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Patriot: Decision to deploy military for MCO hasty and premature

20 Mar 2020 / 18:46 H.

PETALING JAYA: Military veterans group, the National Patriots Association (Patriot), said the decision made by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to deploy the military to assist the police in enforcing the movement control order (MCO) is hasty and premature at this moment.

Patriot president Brigadier General (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji (pix) said it appears that the defence minister is only too keen to deploy the military, contradicting an earlier statement made by the Chief of Defence Force that the military would not be deployed for the MCO.

“The Chief of Defence Force’s announcement would have been a decision made after consultaion with the three Service Chiefs – Army, Navy and Air Force. The defence minister must understand that he does not have the authority to deploy any unit of the armed forces, or make any reference to such an act. The authority lies solely with the respective Service Chiefs through a consensus being discussed and agreed upon by the Service Chief’s Council presided upon by the Chief of Defence Force,“ he said in a statement today.

He also said Patriot believe the police, being the authority to effect the order, have sufficient resources to control and manage the order effectively.

“The more than 130,000 personnel, and particularly from the Pasukan Gerakan Am (General Operational Force) that are currently positioned in different parts of the country, can be deployed for such task. Patriot is confident that the police will professionally execute the task given. After all it is barely three days that the MCO has been gazetted and the police must be allowed to execute their task. The Defence Minister must have full trust and confidence in the ability of our police force who are experienced enough in dealing with internal security issues,“ he said.

He added that the prevailing situation relating to the government’s effort in controlling the spread of Covid 19 is sufficient.

“The pressing need is for the proper and effective communication to the masses on the need to stay put, no unnecessary traveling, and be discipline in practising social distancing. The people need to be made to understand such urgency for sacrifice during this two weeks. Patriot will do our part to help in communicating the necessity to limit movement through our own channels of communication,“ he said.

Patriot also urged the Defence Minister to be in constant consultation with the CDF and the Service Chiefs before making any announcement affecting the deployment of the military.

“A military deployment to maintain order has to be a last resort. The country has an effective and experienced police force that had proven itself to be one of the best in this region, if not the world,“

“It must also be remembered that should a military force be deployed, it will look bad in the eyes of the international community. We do not want the images of the country to look like a war zone,“ said Mohamed Arshad.

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