Trauma lingers on for Ops Lalang detainees

by Gan Pei Ling, 30 Oct 2017 © The Malaysian Insight

THREE decades after Operasi Lalang, the trauma of being detained without trial and interrogated by Special Branch officers lingers on for some of the political detainees.

“One thing that weighed heavily on my mind then was how long were we going to be detained here (at Kamunting). Even a convicted criminal knows their length of sentence.

“It’s difficult to talk about it until now,” one of the four female detainees, Lim Chin Chin, 61, shared with a packed hall at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall tonight.

Lim, Dr Cecilia Ng and Dr Chee Heng Leng, co-founders of the Women’s Development Collective and All Women’s Action Society, and Irene Xavier, who worked with women’s workers organisation Sahabat Wanita, were accused of being Marxists bent on overthrowing the government by rallying women.

The support group for the detainees and their families that later morphed into human rights organisation Suaram was the only good that came out of Operasi Lalang, said Lim.

Irene, 66, said she also endured physical abuse during her 355-day ordeal as a detainee between 1987 and 1988.

“They claimed I was lying, that some of my friends have told them the truth and I haven’t. On that basis, the IO (investigation officer) got angry and beat me,” said Irene.

“However hard I tried to keep my mind sane, I think there are certain things that they have done to me that still bothers me.

“They would repeat names of people you only remotely knew and the memories would come back and become very fresh in your mind.

“I tried very hard (then) to forget the names. I didn’t succeed during the first 60 days. But after that I can forget people’s names very quickly,” she said.

She was also told by the Special Branch officers that she was a very talented leader and they could make sure she became Wanita MIC chief if she supports the then MIC president S. Samy Vellu.

Even after she was released, Irene said the police officers continued to harass her by coming to her house in Seremban at odd hours and shout out her name until she came out.

However, she took heart in her observation that young Malaysians do not share the same fear of being detained without trial as she did in those days.

“Maybe with the setting up of Suaram, something changed. Former detainees (in my time) would only speak when they are alone with you, never in front of others (like tonight),” said Irene.

PSM chairman Dr Nasir Hashim said the Special Branch interrogators would pretend to want to engage in intellectual discourse with him.

“They’ll give you a talk and then ask you what you thought. I’ll repeat the same things they said back to them,” said Dr Nasir.

He added that he was detained underground for the first 60 days and could not tell day from night.

“When they shut the air vent, I couldn’t breath. One time, for three days the ground shook, only when I was released I found out from a contractor that I was detained in Bukit Aman,” he said.

In Kamunting, Dr Nasir, a nutritionist, took up gardening, took care of fallen sparrows and picked up acupuncture.

“I had my clinic and had a special branch couple as my patients. I told them you are my patients in here. Outside of it, we fight,” he recalled.

He was released after 15 months.

Tan Kah Kheng, a detainee and chemical engineer who campaigned against the rare earth refinery in Bukit Merah, said a Special Branch officer bragged about having made many people mad.

Dr Kua Kia Soong said everyone had different coping strategies during their detention, adding that individuals from small political parties like Nasir tend to have it tougher than people from bigger political parties.

Members of the audience asked if the detainees want compensation or retribution from the people responsible for their ordeal.

“We are asking Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) to apologise. We don’t want him detained,” said Kua.

Dr Mahathir has consistently denied responsibility for Operasi Lalang and said it was carried out at the insistence of the then Inspector-General of Police Hanif Omar and Special Branch chief Abdul Rahim Noor.

During Operasi Lalang, 106 people comprising of activists, politicians, academics, students and preachers were detained without trial under the Internal Security Act.

The second biggest mass arrest since May 16 racial riots also saw the revocation of two dailies and two weekly newspapers’ publishing licenses.

Malay Muslims need to speak up against extremism

by Gan Pei Ling, 22 October 2017 © The Malaysian Insight

MORE Malay Muslims must speak out against religious extremism and curtails on intellectual freedom, say panelists at a forum on reason and faith in society today.

Citing the ongoing debate over the Muslim-only launderette as an example, social activist Marina Mahathir said it would have been akin to the beginning of apartheid.

“It’s about dividing the Muslims and non-Muslims. It’s the beginning of apartheid. Therefore we have a right to say stop,” she said to a packed room at the University of Nottingham Malaysia teaching centre in Kuala Lumpur.

