Another Air Force personnel has been punished after being found guilty of more or less the same case as former Major Zaidi Ahmad. Quoting an unnamed source, the Malaysian Insider reported that Flight Sergeant Jamal Ibrahim “…was not brought to court but was still punished for the alleged offence,” something that I find outrageously absurd. However, coming from the Malaysian Insider, I am not at all surprised.
The source said Jamal was given an option whether to fight his case in the martial court or be tried by the commanding officer and he chose the latter.
Before this gets blown by idiots who do not understand the system, first of all, whiners should not join the Armed Forces. If you have problems following orders, get a pound for yourself at the SPCA or at a similar organisation. Secondly, people are already starting to say that Zaidi’s dismissal from the service versus Jamal’s reduction of rank reeks of political arm twisting.
Zaidi was an officer. Jamal is not. An officer holds the King’s Commission, an enlisted man does not. An enlisted man’s rank is given by the service chief. An officer up to the rank of Captain gets his promotion from the Armed Forces Council, while Major and above get it from the King himself, as recommended by the Armed Forces Council. Which is why you no longer have promotions exams once you have attained the rank of a Major.
So why was Zaidi tried by a court-martial and not given the option to be tried by his Commanding Officer like Jamal? Why the harsh treatment?
Section 96 (1) of the Armed Forces Act, 1972 clearly states the following:
After investigating a charge against a commissioned officer below the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or its equivalent, or against a Warrant Officer may, if an Authority has powers under the following provisions of this Part to deal with it summarily, be so dealt with by that Authority in accordance with those provisions
So, why didn’t that authority deal with Zaidi summarily? Firstly, Zaidi did not have a Commanding Officer. He WAS the Commanding Officer. Furthermore, Section 89 (7) of the Act also mentions that “where an officer is sentenced to imprisonment, he is also sentenced to be dismissed with disgrace from His Majesty’s service.” As only His Majesty has the power to dismiss an officer, only a Court-Martial could try him.
Jamal on the other hand is a serviceman. A non-commissioned officer. Not even an Appointed Officer or a Warrant Officer, let along a Commissioned Officer. His Commanding Officer has the choice of giving him lesser punishments as prescribed by the Act including detention of not more than 90 days, or anything lesser. He was also, at the beginning of his summary trial by the Commanding Officer, be given the choice of either being tried by a court-martial, or by his Commanding Officer. We know he chose the latter. The normal proceeding would follow, in accordance to the law, with the unit’s Adjutant advising. On arraignment, he will be read the charge according to the charge sheet and asked for his plea. I would expect Jamal to plead guilty, given that that would give him a lesser punishment. With his service taken into consideration, the Commanding Officer gave him the lesser punishment of reduction of rank (demotion, for those not well read) when it could have been any number of days in a gazetted detention center.
So, there you go. No one was given a harsher treatment. Everyone was given due process according to the law. Now, please stop politicising the Armed Forces. That kind of thing is only done by anarchists bent on sowing the seeds of a civil war, unless you are one.
And for those in the Armed Forces, if you think you cannot serve the country apolitically, get out at the earliest opportunity you can get and once you get your NRIC, go ahead and peddle your political agenda.