Malaysiakini Letter

Dr M's letter to police, armed forces was pivotal in securing GE victory

Richard KH Teo  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Many reasons were given by political analysts on how and why the 14th General Election was won but none really identified the real reason how it was won.

Some attributed the win to a Malay tsunami while some attributed it to the rural Felda votes but none attributed it to the postal voters of the navy and police personnel, and to some extent, the army personnel.

The winning move that partly turned the tide in Pakatan's favour was the last-minute letter written by Dr Mahathir to the navy, police and army personnel, telling them that they were free to vote for any party and that their votes were secret.

Navy chief Admiral Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin issued a statement to his staff was that they should vote without fear or favour and that their sacred votes were secret.

Then Inspector-General of Police Fuzi Harun followed suit, telling his staff that they were at liberty to vote for any party they wished, without fear of their choices being revealed.

No statement came from the army chief and that partly explains the lack of support from army personnel.

At the Lumut constituency, a parachute candidate from Kelantan managed to defeat Zambry Abdul Kadir, the Menteri Besar of Perak, by a slim margin of 400 votes. Zambry had been confident of victory because of the presence of the navy base in Lumut. Despite the area’s sizeable presence of navy personnel, Zambry lost to Mohd Hatta Ramli, newbie from Amanah who had no presence in Lumut. This confirms that considerable support from navy staffers for Pakatan Harapan resulted in the victory for Hatta.

Similarly, the Lembah Pantai seat was won by Fahmi Fadzil, a newbie candidate from PKR. Nuruh Izzah Anwar had previously won the seat by a slim margin and this time around, the constituency was redelineated to include Bukit Aman in order to give Barisan Nasional candidate Raja Nong Chik the advantage of potential votes from 6,000 police personnel. But Fahmi's 5,000 vote-majority win candidate clearly shows the move to include additional police voters was not advantageous for BN.

The lack of a statement from the army chief Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor produced a different effect in two constituencies with a heavy concentration of army voters.

Sembrong (Johor) and Bagan Datuk (Perak) were contested by two heavyweights, Hishammuddin Hussein and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, respectively. Possibly due to the presence of army voters, both managed to secure easy victories.

The army chief’s initial statement that the army should be loyal to the government and the prime minister received immediate criticism from several parties, especially from Mahathir, who asserted that the army should be loyal to the king and country.

From the above analysis, it is quite obvious that Mahathir’s master stroke in writing that letter to the armed forces and police was pivotal in securing Harapan’s victory.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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