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Monday, December 25, 2017

Camps and Elections - Truth or Fallacy?

Recently, DAP Recon team claimed that they had uncovered attempts by Defence Minister, DS Hishammuddin Hussein to open a new army camp in his constituency, Sembrong, Johor in an attempt to shore up his support in the constituency and to ensure that he wins the next general election. 

This so-called revelation came not too soon after they had revealed that there are military personnel registered as voters for currently under construction camp in Segamat, also in Johor.

DAP (and to a large extent, Pakatan Harapan) had been expounding that the fact that military personnel had been forced to vote for the ruling coalition for years.  Despite innuendo and so-called anonymous exposure, none of the allegations had been proven till today.

Why New Camps are Needed?
New military camps are built for various reasons.  Lets explore the reasons why we need new camps.

As our country modernised, many of these military camps need to be improved.  Many of these camps had wooden buildings, many which are in dilapidated conditions. 

When to Renovate and When to Close Down
The following are some of the factors known to have been taken into account when to decide either to renovate or to close down an old camp.

Strategic Value of the Camp
If a camp has high undiminished strategic value, the military camp will be renovated.  Wooden buildings are torn down and replaced with concrete structures.  During the period, the camp might be vacated, with the personnel being relocated to other camps for the time being. 

Hence, camps like Wardieburn Camp is being maintained, while formerly strategic location, like Sungai Besi AFB, which had been enroached by development, had been decommissioned and the land returned to the government.

Operational Cost
A key consideration is the ability to operate two or more similar camps within the vicinity.  If a single camp located in the vicinity could support the security of a location, having another camp within the same area of operation is no longer viable. 

This is one of the main reason why Sungai Besi Air Force Base, which is located in the same vicinity with Subang Air Force Base, was chosen to be closed down.  Especially with Subang Air Force Base also doubles up as United Nations disaster recovery stockpile centre for Southeast Asia.

Enroaching Development
Due to security provided by military camps in the past, land around military camps had slowly been urbanised.  The irony is, these urbanisation had largely enroached into the buffer zones  around these camps, thus threaten the existence of these camps. 

These buffer zones which are supposed to be no-man's land for camp security had been developed, legally or illegally by the surrounding population.  This buffer zone is supposed to be used as a killing field in the event of an attack.  This zone also provides security to the military to curtail the activities of prying eyes. 

Enroaching development had played a hand in allowing a CT kill squad to get close enough to Sungai Besi Air Force Base to launch a mortar attack, resulting in several Caribou cargo planes suffering damages. 
Similarly, Majidee camp had to be moved as surrounding housing area provide too many locations for prying eyes.

Kem Majidee.
Source photo - Sinar Harian

Hence, new camps are usually built in rural areas far from urban population. 

Camps Mean Easy Win for Ruling Coalition
Now that we have some idea why military camps are closed down and moved away, let's look into the allegations that the new military camp to be built in Sembrong is part of the plan to shore up support to DS Hishammuddin.

If having a military or police camp within a parliamentary area means absolute victory to the ruling coalition, then, it would be very logical to say that every parliamentary seat would have been won by Barisan Nasional during GE13.

Let's have a look at these 9 major military camps located nationwide.  These camps are selected as they are large camps with high number of military personnel and their families, thus a large pool of potential voters. 

Another reason is that the parliamentary seats for these camps should be easily determined.

Of these 9 camps, 7 are located in seats won by opposition.  Only 2 are won by BN.

What does this tell you?
It carries 2 meanings.  First is that these camps do not guarantee that the ruling coalition can win in these areas. 

Second, it means very high likelihood that military personnel are given the freedom to choose who they want to vote.  If this is not the case, why does many former military personnel choose to support the opposition after their retirement? 

Based on the above, we can say that it is a fallacy to say that the move to open a new military camp in Sembrong is an attempt by Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin to shore up his position.

No New Camp in BN Areas and in PH Area
As mentioned earlier, DAP had been highlighting the opening of new military camps, claiming this is an attempt to move voters around. 

So now, if opening a new military camp in opposition constituency is not allowed, and opening the same in ruling party-held seat is also not allowed, where can we open new military camps? 

Is this not the flag they want to see being flown in Malaysia?

Or they prefer a different flag other than Jalur Gemilang flying on the flag post?


  1. Perhaps the zombie followers will be satisfied once Singapore's colours are flying of the Tugu instead.

    1. Then we will fight, we will defend to make sure that never happens.