Army voters angered by Mohamaddin's faux pax on Lahad Datu

Kow Gah Chie

Modified 22 Sep 2020, 7:51 am

SABAH POLLS | Army personnel are outraged over Warisan's Segama candidate Mohamaddin Ketapi's controversial remarks on the Lahad Datu intrusion.

A straw poll conducted by Malaysiakini at a naval base showed that many of them knew about the incident via social media.

When asked on the matter, one army officer declined to comment while another said he had not read about it.

However, another army man who spoke on condition of anonymity said many of his colleagues were angry when they learnt about the incident from social media.

"Many of us were deployed there (Lahad Datu) even though we did not play a major role. Back then, the news of security members being killed saddened us.

"As such, we are angry with such insensitive remarks (by Mohamaddin)," he said.

"This incident alone has made me change my view about a party (Warisan)," he added.

Another army personnel said Mohamaddin's comments were illogical, but despite this, the incident would not influence his vote as he would weigh all factors.

He said he would cast a ballot that would trigger a change for Sabah.

"This incident would be one of many factors that I would have to consider before I vote," he added.

Another officer shared that he would like to consider voting for a third force.

He also said that the former Pakatan Harapan tourism and culture minister was known for making controversial remarks.

A total of 2,317 navy personnel will be voting at the Kota Kinabalu Royal Malaysian Naval base at Sepanggar, Sabah today as early voters.

They are part of the 16,877 security forces personnel participating in early voting comprising 7,487 armed forces personnel and their spouses as well as 9,390 police personnel and their spouses.

Read more: Sabah Decides 2020: Making sense of the players, parties and battles

Security forces personnel who are on duty, meanwhile, will cast their ballots on polling day itself which is set for Sept 26.

In a short video clip which went viral early Monday, Mohamaddin had told voters while campaigning that the 2013 Lahad Datu incident was only a sandiwara (staged act) by the federal government then.

He claimed that the Umno-led government had done so to secure support from Sabahans in the 13th general election, which was conducted later the same year.

Mohamaddin had since apologised for his comment saying the short video clip of his remarks had been taken out of context.

Following his remarks, the former minister was bombarded with criticisms for allegedly insulting members of the security forces who fought and died in the battle.

Police, aided by the armed forces, had launched "Operation Daulat" in March 2013 in response to an intrusion by an armed group that dubbed itself the "Royal Sulu Army". The group wanted to claim Sabah as their territory.

The incident ended a month later, in early April. By then, 10 members of the security forces had been killed. The intruders suffered 65 casualties while over 100 others were arrested.

Mohamaddin had also claimed gays didn't exist in Malaysia, and said he was “too poor” to declare his assets when the then Harapan government made asset declaration compulsory as well as shot down a fellow coalition MP who raised concerns about child sexual abuse.

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