Army Will Not Meddle In Politics, Says Gen. Abdul Aziz Zainal
Unlike in some other Asian countries, such as Thailand or the Philippines, the military plays no political role in Malaysia and there has never been a coup attempt in the country, which has seen 50 years of unbroken civilian rule.
Gen. Abdul Aziz Zainal, speaking ahead of his forces' 75th anniversary on Sept. 16, said the military would only act if co-opted by the police to maintain internal security.
Aziz, who earlier this week broke military protocol by asking the government to act against anyone who incited racial hatred, said the more than 100,000-strong military would remain apolitical.
Asked on whether the military would work with an Anwar Ibrahim-led government if the opposition comes to power by its self-imposed Sept. 16 deadline, Aziz said: "I don't know about change of government, you are only speculating. As far as I'm concerned, the present government is in power.
"We will keep to our primary role that is to defend the nation against any form of external threats. There is no intention whatsoever to interfere with political affairs of the nation," the 57-year-old Aziz said.
Opposition leader Anwar has to win the defection of 30 government MPs to have a majority in the 222-strong Malaysian parliament. At present his opposition coalition has 82 seats.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition this week sent around 50 of its MPs on a study trip to Taiwan, a move that Anwar said was aimed at preventing him from convincing them to switch sides. (Interactive Investor, UK)
***** It is timely that the Armed Forces Chief of Defence Gen. Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Hj Zainal has come out with this statement. Over the past few days he had been taken to task by commentators and political parties including PAS for straying into the political arena where he does not belong.
One blogger bluntly wrote that the 'Army has no business to butt in the affairs of government. Your job is to defend the nation against the real enemies of state. It is sacred duty to stay in your barracks, not let the army to be used by politicians in power to suppress democratic dissent and stifle freedom'. It looks like the General has taken heed of such comments and thus clarified matters today. Good for him.
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