.KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 – There seems to be little danger of army personnel not voting for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the upcoming Port Dickson parliamentary by-election.
This is because soldiers seem to be quite independent, more so after the outcome of the 14th general election (GE14). They are speaking up about making their own minds up, instead of listening to political parties or ex-army personnel.
The Malaysian Insight reported on how several soldiers it spoke to bluntly said the armed forces veterans group, National Patriots Association, does not speak for them.
This followed the warning from Patriots president Brig Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji to Anwar that his move to get himself into the Dewan Rakyat by forcing a retired naval officer Danyal Rajagopal Abdullah to quit the Port Dickson seat would lose him support from voters stationed in Port Dickson.
Raji went so far as to say that military personnel voters in the constituency voted for PKR because of their fellow comrade in arms being the candidate, and that they had also supported him financially in his election campaign.
According to the news portal, some older soldiers consider the by-election to be a waste of money and time. At the same time younger army personnel are excited at the prospect of Anwar returning to Parliament.
One and all, however, are in agreement when it comes to rejecting Patriots as their spokesman. “Patriot does not represent the entire military. They should not speak for us,” they responded, according to TMI.
Not justified for Danyal to quit Port Dickson
One officer expressed his disappointment with the move engineered by PKR for the sake of Anwar becoming an MP again.
“It is not right. It is not right for the MP to give up his seat, simply because the people had voted him in,” said the officer, who wished to remain anonymous.
Another officer who also declined to be identified told TMI: “Putting Anwar here so that he can be prime minister is not a good enough reason for Danyal to give up his seat.”
“Anwar will definitely win but by a narrow margin because the voters will not come out to vote.”
He added that it was simply not justified to call for a by-election because there was nothing wrong with Danyal.
It would seem that a by-election is of no consequence for these older military personnel. This is because GE14 has been done and dusted with the people getting the result desired.
Young soldiers for Anwar?
The view is different from younger soldiers in Port Dickson however,.
One soldier TMI spoke to said it would be the first time he was voting in Port Dickson as he was in Sarawak previously.
“I see my younger friends are impatient for Anwar to contest again. Who does not know Anwar? The young soldiers want Anwar to rise (to the prime minister’s office),” the 32-year-old Amran was quoted as saying.
He however, called for Anwar to ensure there was development and resources allocated to Port Dickson and not use it merely as a stepping stone to greater power and neglect it thereafter.
“Develop Port Dickson so that it can be another huge tourist destination, like Dr Mahathir did for Langkawi,” Amran said.
Mixed demographic of voters
According to statistics by the Election Commission, soldiers represent a large chunk of early voters in Port Dickson with more than 7,084 votes.
Prior to the redelineation exercise passed in Parliament earlier this year, the constituency was known as Teluk Kemang. It has 75,212 voters comprising a mixed voter demographic with Malays at 42%, Chinese 33%, and Indians 22%.
Danyal won the seat in GE14 by 36,225 votes beating Barisan Nasional’s V. Mogan and Mahfuz Roslan from PAS.