Saturday, April 12, 2014

The case of the indelible ink and the leak

Attorney Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
and Major Zaidi Ahmad
This one is a little complicated. According to this report in The Malaysian, a Royal Malaysian Air Force major is on trial:
On February 8, Zaidi [Ahmad] pleaded not guilty before the military court in Kuala Lumpur to four counts of violating [Armed Forces C]ouncil orders on the use of indelible ink during the election.
Zaidi, 45, from the RMAF airbase in Butterworth, also pleaded not guilty to three other charges, namely for making a statement without the authorisation of the Defence Ministry and sending two text messages which were political in nature.
On the first and second charges, Zaidi was alleged to have issued a media statement on the indelible ink without the approval of the Defence Ministry and not going through military channels to voice his grievances.
He was alleged to have committed these offences at the compound of the Kepala Batas district police station on May 1, 2013.
Zaidi is also charged with making a media statement expressing his disappointment on the indelible ink, which was supposed to be investigated through military channels.
He is also charged with having leaked a circular on the indelible ink to the media without obtaining the council's approval.
The offences were allegedly committed at Taman Bertam Indah in Kepala Batas, Penang, on May 3. 
On the sixth and seventh charges, Zaidi is alleged to have sent two text messages which were political in nature while on duty at the Butterworth air base on May 1.
ABN News explains:
During the early voting process for the 13th general election, Zaidi lodged a police report on the indelible ink, saying it was washable within hours after being applied.
For that reason, Zaidi, 45, was charged under Section 50(2) and 51 of the Armed Forces Act 1972 for lodging a police report without following the proper chain of command.
Five of the charges have been dropped, but two remain and will be tried in June, barring a change of heart on the part of the Armed Forces Council. Defense counsel, led by Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, were said to be considering seeking relief from the civilian High Court if the military did not drop the prosecution. For background on the use of indelible ink in elections (including the 2013 Malaysian general election) see this article.

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