Malaysian Election and Army votes

Malaysian Election and Army votes I
by drrafick

1. With the Bagan Pinang by-election just around the corner there have been concerns voiced by Pakatan Rakyat and the Rakyat as to whether there will be manipulations by Barisan with regards to the Army Postal votes . Nearly 5000 postal votes from the Army will make a difference to the results of the by-elections and being a former serviceman, I know that their concern is not without merit. Allow me to share my experience of going through 3 elections while I was serving in the Army.

2. Soldier’s votes are very important to Barisan as we all know that their numbers are significant when they are located in high concentration areas. I am not sure how many remembered that Najib won narrowly in Pekan during the General Election that took place after Anwar was sacked from UMNO. In that year, Najib the number of postal votes that came from the Army and Air Force base in Batu 9 and Batu 10 Kuantan made all the difference to him winning.

3. During the same GE, Anuar Musa lost the Ketereh seat because the airman at the Gong Kedak, which is located at the border of Kelantan and Terengganu, chose to abstain from voting. The camp is unique as it is located right at the border of Kelantan and Terengganu. They live in Terengganu and they go to work by crossing the road which brings them into Kelantan. They votes goes into Anuar Musa area in Kelantan. I remember when his wife complained to me that the soldiers were ungrateful for not voting BN.

4. In Bagan Pinang, the impact is significant as the Basic Army Training center is located there. At any one time there are easily a few thousand recruits and soldiers in the Camp. I am not quite sure where the electoral boundaries are but there are many other Army training centers along the famous PD beach road. Certainly there will be concerns by Pakatan Rakyat on the impact of these votes. Unfortunately their concern appears to be targeted at different matters.

5. PR is concern that the election will be rigged. They are concern about multiple votes from one person and they are also concern of Pakatan Rakyat’s accessibility accessible to the voters during campaigning. This would be their greatest mistake. I would say they should not be concern about the election being rigged or they not being able to campaign. They should be concern with soldiers being ordered to vote BN as well as the possibility that other people will be tasked with crossing the voting papers on behalf of the recruit and soldiers.

6. During the GE when Anwar was sacked, my voting rights were denied as the voting paper was not in TUDM Subang but was in Mindef. When I went to the voting center, I was told by the adjutant that my name is not in the list under Subang but was located in Mindef. I was given a number to call.

7. I remember calling them vigorously from morning and finally getting through at about 400pm. The Corporal that answered my call and confirmed that my voting papers were in Mindef. He said it would be difficult for me to go to Mindef and would probably not make it on time. He told me he could help me to cross the papers. I only need to tell him whom to vote. I told him not to do anything but my gut feeling is that someone had vote BN on my behalf.

8. In Bagan Pinang, PR biggest concern should not be about campaigning among the soldiers. They should be concern about how soldiers and recruits would be forewarned and will be ordered to vote certain individuals or certain symbols. Being recruits whose young brain and mind has been thrashed, they will follow orders. They would prefer to follow orders just to get a weekend pass or to avoid being forced to march with 40kg packs on their back.

9. I am not sure how PR wants to ensure that the recruits and soldier can vote without fear or favor. The soldiers will go and cast their papers under MAFREL and under Pakatan Rakyats agent’s nose but they will never be able to ensure that the soldiers are casting their votes on their own free will. If they expect any of the soldiers or recruits to change their mind based on campaign promises, I can say for sure that they are expecting a big surprise. The only way they can win is they know exactly how many soldiers are there in the camp and they need to find matching numbers among the civilians population to neutralize this numbers and then work triple hard to get the rest of the voters to vote for them. Other than that they need some serious divine intervention.

Malaysian Election and Army Votes II
by drrafick

1. A regular commentator on my blog sends me an email requesting me to provide more details on how the voting takes place among soldiers during election. I thought I would share it with some readers for the purpose of knowledge but I must qualify that the process that I am about to describe what was actually the process that I went through prior to leaving the Armed Forces 10 years ago. There might have been some changes since them which I am not privy to.

2. Soldier’s position in a camp or station is very dynamic. Some people go in and others go out. Soldiers are always posted in or posted out or they came in for temporary duties. Every time a soldier is posted in there will be movement orders and in would published in “Perbah II”. This publication is signed by the unit commander which basically sorts of confirmed that someone has been posted in or has been posted out.

