Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Retired top army general joins PKR: I find the Opposition more sincere

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 18:25
Retired top army general joins PKR: I find the Opposition more sincere

PETALING JAYA― PKR announced today the admission of former army chief General Tan Sri Md Hashim Hussein, adding to its list of recent ex-military recruits seen as crucial in its bid to woo the support of armed forces personnel ahead of Election 2013.
The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) anchor party said recently it had set its sights on some 250,000 voters living in police barracks and military camps nationwide, hoping to capitalise on the influence of former military leaders who have joined its ranks.
“In my opinion, PR is more sincere and honest,” Md Hashim, the Malaysian Army’s 18th commander in chief, told a press conference at the PKR headquarters here when asked about his joining.
He was flanked by the party’s de facto leader and PR chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also a close friend from their student day at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK).
Md Hashim added that among the major factors that had moved him to join the opposition was the allegedly widespread corruption within the army, an oft-repeated accusation made by other retired army generals now members of opposition parties.
“If you look at the infrastructures belonging to the army, they are pathetic,” he said, adding that equipment supplied to the army was often inferior, which he blamed on corruption.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali told The Malaysian Insider recently that the party aims to capitalise on the clout of these decorated officers to “educate” the military on issues that affect their livelihoods, such as the recent use of the Armed Forces Pension Fund (LTAT) to buy out a firm belonging to carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan and Wanita Umno’s Raja Datuk Ropiaah Abdullah.
Top of the list of recent ex-military recruits is Royal Malaysian Air Force Brigadier-General (Rtd) Datuk Abdul Hadi Abdul Khattab, who joined the party in November 2011 and currently sits as PKR’s security committee chairman.
The party’s campaign for army votes, however, could be hampered by the Elections Commission’s recent announcement that parties are prohibited from canvassing in military camps and police barracks during Election 2013 due to their “security zone” status.
Barisan Nasional leaders still consider the armed forces and police a key vote bank for the coalition, citing the ruling government’s policies that have benefited the security forces. -

Wednesday, 06 March 2013 18:15
Filipino authorities foil attempts to reinforce Sulu intruder

The Philippine media have confirmed that there were attempts by Filipinos to sail to Sabah to reinforce the Sulu intruders, but that they have sincebeen blocked by the Philippine police.
"That is the order from higher headquarters to prevent them from going there," Tawi-Tawi provincial police director Joselito Salido told The Philippine Star.
He claimed about 67 of the sultanate's followers had arrived in Bongao in preparation for a sea journey to Sabah, but had been advised not to pursue their plans.
Bongao is a town in the province of Tawi-Tawi, Philippines. It is located some 150km east of Lahad Datu.
"We negotiated and talked with them to reconsider their plans as this will only contribute to the problem," Salido said.
He added that the men came from Basilan and Sulu, and were unarmed. He stressed that the situation in Bongao was calm.
On the other hand,, the online news portal of Philippine TV channel TV5, reported that self-proclaimed Sulu sultan Jamalul Kiram  said he cannot stop anyone from going to Sabah to reinforce his followers there.
Interviewed in his home at Maharlika Village, Taguig City, Jamalul said it was not only members of the Tausug tribe - to which he belongs - but also Yakan and Sama who want to go to Sabah if they had the chance.
"We cannot stop them," he said.
When asked if he himself would send more of his followers to Sabah, Kiram said: "Our companions there are enough. They did not go there to fight, but to settle down. You know how hard it is in the Philippines. Most of them are fishermen, while others are farmers."
Jamalul claimed that last night he had spoken to his brother Azzimudie Kiram, who is leading the armed group at Lahad Datu, and was told that Azzimudie's followers in Sabah were unscathed by the massive assault mounted by Malaysian forces on Tanduo village yesterday.
According to, Jamalul also slammed Kuala Lumpur for labelling his followers at Lahad Datu as "terrorists".
The sultan's daughter, Jacel Kiram, said that the labelling is meant to prevent international intervention in Sabah. -