by Mohamed Arshad Raji
A video apparently showing a group of veterans of the Malaysian army commandos adorning the prestigious green berets while accompanying former Prime Minister Najib Razak in the ongoing campaign for the Johor state election is going viral in chat groups.
I wish to admonish that, as veterans of an elite national security force highly trained and disciplined to defend the nation, they must uphold principles and not let these be tarnished or tainted by political and vested interests.
It is most alarming that our veterans – and trained commandos, mind you – are seen on the Johor election’s campaign trail, seemingly throwing their support for a political party leader and MP whose appeal is pending, following a recent court ruling that he is guilty as charged.
Such an open display by trained and disciplined soldiers is – by any moral and ethical standard – improper, unusual and certainly unthinkable.
There can never be anything more degrading – and demoralising, to say the least – than to witness these veteran commandos from the nation’s elite special forces gathering in unison with a convicted criminal, who has been labelled in various local and foreign media reports as a “national embarrassment” and a “plundering idiot”.
Patriot has no issue if veteran groups participate in political campaigns as we are a democratic nation. In fact, even though we may be retired soldiers or ex-servicemen and women, we can and must play a constructive role as responsible citizens in the shaping of better political future for the nation and its stability.
But to be seen attired with any form of accoutrements recognisable to the Armed Forces at such political campaign circuits – more so when in the presence of an individual who has been convicted in court – is not only improper and distasteful but critically in serious breach of the honourable stature of the vocation and the reputable status of the Armed Forces.
Patriot would like to remind former members of the Armed Forces to uphold and be true to their pledge of defending the nation with a conscionable soul even though we may have retired from active duty.
It is paramount that as ex-soldiers we uphold the disciplined and rigorous training and military credos we were in benefit from, throughout our active service for the nation. The wearing of the prestigious, honourable and distinguished green berets at political campaigns must be condemned and stopped.
Retired Brigadier General Dato’ Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot)