The court martialed air force major will be with Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the Opposition Alliance at the Federal level, to campaign for free and fair elections.
KUALA LUMPUR: Ex-Air Force Major Zaidi Ahmad, who was dismissed from service recently by a Court Martial Panel for lodging a police report and bringing the indelible ink issue to public attention, may have a career switch from military fighter pilot to potential people’s hero.
He will sign up soon with the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the Opposition Alliance at the Federal level which is in power in Selangor, Penang and Kelantan. The thrust of his political struggle would be free and fair elections and that postal votes cast by military personnel not be dictated by any pressure on the part of the authorities.
However, it would be up to the coalition to determine whether he should offer himself as a candidate come the 14th General Election in 2018. It would be up to the coalition’s component parties concerned, he elaborated.
“If they tell me to just help put up party flags, I will do so. I am ready to follow party orders,” he said on the sidelines of a function at Mandarin Court Hotel, Kula Lumpur. “I am not looking for positions.”
He hasn’t yet decided which PR component party to choose as his vehicle to begin his political struggle. For one reason, he’s still carrying his old military-issued identity card and needs to obtain a MyKad.
He also has a standing job offer from the Penang Government but has yet to decide on the matter. He wants to first discuss it with his ex-colleagues, many of whom are still with him and are incensed at the injustice meted out to him by the authorities, his family, friends and relatives. He may want to a free man for the moment.
“For the immediate moment, I will tour the country, even go on a roadshow if necessary, to explain the issue which brought to my discharge from military service,” he disclosed. “I also need to find time to do some direct selling to help pick up the bills and take care of my family.”
Zaidi was found guilty by a Court Martial Panel on two counts of infringing military protocol when going public with the indelible ink issue during the 13th General Election in 2013.
He took the position that he didn’t want to be a party to illegalities and didn’t want to be party to besmirching the honour, respect and dignity of the armed forces, the air force in particular, and his own faith as a Muslim. “I couldn’t lie and help cover up,” he had said previously. “I am forbidden by my faith and belief in God.”
Constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari pointed out at a forum on the indelible ink issue in Kuala Lumpur that the Court Martial Panel, which was supposed to function like the secular court, denied him his constitutional rights.
One issue with the military authorities was that Zaidi made public his transfer orders received immediately after he lodged the police report, as a citizen, on the indelible ink issue.
His transfer orders placed him in cold storage. The position of the air force on the issue was that he brought it into public disrepute and contempt, a catchall charge from which there’s very little escape.