She added that the royal backlash against preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, who supported the establishment of Muslim-only launderette, was unusual.

“When it comes to religion, people are quite afraid to speak up because they have seen what happen to people who speak out like the late Kassim Ahmad.

“Not everyone agree with what’s going on. It’s a culture of fear. We need more people to speak up, not just us the usual lot (on the panel), to say enough is enough,” said Marina.

Beside the culture of fear, Zaharom Nain from University of Nottingham Malaysia believes an insular siege mentality among Malay Muslims also restrict them from speaking their minds freely about religion.

“Some of the polls that have been done indicate that. Media like Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and TV3 that is the dominant media in rural areas provide a skewed picture of Malaysia,” said Zaharom.

Universiti Malaya law lecturer Azmi Sharom added that few political parties with a Malay Muslim majority dared to speak up against the growing extremism.

“What we need are the people from Amanah and Bersatu to say no we cannot allow this to continue,” he said.

He added that none of these political parties have been brave enough to openly oppose PAS president Hadi Awang’s proposal to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act to implement hudud.

“They think it’s political suicide, that they will be accused of being a murtad if they don’t support it,” said Azmi.

He added that it is up to Malay Muslims on the ground to make intellectual freedom a political issue otherwise politicians will not care.

Azmi was referring to the recent ban on a book authored by a US-based Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol and Mustafa’s detention by Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi).

Isham Pawan Ahmad from the International Islamic University Malaysia said Malay Muslims must be more discerning between man-made and divine ideas.

“It’s your right to listen to different ideas and make a decision for yourself.

“When the Prophet said something, his followers would ask: Is that a revelation or your opinion? If it’s your opinion, we can discuss it. Islam values shura (mutual consultation),” he said.

Overheads, not greed, cause of higher fish price, say Sekinchan fishermen

by Gan Pei Ling, 13 October 2017 © The Malaysian Insight

ANGER is brewing among fishermen in Sekinchan, the largest fish supplier in Selangor.

The mere mention of the name Jamal Md Yunos is sufficient to set off a tirade from most of the Teochew fishermen here, or earn you a scowl.

“Diesel price, the costs to maintain our fishing boats, to repair fishing nets and wooden jetty, the wages of workers have all increased over the years.

“How can we make a living if the price of fish stays the same?

“Let’s see if Jamal can actually sustain a business selling the fish for RM5 a kilo every day,” said a villager who only wanted to be known as Su, when met at Bagan Sekinchan.

Jamal, Sg Besar Umno division chief, sold ikan kembung at RM5 per kilo at Sekinchan and Ampang last month in a bid to prove his allegation that unscrupulous middlemen, backed by DAP, are marking up the price of fish.

Su’s husband owns two fishing boats – one run by Myanmar workers and another by Indonesians.

She has been helping out with the fishing business for the past three decades.

“We’re also at the mercy of market forces. We don’t set the fish prices,” she said.

Chia Tiang Engi, a wholesaler and fisherman with seven fishing boats, said fishing is an expensive and risky business.

Buying a fishing boat can cost up to RM1 million or more, he said.

Most fishermen here, who inherited the trade from their families, took out loans to buy a boat. A boat could last up to 30 years with careful maintenance.

“The diesel cost for a fishing trip is easily a few thousand ringgit. We must make sure we get enough catch to make a profit.”

To save cost, Chia said most fishing boats would stay for at least three days, some up to eight days, at sea.

“On top of that, we are always at the mercy of the weather and the sea. The monsoon winds have become unpredictable since more than a decade ago.

“Our catch has also decreased over the years. Every ringgit we make is hard earned.”

Chia added that he pays his workers, mostly from Myanmar, at least RM1,200 a month.

A fishing net, which needs to be replaced every six to 12 months, costs between RM10,000 and RM20,000.

Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim also rubbished Jamal’s allegation that DAP is manipulating the fishermen and middlemen to pump up the price of fish, as “baseless and politically motivated”.

“The overhead costs for local fishermen have increased significantly because many of their subsidies were removed and the 6% GST (goods and services tax) has also hit them hard. The wages of their workers have also gone up.

“That’s why fish prices have increased,” Ng told The Malaysian Insight.

