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Ex-army man: I was ‘ordered’ to vote BN

A former army clerk reveals how he was instructed
by his superiors to tick 900 ballots in favour
of the ruling coalition.
AMPANG: An ex-army personnel claimed that he was instructed by his superiors to vote for Barisan Nasional and admitted that postal votes are often subjected to abuse.

Nasir Ahmad, a former army clerk at the Sandakan military post in Sabah, made the revelation at a PAS Youth media briefing on electoral fraud here today.

In the 1987 general election, Nasir said he and a colleague were instructed to open a bag and tick some 900 postal ballots according to “my taste”, an implicit reference to BN.

“I took about 400 ballots while my friend Ayub Mat took the rest,” he added.

Nasir’s admission was among the many allegations made in the past by former army personnel who claimed to have followed similar instructions.

The ex-army man then said he had deep regrets about his actions but could not do anything as he was merely following orders.

Having retired, Nasir said that he was now free of fear.

“I took the rights of others (to vote). But as a soldier, I am only a yes man. Now that I am no longer in the army, no longer tied to the ruling government, I can speak out,” he added.

EC’s promises ring hollow

PAS election director Mohd Sany Hamzan said Nasir’s complaints had been highlighted since two years ago and the Election Commission had yet to address the issue despite several promises made.

“The system remains the same and is subject to abuse. Nothing has been done,” he said, adding that he had met with EC chief Abdul Aziz Yusof himself to convey his concerns.

PAS and its allies in Pakatan Rakyat had long accused BN and the EC of manipulating postal votes to favour the ruling government. The nation’s security forces are largely seen as reliable vote banks for BN.

The opposition bloc also raised the alarm over the drastic rise in postal voters throughout the country as it prepared to face a pivotal battle in the 13th national polls which is likely to be held early next year.

EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had said that national figures for registered postal voters from the armed forces were about 134,000, and for the police, about 80,000 in the last count.

Polls watchdog Bersih 2.0, which had now gained international recognition for its fight against election abuses, also called on the EC to look into claims of abuses in the postal vote system.

Both BN and EC denied any wrongdoing and cited Pakatan’s election gains in 2008 as proof.

The opposition bloc denied BN its two-thirds parliamentary majority and seized five states during the last election.

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