Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Four more ex-soldiers admit to postal vote fraud

Postal vote manipulation has been a common practice in the military for many years - so it seems - now that more retired military personnel are speaking up.

Now, four ex-military personnel have confessed to committing election fraud - the same way an ex-army man said he did so earlier this month.

NONEThe four, who had served at army and air force bases across the country, say they marked thousands of postal votes in three separate general elections between 1978 and 1999.

The four - Major (Rtd) Risman Mastor (right), Kamarulzaman Ibrahim, Mohamed Nasir Ahmad and Mohd Kamil Omar - said they were ordered by their commanding officers to mark postal votes for the hundreds and thousands of personnel who were out in the field.

Their expose today is the second after an ex-army man came forward earlier this month, making a similar claim that he was ordered to mark postal votes for other personnel.
Kamarulzaman, who was a clerk working at the Terendak army camp in Malacca, said he was ordered to spend three days marking thousands of ballot papers during the 1986 general election.
The 53-year-old said he was given three pens of different colours, which he used alternately to sign the postal votes in the absence of the army personnel who were on their tour of duty.
“For example, I would use a blue pen to sign for one serviceman and a black pen to sign for his wife. I was also ordered to mark votes for the opposition,” he said at a press conference hosted at the PAS headquarters by the party's youth wing.
When asked how many postal votes he signed, Kamarulzaman said he could not remember the exact number but was sure that it ran into the thousands.
“If you want to say how many, let's just say my hand went numb (from signing the ballot papers). I basically voted for soldiers from all over the country.”
'It was the wrong thing to do'
Kamil, a retired Air Force commando based at the Butterworth Air Force base, claimed he was offered a “reward” if he complied with the order to mark a box full of postal votes during the 1999 general election.
The 21-year veteran however refused to carry out the order, saying that he realised it was not right for him to mark ballots for his colleagues.
“They gave me a box, and expected me to mark all the ballots in 30 minutes. I realised it was wrong,” said the 49-year-old, adding that he has no idea what the “reward” was since he did not carry out the order.
Nasir, 50, who was a clerk based in Sandakan during the 1986 general election, said he and another colleague were told to split over 900 postal votes between them to be marked on behalf of their fellow soldiers.
He pointed out that being in the military, orders are orders and that soldiers were “not too bothered” about politics.
“Even after retirement, we didn't care so much about politics. But when Bersih came about, we started to realise that what we did was not right,” he said.
Risman stressed that this practice went as far back as the 1978 general election, when he and nine others were ordered to go through around 200 sacks - each containing 10 postal votes - during his time at the Kampung Sawah army camp in Port Dickson.
“I did it just that one time... I don't remember the figures but I believe there were about 10 (ballots) in each sack. In effect there were just 10 of us actually voting,” he said.

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