Update: Major Zaidi has been dismissed from the air force.
Major Zaidi obviously believed that the truth would set us free when he highlighted what many Malaysians were realising during GE13 – that the indelible ink was not really indelible. But this morning a military court found him guilty of two charges of violating protocol in speaking to the media without approval.
It is a sad day for Malaysia, when someone has to pay such a heavy price for going public with the truth.
This is an excerpt from the Insider’s report on the outcome:
After pronouncing Zaidi guilty, the panel allowed him to produce a witness to support his appeal for a lighter sentence and gave him time to address the military panel.
Zaidi charged the panel with having a political agenda, and said they were more concerned with “filling their stomachs” than using their heads.
This caused the court to interrupt his speech. As he continued speaking, he was stopped again and told to respect the court.
This prompted Zaidi to end his speech abruptly, telling the court that he had nothing more to say if he was not allowed the freedom to speak.
“I have nothing more to say. Jumpa nanti di mahkamah Allah (meet again in Allah’s court),” he said.
Clearly, Major Zaidi felt that making the truth known is a higher calling.
Even before the GE13 incident, Major Zaidi was a decorated hero awarded the Kesatria Angkatan Tentera for his services in Bosnia under a UN peacekeeping force,
But what made him heroic in the eyes of many Malaysians was that he knew the price he would have to pay for speaking the truth. This ‘truth force’ is what Gandhi called satyagraph or the insistence on the truth. Gandhi said this drive for the truth could be “offered at any place, at any time, and by any person, even though he may be in a minority of one”.
This is what Zaidi put into practice. In doing so, he was ready, prepared to sacrifice everything, so that the truth would prevail, for a higher cause: the greater good of the nation and its people.
For that, Malaysians owe him a huge debt of gratitude. We haven’t seen the last of this chapter.