3. The moment someone is registered on Perbah II, he is considered “a local resident of the camp” and he can vote. This is a secret document which only stays within the military circulation. It goes without saying that depending on who gave the orders and how the camp commander wants to play ball, Perbah II can always be backdated. Once published, the soldier can cast his vote. There are some ball careers or spineless officers in the Army that is willing to do this. I have seen enough to identify such a character. These are the kind of people that goes up the rank via the “express lane”.

4. It used to be that the entire election process is conducted by the Military themselves. It is being organized by a team set up under the OC Admin or the Adjutant. These two characters are very powerful influencing characters that can make a difference on whether election takes care neatly or otherwise.

5. They organized the place, the military verification officers, the schedule of voting and they control the ballot papers. The EC officers usually observe from a distant and usually do not interfere in the process. They would only receive the sealed bag once voting completes. I was told that since the last 2 GE, political parties agents are allowed to observe the voting process which was absent previously. As usual, the voting exercise is done few days earlier than the actual voting by the general public and while waiting for counting the soldiers ballot are kept in a safe place. In theory it is kept by EC. In practical sense, your guess is as good as mine.

6. Some people may be wondering when and how the votes can be manipulated. Firstly soldiers can be brought in and their names are published as unit member’s days before the election. Those who are brought normally have been screened and selected. They will be briefed and will be ordered wisely. They will be told that informed that the Army has ways to find out who they voted for. Indeed the system is not perfect. Post election, we could find out who the soldiers voted based on the serial numbers on the paper as well as the soldiers Bat C 10 No.

7. At the same time soft campaign is being done by those in the government. It is time for “Majlis gotong royong or Majlis perjumpaan dengan ADUN or Menteri. There will be good makan! Food is definitely better than the Armed Forces Messes ration. The soldiers will be advice gently to vote the right party. The serious side of advice is done by several officers.

8. Since the soldiers voted earlier than the general public, there is a long waiting time between the actual voting and the counting of their votes. These votes can be manipulated. The bags that contain the votes can disappears or be change. This is a serious concern that can actually change the result of an election.

9. Among the many factors that would affect the soldiers decision during voting is their mindset. As soldiers that are trained to follow orders and live in fear of their superiors, their mental state has been primed right up to the point they mark X on the paper.

10. The system is not perfect. It is open for manipulation by design. No serious effort is being taken by EC to ensure that soldiers voting exercise would be free from influence.

11. Maybe the EC should maintain a separate electoral rolls for soldiers and policeman which is updated quarterly and during a by election, the latest list is to be used. The election must be done outside their camps in public areas and managed accordingly by civilian volunteers under the eyes of the respective agents. Their votes must be counted on the same day and the result is announced to the agents as well as the public. The downside of this process outweighs the benefit of convincing the public that EC is truly fair and clean.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 12:11 pm


  2. #2 by Joshua on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 12:39 pm

    With or without army votes, the general elections of 35 years have been rigged heavily by the ex Chairman Tan Sri Rashid with Selfish Hideous Illegal Trapo or S.HIT had confirmed that.

    My Two High Court cases bear plenty of evidence of rigging in GE 2004 and GE 2008, and so what is there to say anything else.

    That is the illegal governments of all rottenness -Fed and State – to be replaced by IGGG to be helm by Joshua Kong without delay.

    pw: why propane

  3. #3 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 12:50 pm

    Why do the soldiers’ voting registrations follow them? Isn’t that – not only open to abuse – but also pointless bureaucracy? I would have thought it would be up to the soldier (or the soldier’s family) to keep up to date with elections in their home towns and to cast a postal vote whenever they are able to.

    Have I missed something? I would be quite willing to accept that the way armed forces voting is done in Malaysia is ‘special’, but I wonder if it’s special for a good reason. I can think of no good reason, only bad ones.

  4. #4 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 3:16 pm

    “I can think of no good reason, only bad ones.” (OrangRojak)

    The most obvious good reason from the viewpoint of BN is that postal votes are easy to manipulate by BN, through the pro-BN officers residing in the Election Commission!

