Recently Kluang Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong slammed Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein for denying that an army camp was being built in Paloh, a state seat in the latter’s constituency of Sembrong. Liew Chin Tong implied that the army camp is being built for political purposes.
“This proves that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using these army camps to increase voters in constituencies that it won with thin majorities in the 13th general election,” Liew told a press conference last week.
He said the inclusion of the army personnel in Paloh would increase the electorate by over 1,000 voters.
“In Paloh, DAP lost only by a few hundred votes and these new voters will result in another BN win,” he added.
The fact is that while members of the Malaysian Armed Forces swears its allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, His Majesty’s Government (the Government-of-the-Day), and the Country, each member of the Malaysian Armed Forces are free to vote for whom they are politically-inclined to support. Therefore, having a military camp/base does not guarantee you any solid support for votes. I had written at length on this issue of allegiance in a recent blog post.
Perhaps it would be good for Liew Chin Tong to admit that he won Kluang against the Barisan Nasional in 2013 because of the presence of a huge army camp, namely Kem Mahkota, that houses the 61st Royal Artillery Regiment as well as the 881st Regiment, Malaysian Army Aviation.
Come to think of it, out of the 89 Parliamentary seats won by the then-Pakatan Rakyat during the 13th General Elections four years ago, at least 18 parliamentary constituencies have major military camps/bases in them. That is 20 percent of the total of parliamentary consituencies held by the Pakatan candidates. Here is the list that I have compiled:
Let us take for example the Lumut Naval Base which is under PKR. That base alone had 14,231 registered voters while PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won 40,308 votes. Why didn’t Barisan Nasional win there?
Perhaps Liew Chin Tong should also inform all Malaysians that out of the 18 constituencies with major military camps/bases that was won by the Pakatan back in 2013, eight seats were won by the DAP. That is 44 percent! Despite being the other “Malay” party within the Pakatan, PKR managed only seven seats or 38 percent. PAS could only get three then but one of those seats, Shah Alam, is now firmly under Khalid Samad of Amanah after he betrayed his oath to remain in PAS if nominated as a candidate and would divorce his wife if he jumps ship. Shah Alam is the home of a major Royal Malaysian Air Force base – Subang.
Pakatan and its supporters should just stop politicising the Malaysian Armed Forces. As towns and cities are developed, old camps and bases are no longer strategic nor conducive to be inhabited. How could Pakatan, advertising that it is all for rights and stuff, allow military personnel to live and work in deplorable and antiquated conditions? And as development creep into their surrounding areas, military bases are no longer of any strategic value. I have addressed this issue in a posting of mine and so has my friend Danny Liew in his recent posting.
So, wouldn’t DAP now like to offer a piece of land in constituencies held by it for Hishammuddin to build military bases or camps?