He said Jamal’s RM5 per kg fish gimmick is unsustainable and advised the Umno division leader to lobby Putrajaya to restore subsidies for fishermen and remove the GST if he wants to bring down the price of fish.

Jamal said he will be selling fish at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya tomorrow at the same time as Pakatan Harapan’s anti-kleptocracy rally.

He will be bringing in 10 tonnes of fish – from Sg Besar and Perak – in three lorries.

Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain, however, warned Jamal that he will need a permit from the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) if he wants to carry on with the plan to sell fish at the rally venue.

Azizi said enforcement officers will take action if Jamal insists of selling fish without a permit.

APEC customs officials learn best practices for detecting illegal timber products

31 August 2017 ©

More than 100 customs, forestry, and anti-corruption officials and civil society representatives from countries in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum met in Vietnam from 18-19 August 2017 to share best practices for identifying illegal timber and wood products.

Speakers at the Workshop on Customs Best Practices to Identify Illegal Timber and Wood Products

“Customs are at the frontline of combating the illegal logging and associated trade,” said Jennifer Prescott, Assistant US Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources. “The illegal wood trade has grown in sophistication. So too must the customs.”

The illegal timber trade deprives economies of revenue from legally, sustainably managed forests, undermines legitimate businesses, threatens the livelihoods of local communities and harms biodiversity.

The workshop in Vietnam was an opportunity for officials from APEC countries — which account for 80% of the global timber trade — to discuss tools and resources available to assess the legality risk of wood products.

Davyth Stewart, Manager of Interpol’s Natural Resources Division, introduced Project LEAF (Law Enforcement Assistance for Forests), which Interpol launched in 2012 to combat illegal logging and related crimes including corruption.

It supports investigations, coordinates international networks for information sharing, and supports cooperation between civil society and law enforcement. “Our work is to provide behind-the-scenes support,” said Stewart. “The credit goes to the frontline enforcement officers doing the work on the ground.”

Project LEAF’s work with countries has led to 549 arrests, mostly in Latin America and Africa, and the seizure of timber worth US$1.48 billion and equivalent to 16,888 hectares of forests.

Stewart said, however, that almost half (48%) of the arrests were low-level offenders such as truck drivers, and another 40% were facilitators. Only 10% were company owners or managers and just 2% were the masterminds. “We need to see more prosecution at the higher level to have a real impact in curbing the illegal timber trade,” he said.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) set up a Container Control Program in 2003 in collaboration with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to identify high-risk containers in four countries. Since then, 40 more countries have joined the programme and another 14 are keen to participate, said Long Nguyen of UNODC.

While the programme’s main focus is to crackdown on drug trafficking, it also strives to detect illegal wildlife and timber shipments as well as shipments containing weapons, alcohol, counterfeit medicine, electronic waste, among others.

Nguyen said the programme helped Sri Lanka to seize 28 containers of illegal Madagascan rosewood worth US$7 million that was in transit from Tanzania to Hong Kong in 2014.

It also helped Dutch customs to bust an importer of West Indian mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) logs from Suriname. Trade in this species is controlled under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the shipment lacked the relevant CITES permit.

Marie Wong of the WCO Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific said the WCO has also set up ENVIRONET, an encrypted network for customs officials to share real-time information on illegal timber seizures and possible ongoing trafficking.

One of the big challenges customs officials face is identifying the tree species from which wood originates. To help address this, the UNODC last year published the Best Practice Guide for Forensic Timber Identification.

It contains detailed information for law enforcement, including rapid-field identification techniques, collecting and preserving evidence. It also includes information for scientists, such as forensic methods for timber identification and resources for acquiring reference material and data, as well as guidance for prosecutors and judges.

The guide was so popular at the 2016 Conference of Parties to CITES in South Africa that it is temporarily out of print, said Shelley Gardner, coordinator of the US Department of Agriculture Illegal Logging Program.

Dr Eleanor Dormontt, a researcher in DNA identification and forensics at the University of Adelaide, Australia, who helped developed the guide explained why it is challenging to identify illegal timber products.

“Without the leaf, flower and other parts of the tree, it’s already difficult even for wood specialists,” she said. “It’s almost impossible for customs officials to identify the species just from the bark. Another reason is illegal timber is often mixed with legal timber products.”

Dormontt urged customs officials to tell scientists which priority species they need help identifying during raids, so that more research can be dedicated to such species.

