Sacked airman says dismissal proves honesty doesn’t pay in Malaysia

Major Zaidi Ahmad with his youngest child outside the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) military court. ― Picture by Melissa Chi
Major Zaidi Ahmad with his youngest child outside the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) military court. ― Picture by Melissa Chi

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Former airman Zaidi Ahmad said his discharge from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) for blowing the whistle on the weaknesses of the indelible ink used in Election 2013 demonstrates that honesty comes with a price here.

On Monday, the Military Court found Zaidi guilty of misconduct for publicly complaining about the inefficacy of the indelible ink used in the 2013 general election, and ordered his dismissal as a major in the RMAF.

“The honest ones are often the ‘criminals’, while liars who betray are the ones who are adulated and given various recognitions,” he told Malay Mail Online in an email interview.

Despite his misgivings over the court martial, Zaid said he accepts the decision with “an open heart”.

The father of four was also found guilty of publishing an article without consent from the Defence Ministry, and for revealing the contents of official documents on the indelible ink without authorisation from the Malaysian Armed Forces Council, and was discharged from duty.

Zaidi now says he want to move on, and is thinking of setting up a direct-selling business in order to support his family.

“I would be better off being on my own and not tied up with an employer like before so that I can move freely anywhere I want and speak about any issues, so long as it doesn't violate Islamic rulings and the Federal Constitution,” he said.

When asked if he will be joining any non-governmental organisations (NGO) to champion electoral issues, Zaidi said he would be willing to help and work with anyone who is sincere in championing issues of national interest.

“It does not matter if they are an NGO or a political party, as long as they do not go against the country’s laws, as well and do not violate Islamic rulings,” he stressed.

Indelible ink was introduced in Election 2013 as one of the main safeguards against repeat voting, but the scandal surrounding its easy removal transformed it into a symbol of the widespread electoral fraud allegedly perpetrated to keep Barisan Nasional in power.

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