    In fact, many MCA’s MPs, including Dato Dr Hou Kok Chung of Kluang Constituency and Dato Seri Ong Ka Ting of Kulai Constituency, won the election because of the Malay soldiers’ postal votes in favour of BN!

  5. #5 by taiking on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 5:46 pm

    Good reasons. There are none. Bad ones. Oh, full train loads of them. And are we surprised? No. For dat is umno and here is malaysia the place where even obama will fail to shine.

    It is a complicated problem like the author said. Soldiers are trained to take command from their officers and anyone higher up unquestioningly. Wot more if their are told that their ballot papers are coded and can easily be traced. And there is also that element of fear for physical punishment should they disobey orders.

    The obvious solution is to impose a prohibition against giving such orders to soldiers. But here in malaysia such prohibition even if it is in place will not be enforced. Its a sad sad situation.

  6. #6 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 6:44 pm

    The obvious solution
    Isn’t the obvious solution to make it none of the armed forces’ business how their members exercise their democratic right? Do all Malaysians have access to a postal / proxy vote, or is it a special arrangement for the armed forces?

    Here’s the UK page for armed forces voters – it seems they can vote by post or proxy, and choose where to register too:

    I would have thought on a personal level, armed forces personnel would care more about their home town’s politics than they would about the area they’re posted in. It would be interesting to hear the views of anybody currently serving or recently finished.

  7. #7 by newchief on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:16 pm

    bn has learned from last election that they had been betrayed by postal voters against them. i wonder what had really happend to these bold soldiers who believe in democracy.

    this time around under a new general (najib), things will change and umno has already ‘threaten’ the postal voters not to be ungrateful to them AGAIN!!!

    as for pk and the whole of m’sia, let’s just hope there are still bold soldiers around .

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 10:52 pm

    Why do soldiers (and maybe the police) have to vote days in advance? Not all of them will be required for duty on polling day. Surely arrangements can be made for them to vote at the same time as the general public.

    And it is not fair for the army and police to have their own in-house and one-sided ceramahs. All the candidates should have equal access to these voters.

  9. #9 by GreenBug on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 11:18 pm

    Not to worry about the postal votes at Bagan Pinang, not all will be for BN. Only 4,988 votes will be for BN candidate and 12 for Pakatan candidate. Then only will it look like there in “independence” in the soldiers voting.

  10. #10 by Loh on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 10:05 am

    sheriff singh :Why do soldiers (and maybe the police) have to vote days in advance? Not all of them will be required for duty on polling day. Surely arrangements can be made for them to vote at the same time as the general public.
    And it is not fair for the army and police to have their own in-house and one-sided ceramahs. All the candidates should have equal access to these voters.

    Yes, unless under emegency condition, police and armed forces staff should vote just like the ordinary citizens.

    In the 2004 Presidential election in Taiwan when Chen Sui Bian staged his own assasination attempt, the 200,000 strong armed forces staff were denied the right to vote when he declared emergency. The forces were for Komintang, and Chen won by less than the 200,000 votes.

  11. #11 by katdog on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 8:50 pm

    Here’s some to add some interesting facts regarding postal votes.

    “Registration of voters for Malaysians abroad is divided into two categories:

    o POSTAL VOTERS/ABSENT VOTERS consisting of:
    ·Armed forces that are in service.
    ·Government Personnel (Federal Government, States Service or local authorities) who are in service abroad.
    ·Individuals studying full time abroad (only if they are sponsored by the Government).
    ·Spouses to the list above.

    · Comprising of Malaysian Citizens other than stated above.

    When the time comes for election, normal voters need to return to Malaysia to cast their votes based on the area they have registered in.”

    A Malaysian citzen who happens to be abroad doesn’t even have the right to vote by post. But amazingly civil servants and those on scholarship sponsored by the govt ok for postal votes?

    Even Indonesia has postal voting for their citizens abroad. Hundreds of Indonesians in Malaysia voted at the Indonesian embassy in the recent Indonesian elections. Indonesia can do it but Malaysia cannot?

    Malaysia is truly worse than even Indonesia today.

  12. #12 by GreenBug on Thursday, 24 September 2009 - 1:38 pm

    Hope UMNO brings along their secret weapon, EZAM, to Bagan Pinang this time, YB Kit… wakakaka!

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