By Muhammad Arshad Raji

It surprised me to see a picture of the BN candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election, Isa Samad being received by a group of Army Officers in what was reported to be a meeting of Isa Samad with members of the Armed Forces Employee Union, and the Negeri Sembilan Defence Ministry Staff Club at Port Dickson recently. The photo appeared in the Sun tabloid dated October 6, 2009.

I am appalled at what I saw, and several questions comes to mind. Firstly, in what capacity is Isa Samad meeting the civilian employees of the Defence Ministry in Port Dickson? Secondly, what has the Army Officers got to do with the meeting, knowing full well that Isa Samad is merely a candidate for the by-election, and does not hold any official position in government nor in the party. Thirdly, don’t Isa Samad knows that he has no right to get into a military camp to campaign, and if he wants to meet the civilian employees of the Defence Ministry (for whatever reason), it has to be done outside the confines of a military camp? Fourthly, whoever was the army officer that had instructed his subordinate officers to receive Isa Samad, knowing full well that it is going to be an election campaign, is deemed to have acted partisan in favour of the BN candidate. Had I been the superior officer in the camp, I would have sacked the officer.

Now my question to Isa Samad is this; what if the opposition candidate decides to do the same as what you did? Will you cause a furore or will you say that the opposition candidate has every right to do the same? I doubt very much that Isa Samad will agree with the latter. And even if Isa Samad does not say anything, I am quite sure that the Election Commission will be jumping sky high to claim that the opposition candidate had violated the rules governing election campaigning. For this, the opposition candidate will be disqualified to stand for the election.