Monday, April 7, 2014

Bersih, PAS in last-ditch attempt to save fighter pilot from jail term

BY MUZLIZA MUSTAFA
APRIL 07, 2014
In a last-ditch effort to save an air force pilot from a possible jail sentence, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) and PAS today urged the Defence Ministry to drop the charges against Major Zaidi Ahmad (pic), who is being court-martialled over the indelible ink issue.
Bersih co-chair Maria Chin Abdullah said this was their last attempt to speak up for Zaidi before his trial began tomorrow.
"We are not here to condemn the Royal Malaysian Air Force. All we want is to urge them to drop all the seven charges against Zaidi as he was only exercising his right as a Malaysian citizen," said Maria in a press conference held in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
Zaidi was charged on February 7, with four counts of violating Malaysian Armed Forces Council's orders on the use of indelible ink during the 13th general election last year.
He was also charged with making a media statement without the authorisation of the ministry and sending two text messages which were political in nature.
He pleaded not guilty to all seven charges. Also present in the press conference today were constitutional law expert Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bahri and a PAS representative, Lt-Col (rtd) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, who is also president of an army veterans' association.
"In Zaidi's case, the act used against him should be read in a constitutional context. As a Malaysian, he has the right to voice out and it does not matter which institution he is representing," said Aziz.
Aziz said if the case continued, it would be a test case as there were several grounds that the defence counsel could look into to make their case.
Nazari said the press conference today was not to condemn the system but to urge the air force to look at the broader picture.
"Zaidi was just exercising his right as a Malaysian," he said.
Zaidi is facing at least two years in jail if he is found guilty all the charges.
The 45-year-old jet pilot, who served the force for 25 years, landed in trouble after he lodged a police report on the indelible ink only hours after voting in GE13. He claimed that the ink was washable.
He was charged in military court and his pilot's wings were clipped and he has been reassigned to a desk job.
The controversial indelible ink, used for the first time in last year's general election, could be washed off easily, leading Pakatan Rakyat to claim it had affected the outcome of the election.
The Election Commission admitted last November that the indelible ink had its flaws, among others, it was washable and took longer to dry and because of that, it left stains on ballot papers.
However, it has insisted that the indelible ink would still be used in the next general election.
Zaidi, who is based in the air force's Butterworth base in Seberang Prai, was one of the 235,826 security forces personnel and their spouses nationwide who voted in advance on April 30 last year. – April 7, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

1 comment:

Winston Yap said...

The Whistle Blowers' Act is to protect criminals and persecute whistle blowers?
That's how it looks to all sane people!!!!
What a lunatic country is this?