Tuesday, October 15

Tragic end to military demonstration

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Commando shot dead in a simulated firefight using live bullets at the launch of Infantry Brigade, Division

Army medical personnel administer first aid to Mohd Zahir after he was shot during the launch gimmick in Lok Kawi, Sabah yesterday. — Bernama photo

KOTA KINABALU: Spectators including members of the media who witnessed the launch of the Fifth Division Infantry and 13th Infantry Brigade at Lok Kawi Camp near here yesterday morning were shocked the demonstration ended in a tragedy which took the life of a commando.

As announced by the master of ceremony, the gimmick saw a clash between a group of terrorists with the armed forces using live bullets as the last item in the event to show security forces defeating a terrorist group.

All of them were wearing bullet-proof vest while acting in the demonstration.

A member of 11th Regiment special unit, Major Mohd Zahir Armaya played the role of the terrorist head.

The Bernama reporter covering the event saw Mohd Zahir firing a shot from a pistol at an army officer, causing him to fall to his knees in pain.

After that, the officer stood up and fired a shot using a pistol at Mohd Zahir who had a red liquid bottle target on back of his bullet-proof vest.

The shot caused Mohd Zahir to fall and two army personnel then pulled him to the side of the parade field.

Mohd Zahir appeared unconscious and was believed to have sustained serious injuries.

An army medical team at the ceremony later gave him first aid before sending the victim to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu.

Mohd Zahir was pronounced dead at the hospital at about 9.20am.

The late commando who was a father of five children aged between five months and nine years, was from Kuala Lumpur.

He was the son of veteran actor A.R Badul.

Meanwhile, A.R Badul, whose real name is Armaya Aman Ramlie, accepted the death of his son as a test from God.

A.R Badul said he was shocked when he was informed by his daughter-in-law about the incident.

“I received the news this morning (yesterday) and was shocked and sad. But I take it as a test from Allah.

“We were very close and he had contacted and met me before. I was told that the bullet went a little further than the bullet-proof plaque and hit his body,” he said when contacted.

In Kuala Lumpur, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu asked the people not speculate on the incident.

He said the people should wait for the post-mortem report and respect the sensitivity of the late commando’s family, adding the ministry had conveyed its sympathy and condolences to the family of the late soldier on the incident.

“I hope the late army officer’s family would be brave in their hours of loss and we at the ministry are saddened by the event and fully sympathise with the family,” he said in a statement.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah expressed their condolences to the family of Mohd Zahir.

In a statement issued by Istana Negara yesterday, their Majesties expressed their sympathies and sadness to the family of the late Mohd Zahir and hoped that they were strong in facing the sadness and test of Allah SWT.

“Both their Majesties pray that his soul will receive the blessings of Allah SWT and be placed among the believers,” the statement added.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who is the supreme commander of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), also expressed his appreciation on the deeds and contributions of the late Mohd Zahir who had served as a commando officer.

The Sabah government also expressed its condolences to family the late Mohd Zahir.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in a statement in Kota Kinabalu called on the late army commando’s family to be brave and patient over the tragic news.

“Let us pray for his soul to be placed among the pious. “Al Fatihah,” he said. — Bernama