Former Sabah assistant minister files 2nd suit against army men

Ramlee Marhaban (centre) and his group after they were stopped by the Joint Task Force 2 team at sea earlier this month.

KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah assistant finance minister Ramlee Marahaban has filed a second suit against two security forces personnel, claiming they had abused their powers.

Ramlee filed the claim recently against Sergeant Salleh Zakaria and Major Nizam Sazali.

He claimed the duo had treated him and his relatives “without due regard” during an inspection while they were on a trip to visit his son’s resort project at Mataking Island, off Semporna, on April 11.

He said they were intercepted by an army boat while heading towards Mataking Island from east Boheyan island.

“During the inspection, endless photos were taken and we were not asked to provide details such as who we were or what we were doing in the area,” he said in a statement here today.

Ramlee claimed the duo were only interested about the arms found on the vessel and believed the individuals had no intention of conducting a proper interrogation and search on him and his relatives.

On April 23, Ramlee had initiated a defamation suit against three members of the security forces, including Joint Task Force 2 (ATB2) commander Brig Gen Zarondin Amin, the editor of a Malay daily and a national news publisher.

The suit was filed following the release of a statement claiming that he was detained by ATB2 two weeks earlier. He claimed they had maliciously intended to tarnish his reputation.

The former Bugaya assemblyman was seeking an injunction to restrain further publication of the matter by the defendants, as well as exemplary and general damages, costs, statutory interest and any relief deemed fit by the court.

However, he acknowledged his negligence in failing to carry identification documents or his licence to carry weapons during the trip.

Meanwhile, Ramlee said despite there being no valid reason to suspect anyone inside the vessel was engaged in any illegal activities, they were nonetheless subjected to the humiliating procedures which were conducted in a “rude and impolite manner”.

“Not only was the inspection conducted in an improper way, these individuals also chose to publicise the incident with false and misleading information and details which defamed my name and reputation.

“The press release was purportedly drawn up to exclude material facts concerning the error of judgement and negligence of both individuals,” he claimed.

In addition to the press statement, he said the duo also unlawfully released the photos, which were subsequently published and spread over social media.

“Therefore, I want to take action against both individuals for damage, for negligence and unlawful breach of the rights.

“I hope such action will provide a lesson to them not to abuse their powers against civilians who entrust them to safeguard their security,” Ramlee said.