12 September 2008

Military to stay apolitical

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The chief of defence for­ces has given an assurance that the De­­fence Forces has no intention of interfering in the country’s political affairs.

Jeneral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal said the defence forces would leave it to the Government to handle the is­­sue of race relations, which has been played up by some parties lately.

“The defence forces is professional and apolitical. I was only voicing my concern on the issue,” he said of his call to the Government on Tuesday to take stern action against those who stoke racial sentiments.

He reiterated his call yesterday but added that the defence forces would not get involved in “internal squabbles” unless requested to do so, through the legal process, by either the authorities or police.

“Our secondary role is to support the police and government agencies in any form of operations we are requested to, such as for internal security, humanitarian and disaster relief operations,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Jen Abdul Aziz: Says the military will leave it to the Government to handle the issue of race relations.

On certain quarters expressing con­cern that his call to the Go­­vernment was an interference by the defence forces chief in politics, he said that was just a perception.

On the level of race relations, he said it was up to the individual to judge but he be­­lieved it was moving to something po­­sitive.

“I don’t think the situation warrants us to be overly concerned. No country wishes to see itself in turmoil. The leadership is trying its best,” he said.

On whether the defence forces would work with a Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim government, he said: “I don’t know about a change of Govern­ment.”

Asked if the defence forces was prepared to deal with a racial clash, he said: “The theme of our Armed Forces Day this year is ‘our commitment is your confidence’.”

No comments: