The Coalition for Free and Fair Election (Bersih 2.0) is extremely disappointed with the guilty verdict delivered to Major Zaidi Ahmad by the military court today.
The sentence meted out to him – dismissal from His Majesty’s service – effectively ends Major Zaidi’s 26-year-and-one-day career with the military that could have gone further, based on his impeccable record thus far.
Bersih 2.0 knows how committed Major Zaidi is as a citizen, a family man, and a soldier. It is precisely because of his personal, professional and societal commitment that he lodged a police report over the failure of the indelible ink during early voting in the 13th general election.
Major Zaidi has explained his actions: He did not want the process to be similarly marred on the actual voting day. He also wanted to protect the military’s image from being tarred alongside that of the Election Commission – because, to him, keeping silent would be complicit to the farce being perpetuated on the people.
Unfortunately, despite his valiant efforts, no action has been taken on the Election Commission till this very day, and no one from the Election Commission has ever had to account for this sham. Nothing has ever come from the hundreds of police reports lodged against the Election Commission over this except for this particular one, which resulted in punishment for the whistleblower instead of the wrongdoer.
Major Zaidi has played his role as a citizen to highlight the biggest scandal among the irregularities that marred the 13th general election. For that, he has paid a heavy price, while Malaysia, too, has lost a fine soldier today.
Bersih 2.0 is also disappointed the court did not wait for the judicial review challenging the convening authority’s decision to proceed, despite a complaint from the defence that the fairness and integrity of the proceedings may have been compromised. We now look to the judicial review, the leave of application for which will be heard on 5 February at the KL High Court, for some measure of justice for Major Zaidi.
Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0,
Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Prof Madya Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusoff, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula)