Saturday, May 10, 2008


My superior’s statements defamed me, says ex-Major

The defamation suit of former Major Mohd Yazid b Abdullah against his superior, retiring Brigadier General Datuk Muhamad Yasin b Yahya, came up for full trial at the High Court here yesterday.
Mohd Yazid who is represented by Counsel Marcel Jude Joseph, took the witness’ stand before High Court Judge Datuk Clement Skinner.
Muhamad Yassin who was named the sole defendant in the suit, is “represented by Counsel Sugumar Balakrisnan.
Mohd Yazid filed the suit on April 21, 2004 claiming that two articles entitled “Yassin admits probe on some personnel” and “Anggota tentera lempar dakwaan rasuah sebagai ‘kurang siuman” which were published in a local newspaper on Feb 15 and 16, 2004 respectively by the defendant, were referring to him.
He contended that the statements of the defendant were untrue and made without reason and had defamed him.

The defendant as the Brigadier Commander ofthe 5th Infantry Brigade, made the alleged defamatory statement prior to his retirement during a ceremony on Feb 13, 2004 to hand over duties to his successor at the Lok Kawi Army Camp.
In his supporting affidavit, Mohd Yazid said that in 2003, he investigated and discovered information about alleged corrupt practices in the 5th Infantry Brigade.
Mohd Yazid contended that on Dec 4, 2003, he contacted the Provost Marshal of the Royal Military Police regarding the alleged information of corrupt practices.
The following day, Mohd Yazid said he transmitted by way of facsimile machine the full detaIls of the alleged corrupt practices and the Provost Marshal of the Royal Military Police had confirmed to have received the report and the Royal Military Police were undertaking investigation of the report.
He added on Dec 24, 2003 and thereafter he lodged a series of 28 reports with the Kota Kinabalu Anti- Corruption Agency (ACA).
Mohd Yazid who was stationed in Kota Kinabalu, further contended that he was relieved as Second in Command of the Second Battalion of 507, Territorial Army Regiment on Jan 2, 2004 and was later slapped with eight charges on Feb 18, 2004.
He said the charges were read to him by the Chief of Staff of the Fifth Infantry Brigade.

In his evidence in chief, Mohd Yazid affirmed the contents of the statements of claim in his oral evidence during examination by his counsel.

To another question by Marcel, Mohd Yazid said that the articles in the newspaper referred to a serviceman who was accused by the defendant of being unstable when making the reports of corruption.

Mohd Yazid added his understanding when he read the phrase of “referred to psychiatric treatment’ in the articles was referred to insanity or mental illness.

Earlier when Marcel asked him whether the latter was aware of any law that prevents army personnel from making any reports to the ACA or to the police in relation to corruption, Mohd Yazid said:

“There is no law in this country, including the Armed Forces Act as well as that of the ACA that prohibits me or any military personnel from lodging reports to the ACA or police being citizen of this country and also taxpayer.

“It is my duty to report any malpractices while operating in the organization to the ACA as stipulated in Section 17 of the Anti-Corruption Act,” Mohd Yazid said.

Asked further why he was vigilant as a one-man crusaider against corruption which is picture painted of him by the defence counsel, Mohd Yazid said, “I view corruption as an enemy within the organization, be it petty or big corruption or in whatever forms they are. A corrupted army affects the sovereignty of the country,”. “I spent 13 to 16 hours a day to do my work, including Saturdays and Sundays. It is untrue that I spent most of my working hours to do investigations. I need to investigate certain issues before making any complaints,”he said in replying to Marcel’s question that during the cross-examination, it was implied that the former spent most of his time investigating corruption instead of undertaking his serviceman duties.

He said in reporting corruption cases to the Army Provost Marshall or police or ACA, he had never disobeyed or broken any laws.

Mohd Yazid told the court that he filed 60 reports of corruption and he got most of the information from the officers and rank and file in the unit.

When he was asked during cross examination by Sugumar, he did not ask for mitigation of the sentence handed down to him as the whole process of the trial was unfair to him as he was put under the duress.

“Throughout the trial, I was asked to stand still for two hours and was not allowed to defend myself,” Mohd Yazid said, adding during the trial, he was found guilty of three charges under Section 58 of the Armed Forces Act for not attending official functions.