In Vietnam, the Research Institute of Forestry Industry and TRAFFIC Vietnam have produced a guide to identify 35 regulated and prohibited wood species. The guide is used as a training resource for forestry and customs officials, who have requested more and longer training sessions so that more staff can learn to identify more wood species.

“Forestry officers from illegal timber trade hotspots were especially interested,” said TRAFFIC Vietnam program officer Nguyen Thanh Thuy. “They have never used magnifiers for wood identification. Most of them relied on on-the-job experience, smelling or observation.”

TRAFFIC Global Timber Programme leader Chen Hin Keong also shared an overview of WCO timber trade guidelines that can be localised to suit the needs of domestic authorities.

“Customs officials are not supposed to work in isolation,” said Chen. “They need to be aware of the tools that will help them do their job better. As such, they also need inter-agency and stakeholder support.”

There is also a need for importing countries to do more to recognise timber trade restrictions in exporting countries, said Dr Federico Lopez-Casero from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies.

“A number of economies have banned roundwood exports,” he said. “Yet their roundwood continues to register in the import statistics of their trading partners.”

Lopez-Casero hopes more importing economies would instruct their customs official to respect such export bans and to stop granting import licences for these illegal products.

Kerstin Canby, Director of the Forest Policy, Trade and Finance Initiative at US-based non-profit Forest Trends also highlighted the importance of having stronger timber-import legislation in Asian economies.

She pointed out that countries such as Thailand, South Africa, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Mozambique, Fiji, India, Cambodia and Laos have not traditionally supplied the US and Europe, and that regulation by Asian markets would provide the trade leverage needed to incentivise legal harvesting.

Senior customs officials from the US, Canada, Russia, China and Vietnam, representatives from two voluntary certification programmes — the Program for the Endorsement of Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) — also shared their experiences of safeguarding timber legality.

More information
Presentations and more information about the workshop are available here.

The workshop was sponsored by the United States and co-sponsored by Australia, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and The Philippines. It was implemented with support from APEC, Interpol, the EU FLEGT Facility and The Nature Conservancy through the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) Program.

Piano prodigy to raise funds for autistic kids

by GAN PEI LING © The Star 17 August 2017

Charitable move: Ticket sales from Andrew’s concert will go towards raising funds for autistic children and buying a piano for his former primary school.

SERDANG: An award-winning 12-year-old music prodigy is dedicating his first solo piano concert on Sept 2 towards raising funds for autistic children and buying a piano for his former primary school.

Andrew Kuik Jie En started learning the piano at the age of seven.

He won first prize in the children’s category at the 2013 Abing­ton (Oxfordshire) Music Festival in Britain when he was eight.

Since then, he has won several prestigious piano competitions in the country, including the Steinway and Sons Youth Piano Competition (Category 2, for contestants aged 11 to 14) and the Kingsburg Inter­national Piano Competition (Inter­mediate Category) Excellent Gold Award last year.

Half of the ticket sales for his recital – priced at RM40 for each ticket – will be donated to the National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom).

“I learnt about autism through a play (adapted from British author Mark Haddon’s mystery novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) in drama class in school and I sympathise with them,” said Andrew, who enrolled in the Nexus International School in Putrajaya last year on a scholarship.

He has also met autistic children and learnt the challenges of communicating with them.

The organiser of the Steinway and Sons Youth Piano Competition, Bentley Music, will be hosting Andrew’s hour-long recital at the Bentley Music Academy in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, from 3pm to 4pm.

Andrew said they had raised about RM18,000 for Nasom and RM40,000 to buy a baby grand piano for his alma mater, SJK (C) Shin Cheng (Harcroft).

“I want to buy a new piano for the school because the existing one is very old and sounds off,” he added.

Andrew has been practising five hours a day for the past two months to give his best at the recital.

He will be playing eight classical pieces from composers such as Bach and Chopin.

To buy tickets to his recital, call Madam Chua at 010-286 6809.

His side of the story

By Razak Ahmad and Gan Pei Ling © The Star 13 August 2017

Thirty years ago, a soldier armed with an assault rifle ran amok in Kuala Lumpur. The case created an urban legend linking the rampage to a rumour against a Sultan that has never been properly addressed until now. A book based on interviews with key figures involved in the case shines a light on what really happened.

