PERAK While postal votes were once considered a ‘safe deposit' for the ruling BN coalition, the 13th general election may prove otherwise, at least so in Perak, due to Pakatan Rakyat's new approach of fielding former security forces personalities as candidates.

NONE"Insya-Allah, based on service and contacts, we will get the support of the navy," said First Admiral (Rtd) Abdul Imran Abd Hamid (left), former chief of staff logistics at the Naval Fleet headquarters.

He is one of four from the forces being fielded by the opposition contesting in parliament and state assembly seats in the state.

Two are being fielded in areas with huge army bases, while two will be fielded in largely civilian constituencies. This is seen as two-pronged strategy to canvas for votes as well as to raise the uniformed services credentials of the opposition across Perak.

Abdul Imran is PKR's candidate for the Lumut parliamentary seat, of which 18 percent, or 13,287 voters, in the constituency are postal voters.

NONEThis looks good on paper as should Abdul Imran obtain even a small margin of support from the armed forces, Pakatan will have a good chance of wrestling Lumut. In 2008, the opposition lost the seat by a tissue-thin margin of 298 votes.

Of the remaining three, Major (Rtd) Abdullah Masnan will be running forPengakalan Hulustate seat, situated within the Grikconstituency, which has 3,666 police and army voters.

Meanwhile, former Bukit Aman Crinimal Investigation Department chief Fauzi Shaari will contest in the Larutparliamentary constituency while Brigadier General (Rtd) Hadi Abdul Khattab is being fielded in Behrang, a state seat under theTanjong Malim parliamentary seat.

Wooing the military and police
Political observers believe that, like Abdullah, Abdul Imran's 37-year long military career would be an advantage because he had worked in Lumut.

"Anwar offered me to contest in Lumut because he said my influence could help in ensuring victory.

"(The military personnel) are very much aware nowadays and it would hard to sway them. Many now know about leakages and corruption.

"BN now has no guarantee of winning all the postal votes," he toldMalaysiakini when met in Ipoh.

NONEMeanwhile, Perak PKR election director Nizar Jamaluddin (left) said the fielding ex-security personnel is part of the party's overall strategy to woo military voters.

"These (candidates) were capable leaders when they were in service. They are free from corruption and well-respected while they were in the forces.

"We combine these values and present it to the military and police to show that we have talented people who could be leaders... at least it gives military personnel hope for the future.

"This is Pakatan's friendly approach to the police and military, a strategy to draw military personnel to vote for Pakatan," he said when contacted.

~ Malaysiakini