Bersatu deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu today slammed his rival Anwar Ibrahim after the PKR president claimed that vote-buying activities were ongoing among military personnel, saying this showed not only desperation but also a lack of respect for the over 140,000 servicemen and their family members voting at the coming polls.
"Military personnel risk their lives every day to protect Malaysia. These heroes deserve praise, and should not be insulted as bribe takers without any proof or evidence," Faizal said in a statement.
"It is clear that Anwar Ibrahim is getting more 'desperate' because it is apparent that Pakatan Harapan (PH) is getting less support from the people during this campaign period."
Speaking at a ceramah in Kuala Nerus on Friday, Anwar claimed that armed forces personnel had already started to vote although early voting is scheduled for Nov 15.
He also claimed that military voters were being paid RM300 each by Barisan Nasional, adding that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was working in cahoots with Perikatan Nasional "to ensure there is fraud in the electoral process".
In an immediate response, the Election Commission urged those with information on corruption to lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Faizal said Anwar's claim was "the most irresponsible and malicious" statement made by any politician throughout the election campaign so far.
"Anwar has not shown any evidence to support this malicious accusation. It is a wild accusation, without basis or evidence.
"There are 146,737 military voters and their spouses who are eligible to vote in GE15. Anwar has insulted them and called them bribe takers.
"Accepting a bribe is a crime. Does Anwar think that our military personnel are all criminals?" he asked.
He said Anwar's statement appeared to be a ploy, to paint the election process as unfair in the event that PH is defeated at the polls.
"Is Anwar prepared to retract the insult to the country's armed forces personnel and their families and make a public apology?"