ON Oct 17, 1987, Adam Jaafar, a 23-year-old soldier with the rank of Prebet, stole an M16 rifle and a motorcycle from his army camp in Ipoh.

The army Ranger Regiment sharpshooter travelled to Kuala Lumpur at a time when political tension was high. The next night, he wrote a message on his hotel room mirror: “A damned night for Adam. Mission: to kill or be killed.”

He left his hotel and went on a shooting spree in the city’s Chow Kit area that left one person dead from a bullet ricochet and several others wounded.

Prebet Adam shot at cars and at a petrol station fuel tank which burst into flames. He eventually surrendered and at his trial, his lawyer argued a defence of temporary insanity.

The case gave rise to one of Malaysia’s most enduring urban legends – that his rampage was allegedly an act of revenge for the death of his younger brother at the hands of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Rumours went around back then that Adam’s brother was supposedly a golf caddy who had laughed when Sultan Iskandar Ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail of Johor missed a shot.

The late Sultan had supposedly hit Adam’s brother on the head with a golf club and the caddy died, according to the rumour.

It’s been three decades but the urban legend still survives, spread at first by word of mouth, then on the Internet.

Google the case and one will get a long list of results drawn from blog entries and Facebook comments, with some insisting it is true.

The urban legend on what drove Adam to run amok was raised at a forum on Monday night to discuss a book written about the case.

“It’s true Prebet Adam has a younger sibling who died, but it was a sister, who died in a fire when they were children.

“Prebet Adam did not have any sibling who died at a golf course,” said Syahril A. Kadir, the author.

His book, Konfesi Prebet Adam, was published last year by DuBook Press Sdn Bhd. It was followed by an English translation, “Amok at Chow Kit”, last month.

The book is based on interviews with key figures in the case. It includes first person accounts by Adam himself, his lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Leftenan Jeneral (R) Datuk Abdul Ghani Abdullah, the military officer who managed to persuade Adam to surrender.

Syahril, Shafee and Abdul Ghani were present at the forum but notably absent was Adam himself.

Copies of various documents are also in the book. Most striking is a signed statutory declaration by Adam in which he denied having a sibling who worked as a caddy in a golf club and who was apparently hit by Sultan Iskandar.

If the late Sultan of Johor had nothing to do with triggering Adam’s rampage, what did?

The answer lies in Adam’s traumatic childhood and abuse he later suffered in the army camp which drove him over the edge.

Adam grew up in extreme poverty. And when he was 11, he witnessed the death of his six-year-old sister Azimah during a fire that razed their squatter home in Simpang Lelong, Penang.

“She was just a few steps away from us, when suddenly the roof gave in and fell heavily on her small body,” Adam recounted to Syahril in the book.

“Azimah was found by the firemen underneath all the rubble in a devastating condition.

“One of her arms and legs were torn from her body. I could not bear to talk about the rest of her remains. My heart hurts at the thought of the pain my sister must have felt,” Adam added.

He suffered a head injury when a beam fell on him during the fire. Earlier in his teens, he suffered a wound to his head when he got into a fight in which he got hacked with a machete that left him with a three-inch scar.

Being accepted into the army brought the promise of a better future for the depressed young man.

Adam was desperate for a life of dignity but his joy over being in the army was shortlived. Having spent some time in the reserve army, Adam expected some ragging by seniors. But he did not expect the sadistic brutality they would resort to.

“My hands got burn marks from being treated as a human ashtray. I was forced to lick the bottom of a slipper like a dog and drink water mixed with soy sauce, vinegar, belacan, curry and sugar,” he recalled.

Some of his seniors would also bring their civilian friends to witness it.

He was beaten up regularly. The last straw was when his tormentors forced him to perform oral sex on one of the soldiers.

During Adam’s trial, psychiatrist Tan Sri Dr M. Mahadevan, who would examine Adam and testify in court during his three-year trial between 1988 and 1990, explained how Adam’s childhood trauma, head injuries and brutal abuse in camp had affected his mental state.

Justice Datuk Seri Shaik Daud Md Ismail in his verdict ruled that Adam was not of sound mind when he committed the shooting.

He ordered Adam to be sent for treatment at a mental hospital where he was kept for close to 10 years.

The former soldier insists that he is not seeking public sympathy by telling his life story.

