G-men or grumpy old men in a free country

Government men, past or present, are rallying against the Barisan Nasional this time around.

By Syed Nadzri Syed Harun, FMT

Other than the mindless name-calling in cyberspace, one of the surest indicators that democracy is alive and kicking in Malaysia is the number of prominent G-men openly declaring their spunky support for the opposite side in this general election (GE).

G-men could also mean “grumpy” old fellas not happy with everything in post-retirement life. But for the purpose of this story in the thick of GE frenzy, the expression is restricted to the straightforward modern slang for “government men” past or present. And that makes “opposite side” mentioned above as referring appropriately to non-Barisan Nasional parties.

Of course the world already knows about the biggest G-man turning over in Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister and big shot in the BN government.

He has trained his guns on BN for many years now.

But the streak of former disciplined G-men of the security forces distinctly rallying against BN this time around is quite mind-blowing.

Top of the list are retired generals and police commissioners no less, which shows that, contrary to what some people would like to believe, this is indeed a free country.

Movie star Michelle Yeoh was within this realm when she declared her open support for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak a week ago. What was wrong with that? But she touched a raw nerve in some people.

At least six retired generals have joined Pakatan Rakyat either through PAS or PKR – former deputy army chief Lt Gen (Rtd) Abdul Ghafir Abdul Hamid, former chief of air logistics Brig-Gen (Rtd) Abdul Hadi Al-Khatab, former chief of staff logistics Navy fleet headquarters Rear Admiral (Rtd) Imran Abdul Hamid, former director of the Army Corps of religion Brig-Gen (Rtd) Najmi Ahmad, former chief of staff of the army Gen (Rtd) Md Hashim Hussein and former vice-chancellor of the National Defence University Lt Gen (Rtd) Ismail Samion.

Ghafir and Hashim (both PKR) are placed to bring firepower to Pakatan’s serious effort to wrest Johor. They are fielded in parliamentary constituencies of Pasir Gudang and Johor Baru respectively.

Imran and Hadi (both PKR) are fielded in Perak in the parliamentary seat of Lumut and Behrang state seat respectively while Najmi (PAS) in Baling, Kedah. Ismail, a mechanical engineer by training, officially joined PAS last Thursday.

Cause for concern

On the police side, there is former federal criminal investigation director Fauzi Shaari standing as a PAS candidate in the Larut parliamentary constituency. Former federal commercial crimes director Ramli Yusoff is also said to be a strong supporter of PAS and at one time he was even considered to be a candidate in Pasir Mas to fight controversial Ibrahim Ali, a pro-BN independent.