KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 – Major Zaidi Ahmad, the former air force pilot who was court marshalled, found guilty and discharged from the military for breaching discipline, said what had happened to Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar was similar to what he had gone through. Zaidi, who was sacked by the military court for speaking to the media over the indelible ink issue during the last general election, said it was a case of being accused of doing something wrong when it was not.
“Nurul Izzah made a speech in Parliament. Parliamentarians have immunity when speaking in the House except when they say something seditious touching on citizenship, the position of the Malay Rulers, the national language or special position of Malays and the Orang Asal. “She did not touch on those matters, so what she did wasn’t wrong. It is like my case,” he said at the forum “Kes Mejar Zaidi: Padah kerana benar, bebas kerana salah” in Butterworth last night. Nurul Izzah was arrested earlier today over a speech she made in Parliament, criticising the judiciary over the Federal Court verdict that upheld her father, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction for sodomy.
Her arrest makes her the latest opposition lawmaker held under the colonial era law. She had gone to the Dang Wangi police station to get her statement recorded to assist investigations into the #KitaLawan rally, which was held in Kuala Lumpur on March 7, when she was detained. However, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, in a statement released at 10.30pm tonight, said the PKR vice-president had been arrested und
He said she would be released once her statement has been recorded. Forum panelist Bersih 2.0 northern region coordinator Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon said Nurul Izzah had to spend the night at the Jinjang police station. He also said of late, many social activists and politicians had been detained under various laws for their struggles. “Why is this happening? “The crueler a government becomes, the more the people will fight for the freedom they deserve,” he said. Activist Hishamuddin Rais, who was also a panelist at the forum, accused the government of using various laws to frighten the people against taking part in street rallies, citing other recent arrests, including that of student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim over the #KitaLawan rally.
He urged the people not to be intimidated because rallies had proven to work in changing regimes. “So I am inciting you… I will be frank, otherwise it is not worth it. Because I have been sentenced and fined RM5,000. “Soon I will be fined again. They can fine me again and again and again. I don’t give a monkey,” he said. Hishamuddin was detained for sedition and charged with the offence last year. Just two months ago, he was fined RM5,000 in default of six months jail after he was found guilty of saying that the government in Malaysia could not be changed through elections.
During the forum, the panelists who included lawyer Mohamad Sofee Razak of Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram), also praised Zaidi for his courage in standing up for the truth and what was right. Toh said Zaidi’s case revealed a strange situation in the country, where those who held on to their principles like him and Anwar faced punishment. “Those who are corrupt and who committed crime remain free. Some are even holding power that enables them to enrich themselves and their families. “But Zaidi fought for the truth. Men like him in countries where the administrations regard such values highly, would be praised. But not here,” he said.
Sofee said Zaidi did what he had to do as a Muslim who must voice out against what was wrong and be truthful. From a religious perspective, he said as a Muslim, Zaidi had no choice but to do his duty to his country and its citizens. “Islam teaches its followers to fight tyranny. There are three phases. The first is if you see tyranny committed, you must stop or overcome it with the physical means you have. “Secondly, you may stop it by persuasion. Lastly, you stop tyranny with your heart, meaning you hate the tyranny you see.
“Zaidi did the first, which is the highest form of bravery. He never thought he would face such punishment just for making a media statement without the permission of the defence minister,” he said. Zaidi was found guilty by a military court in January of two charges of violating protocol in revealing problems with the indelible ink used in the May 2013 general election. The court found him guilty of breaching two standing orders – speaking to the media without the consent of the Defence Ministry, and sharing confidential information with the media without the consent of the Armed Forces Council under Section 50 of Armed Forces Act 1972.