Kemaman by-election: Boost for security matters if ex-Defence Force Chief is in Lower House

CHUKAI: The prospect of a former distinguished military officer being elected to the Lower House offers a valuable opportunity to enhance the legislative arm with expert insights into national security and defence matters.

Former Defence Force Chief General (Rtd) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor could potentially create history if he wins the Kemaman by-election this Saturday, marking the first instance of a former high-ranking Armed Forces official joining the Dewan Rakyat.

The Barisan Nasional candidate's presence as a former top military man amongst the 222 parliamentarians could contribute significantly to policy deliberations related to the armed forces, enhancing the formulation of effective and informed policies related to national security.

Crossing his fingers, Raja Mohamed Affandi, who served for 43 years in the army before leading the Armed Forces in 2016, agreed that apart from serving the constituents of Kemaman, his long years in the army could come in handy when drafting acts on security.

"If it is about former generals, there are others in Parliament, the Ketereh MP (Member of Parliament) is an ex-general, but as the former Armed Forces Chief, I'm the first one, compared to here (Kemaman), what can I bring? I can also bring what can be brought by a politician, the pulse of the constituents' wishes and needs.

"In terms of security and defence, I have experience there, maybe the inputs that I can give can help in making policies, in making decisions and giving input that can make good decisions," he told Bernama.

The by-election on Saturday (December 2) will see Raja Mohamed Affandi facing Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, representing Pas, in a straight fight.

Political analyst Professor Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said that the most important thing for a Member of Parliament (MP) is their ability to raise issues of public interest, and debate with a rational and practical mind.

"Background on this matter does not really matter. Tan Sri Affandi has that personality which adds value to his background as Armed Forces Chief," he said.

However, it would surely prove to be an uphill battle for him to secure the constituency, given that BN lost the seat by more than a 27,000 majority in the 15th General Election.

If he wins, Raja Mohamed Affandi will be the sole opposition elected representative in Terengganu, breaking the Pas dominance of all the eight parliamentary seats including Kemaman and the 32 state seats.

Pas on the other hand is proposing Ahmad Samsuri to the Kemaman voters. He is not only a Menteri Besar, but also an aerospace expert, making him a formidable challenger to Raja Mohamed Affendi.

Crime and security analyst Datuk Shahul Hamid Abdul Rahim said both candidates have their niche and experiences that could serve the country best.

"No doubt they have their own experience, but this is not enough, unless they are given a specific portfolio.

"But if you are only in the Dewan Rakyat, if you are only in charge of making recommendations, it will be a loss. Give these people a portfolio, maybe their expertise can be put to better use," he said.

Yesterday (November 29), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim gave the assurance that Raja Mohamed Affandi, if elected, would not be merely taking on the role of an MP.

"With his position, I believe that if he becomes a Member of Parliament, he will not want to be just an ordinary elected representative. We need to assign tasks to ensure good relations with the government and the Prime Minister, so make sure that the BN candidate wins," he was quoted as saying. — Bernama

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