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Friday, August 19, 2011

Four army officers give damning confession of electoral fraud

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:54 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Four former army officers have appeared in public in yet another damning exposure of the country's electoral system, this time in the management of the highly controversial 'postal votes' which have long been considered the Barisan Nasional's vote bank.
At a press conference yesterday organised by PAS Youth's Central Democracy Restoration and Mobilisation unit, the four said they were once instructed by their superiors to mark thousands of postal ballots on behalf of other officers and their spouses.
Mohamad Nasir Ahmad, 50, Kamarulzaman Ibrahim, 53, Major (R) Risman Mastor, 64 and Mohd Kamil Omar, 49, admitted that at that time, they were not feeling any guilt for their action, adding that they were not even interested in politics or elections.

Mohamad Nasir recalled how he marked more than 400 postal ballots in Sabah during the 1986 general election after being instructed by his superior.

“I was with the clerical department. I was on duty in Sabah for four years. Prior to that, I was serving Ministry of Defence and few other places. Although the instruction and task was given only once to me, I did it for the rest of my service in the army up to my retirement in 1998.

"Now I feel guilty,” said Nasir.

"My hand got sored"
Kamarulzaman, who retired in 1991, revealed how he had marked thousands of postal votes to a point that "my hand got sored" for three days.
He told of how he was instructed to carry out the task during general election in 1986, while in service at Terendak camp, Melaka as an administration officer.
“When marking the ballot papers, I had to use three different pens to avoid being detected. The total was a lot, like two bags, but I don’t remember the total, but for sure it was in thousands, until my hand got sored,” he said.

He added that the ballot papers covered the state and parliamentary constituencies.

“I had just followed instruction. Now, I realise what I did is wrong. So I am coming forward with my confession today so that everyone knows our election system is screwed up,” he told the press conference at the PAS headquarters yesterday.

For Risman, who served at Kampung Sawah camp, Port Dickson, his 'instruction' came during the 1978 general election.

“My friends were told to vote for BN. But to me, the instruction was different. I was told by my superior to vote for opposition as protest votes to the government.

"The reason was due to our anger at the low salaries compared to the teachers. We were sidelined, we fought for the country, some of us have lost legs, we struggled to defend the country, what did we get in return?” he said.

“Because of this dissatisfaction, the superior told me to vote for the opposition, although the total was just about 20 to 30 votes,” Risman, who retired in 1996, explained.

Meanwhile, Kamil of the Royal Malaysian Airforce (TUDM), explained that while he had been instructed to mark postal ballot papers, he had also witnessed his colleagues tasked with marking a few bags of ballot papers.

“We the army officers did not care much about politics and election. We never cared to know whether our election was clean or not, fair or otherwise. Now, through Bersih 2.0’s struggle, many army officers have realised this.

"Thank God for Bersih 2.0, or army officers will be in the dark about their rights in an election,” he stressed.

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