Malaysiakini News

Hishammuddin cracks the whip on death of marine cadet

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has set up a special unit to report directly to him on matters relating to the recent death of Marine cadet, Zulfarhan Osman.

Hishammuddin said the unit, led by Armed Forces chief Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Nor would be in addition to the board of inquiry established earlier, as well as the ongoing police investigation.

He said with the establishment of the unit, he hoped to be able to interview the cadet's friends himself, as well as review things that needed to be improved in the recruit training and management system at the Military Training Academy (ALK) and the National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM) without
any bureaucracy.

"I will not limit it to just the Malaysian Armed Forces (unit established). Anyone with information can help us on two things, namely to bring the offenders to justice and see to what we need to improve and fix so that this incident does not recur," he said.

Hishammuddin, who is also Sembrong MP was speaking to reporters after visiting Zulfarhan's family today.

Hishammuddin said the unit would also ensure no one was spared in the search for truth, including lecturers who knew about the case.

"It is on-going, the important thing is we want to find the truth, and we can not set a time-frame to find the truth.

"For me, personally, everyone knows since the time I was education minister, that I take cases like these seriously," said Hishammuddin, who recently found out that Zulfarhan was also related to his family.

Meanwhile, in a statement which was distributed to the media during the visit, Hishammuddin said he was currently awaiting an investigation report from the special investigation board established by the ATM to determine the cause of the incident.

He also directed the ALK to suspend all the 32 cadets involved, pending investigations.

All of them would also be removed from service if found guilty of concealing the violence against the victim from their superiors.

In fact, he said if any officer or employee, whether from ALK or UPNM knew of the incident but did not take appropriate action, or were found negligent in performing their duties would also be held responsible, and be dismissed from service.

"I am also willing to discuss with the Ministry of Higher Education to conduct an overhaul of the management and administration staff at UPNM following this incident.

"In addition, I would like to remind all stakeholders not to exploit this issue for political purposes or to meet their personal agenda.

"This includes sowing seeds of dissension and recommending actions based on animosity and jealousy against lecturers, the top leadership of the university or any individual, without any solid justification and acting recklessly," he said in a statement.

Zulfarhan, 21, a third year electrical engineering student, died at the Serdang Hospital on June 1 after suffering bruises and burns on his body, allegedly due to torture by his university mates.

Initial investigations showed there were elements of abuse, resulting in death.

- Bernama

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