Ex-Sabah state minister now suing soldiers for ‘humiliating’ interrogation on him and relatives

Julia Chan
Datuk Ramlee Marahaban said that he was filling the suit against Sargeant Salleh Zakaria and Major Nizam Sazali who had treated him and his relatives in a manner that was derogatory and humiliating during an interrogation. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, May 26 — A former State assistant minister is suing two members of the Malaysian Army for negligence and abuse of rights during his alleged arrest on April 11 while he was on a boating trip.

Datuk Ramlee Marahaban, a former Umno assemblyman for Bugaya, said that he was filling the suit against Sargeant Salleh Zakaria and Major Nizam Sazali who had treated him and his relatives in a manner that was derogatory and humiliating during an interrogation.

“During the inspection, endless photographs were being taken and we were not asked to provide details on information such as who we were or what are we doing in the area prior to the interception,” he said.

According to Ramlee, the individuals on the army boat had intercepted their fishing boat while they were heading towards Mataking Island from Boheyan island.

Ramlee said he and his crew were not carrying their identification card with them.

The army men conducted a physical body search on Ramlee and his companions — his son and nephews, and said they were not asked for any further details.

“They were only concerned about the arms that were found on the vessel. However, no clarification on this matter was properly sought,” he said, adding that he had a firearm licence and had informed the authorities of his itenary for the day.

Ramlee said he believed that the individuals has no intention to conduct a proper interrogation or search on him and his relatives.

They are more concerned with taking photography in a manner that was derogatory, embarrassing and humiliating him and his relatives.

“Despite there was no valid reason and the fact that no one inside the vessel was engaged in any illegal activities of any kind, we were subjected to humiliating procedures which was conducted in a rude and impolite manner.

“Not only the inspection was conducted in an improper way, those individuals also chose to publicise the incident with false and misleading information and details which was defaming towards me.

“The press release was purportedly drawn up to exclude material facts concerning the error of judgement and negligence of both individuals,” he said, adding that the two soldiers had also unlawfully released the photographs of him and his relatives during the incident, which was subsequently published in the news and on social media.

He said the action of Salleh and Nizam had done irreparable damage to him and gravely damaged his reputation, and he wanted to take action on both individuals for damage, negligence and unlawful breach of their rights.

“I hope such action will provide them a lesson not to abuse power against a civilian who entrust them in safeguarding the national security,” he added.

On April 23 last month, Ramlee sued the Joint Task Force 2 Commander Brigadier General Datuk Zarondin Md Amin, along with Harian Metro and its publisher New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad for defamation after the latter issued a statement and photographs of the “arrest” for suspected armed intrusion which is said was done maliciously and intended to tarnish his reputation.

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