were ordered by their commanding officers to mark postal votes for the hundreds and thousands of personnel who were out in the field.
Their expose today is the second after an ex-army man came forward earlier this month, making a similar claim that he was ordered to mark postal votes for other personnel.
Kamarulzaman, who was a clerk working at the Terendak army camp in Malacca, said he was ordered to spend three days marking thousands of ballot papers during the 1986 general election.
The 53-year-old said he was given three pens of different colours, which he used alternately to sign the postal votes in the absence of the army personnel who were on their tour of duty.
“For example, I would use a blue pen to sign for one serviceman and a black pen to sign for his wife. I was also ordered to mark votes for the opposition,” he said at a press conference hosted at the PAS headquarters by the party's youth wing.
When asked how many postal votes he signed, Kamarulzaman said he could not remember the exact number but was sure that it ran into the thousands.
“If you want to say how many, let's just say my hand went numb (from signing the ballot papers). I basically voted for soldiers from all over the country.”
Kamil, a retired Air Force commando based at the Butterworth Air Force base, claimed he was offered a “reward” if he complied with the order to mark a box full of postal votes during the 1999 general election.
The 21-year veteran however refused to carry out the order, saying that he realised it was not right for him to mark ballots for his colleagues.
“They gave me a box, and expected me to mark all the ballots in 30 minutes. I realised it was wrong,” said the 49-year-old, adding that he has no idea what the “reward” was since he did not carry out the order.
Nasir, 50, who was a clerk based in Sandakan during the 1986 general election, said he and another colleague were told to split over 900 postal votes between them to be marked on behalf of their fellow soldiers.
He pointed out that being in the military, orders are orders and that soldiers were “not too bothered” about politics.
“Even after retirement, we didn't care so much about politics. But when Bersih came about, we started to realise that what we did was not right,” he said.
Risman stressed that this practice went as far back as the 1978 general election, when he and nine others were ordered to go through around 200 sacks - each containing 10 postal votes - during his time at the Kampung Sawah army camp in Port Dickson.
“I did it just that one time... I don't remember the figures but I believe there were about 10 (ballots) in each sack. In effect there were just 10 of us actually voting,” he said.
Army Denies Allegation of Fraud of Postal Voting by the Military
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Armed Forces chief General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin today described those claiming that its rank-and-file had been involved in electoral fraud as an act of betrayal.
In an emotional statement issued this afternoon, Zulkifeli slammed those making the allegations and questioned their “loyalty” to the Armed Forces of Malaysia (ATM).
“The actions can be interpreted as treachery and it should stop immediately. The ATM is the nation's wall of defence that should be supported by all levels of the people, regardless of ethnicity, religion and political position...Yesterday, four ex-military personnel confessed to committing election fraud at a press conference organised by opposition party PAS.
“It is hoped that the ATM is not made a scapegoat by those seeking to advance their own interests... the people should show their support and appreciation for the contributions of the ATM.In this context: 'How can we be loyal to you if you are disloyal to us'?"
The four - Major (Rtd) Risman Mastor, Kamarulzaman Ibrahim, Mohamed Nasir Ahmad and Mohd Kamil Omar - said they had marked thousands of postal votes in three separate general elections between 1978 and 1999.
According to the four, they were ordered by their commanding officers to mark postal votes for the hundreds and thousands of personnel who were out in the field.
Their expose yesterday was the second after an ex-army man came forward earlier this month, making a similar claim that he was ordered to mark postal votes for other military personnel.
Zulkifeli countered the allegations, stressing that the Armed Forces has always respected the freedom of its troops to cast their votes, as enshrined under the Elections Act 1958 and section 16 of the Election Regulations (Postal Votes) 2003.
“The Armed Forces denies that there is any manipulation as claimed,” he said in a written statement, issued to the media at today's press conference.
“The voting process carried out by the Armed Forces is clean, transparent and professional without any interference by all levels of the Armed Forces' leadership.”
Zulkifeli also accused “irresponsible parties” of trying to sully the Armed Forces' image by “poisoning the minds of the rakyat and erode their trust and support” in the Armed Forces – which he described as “apolitical”.
In what appears to be an indirect attack on the opposition – which has been highlighting several allegedly dubious arms acquisitions by the country – he claimed that there have been clear efforts to leak out military secrets and to spread false information regarding the efficacy and capabilities of the Armed Forces' weapons systems.
“Such actions will not only expose military secrets to interested parties who want to know the Armed Forces capabilities, but even worse, it has shaken the confidence of Armed Forces personnel,” he said.
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