What he hopes is to dispel the urban legend, clear the names of those unfairly implicated and apologise to the kin and family of the late Che Soh Che Mahmud, the young man he accidentally killed during his rampage.

“I apologise from the bottom of my heart for what had happened. I swear by the name of Allah, I never intended to shoot him.”

He has also forgiven his abusers in the army, who were subsequently tried by a court martial, found guilty, and sentenced to prison.

“To the officers who demeaned and abused me when I was in camp, I forgive them and everything they had done.

“I just hope they realise that they can do whatever it takes to produce strong and excellent soldiers, but never deny them their dignity, love and pride they have in beloved Malaysia,” said Adam.

The men behind Prebet Adam’s freedom

PREBET Adam Jaafar owes his life to two key individuals.

If it was not for Leftenan Jeneral (R) Datuk Abdul Ghani Abdullah who persuaded Adam to surrender peacefully, he could have been killed during his standoff with the police on Oct 19, 1987. And if it was not for his defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who convinced the judge he was not of sound mind when he ran amok, Adam might have been doomed for the gallows.

Abdul Ghani was the Assistant Commander for the Ground Forces Operation when he received news of a soldier going on a rampage in Chow Kit.

By the time he arrived near Wisma Sabaruddin where Adam had hid himself, sharp-shooters from the police force had positioned themselves around the vicinity.

Abdul Ghani tried using a loud hailer to persuade Adam to surrender but to no avail.

Undeterred, Abdul Ghani told Adam that his family and girlfriend wanted him to stop the madness. He volunteered to meet Adam alone.

He sent back an army officer who tried to follow him into Wisma Sabaruddin to protect him.

When he came face-to-face with Adam, he took off his bullet-proof vest to gain his trust. He addressed Adam as a Ranger.

“This act softened his heart and demeanour little by little. During the negotiation, Adam looked lost, scared and confused,” Abdul Ghani recalled in the book Konfesi Prebet Adam authored by Syahril A. Kadir.

Shafee, who is a former student of the Royal Military College (RMC), said he decided to take on Adam’s case pro bono after getting a call from a fellow lawyer and officer in the army reserve.

Shafee would spend more than RM100,000 on Adam’s case, including to hire experts like psychiatrist Tan Sri Dr M. Mahadevan to defend Adam.

“I took on Adam’s case as it was a big challenge and because he would have been hanged if I didn’t help him,” Shafee said, adding that as a former RMC student, he felt he had a responsibility to do what he could to help a military man in trouble.

One of the biggest mysteries about the case has been about the urban legend that linked the rampage to the then Sultan of Johor. This was not true.

How then, did the urban legend come about?

In the book, Adam in his own words claimed that he first heard of the allegation during a police interrogation that baffled him until now.

“Every time I was interrogated, it was always prefaced with ‘I pity you, Adam… it was because of the Agong that you’re in this state,” Adam recalled.

He did not identify who the interrogators were but explained that when he finally gave in and began nodding to the officers’ questions to implicate the royalty, the officers began theorising that his rampage was a conspiracy.

Adam claimed to the author of the book that the interrogators theorised that the conspiracy was orchestrated.

“They alleged that individuals were behind my action in a bid to divert public attention away from the problems that were plaguing the Malaysian leadership at that time,” the book quoted Adam as saying.

Asked about the conspiracy theory, Shafee said the matter was never raised in court by the prosecution. The defence also did not raise the issue.

Shafee said Adam could not remember a lot of what happened due to his state of mind at the time, and his defence partly relied on this.

“If we showed that Adam could remember such details about the interrogation, it could have prejudiced his defence.”

Shafee said that Adam’s case was investigated by the police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and that his case also involved the Internal Security Act.

“It was not the CID who were asking questions about the conspiracy.

“It was as if there was an attempt to create a presumption and plant the idea in Adam’s head that his brother was supposedly killed by the then Sultan of Johor.

“The person or people who tried to put this idea in Adam’s head knew he already had a problem with his state of mind, so someone took advantage of this.”

Shafee said after Adam’s release from Tanjung Rambutan, Adam would look him up whenever he had a case in Penang.

He said there are lessons to be learnt from the case, including the importance of listening to both sides of the story.

“To me, Adam is a victim of circumstance; all he wanted was to be good soldier but he was bullied to such an extent.”