Naval cadet looked tired, disoriented before death, Coroner’s Court told

IPOH: The late naval cadet officer J. Soosaimanicckam was looking tired and disoriented the morning prior to his death, a Coroner’s Court here heard.

Leftenan Muda duty officer R. Rashwin, who was previously attached to KD Sultan Idris 1 (KDSI 1) camp in Lumut, said Soosaimanicckam looked tired during training.

Rashwin said a few minutes into training, Soosaimanicckam told him that he was tired, and asked for a break.

“I told him to sit on a bench, and asked him three times if he needed to go to the hospital.

“However, he answered no, and after 10 minutes sitting on the bench, he still did not look well.

“I found it weird as to why he was so tired, and he was just staring blankly; and that is when I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk, and together, we walked until the cadet’s hostel,” he said before Sessions Court judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad who sat as Coroner.

The Coroner’s Court is probing the cause of the cadet’s death during training at the naval base on May 19, 2018.

Soosaimanicckam was pronounced dead at the Lumut Armed Forces Hospital.

He had reported for duty on May 12, a week before his death.

Zaid Abd Malek, who is part of Lawyers for Liberty, is representing Soosaimanicckam’s family, DPP Evangelin Simon Silvaraj is the inquest's handling officer while Human Rights Commission of Malaysia’s watching brief lawyer is Cheang Lek Choy.

When questioned by Zaid on what happened inside the hostel before he was brought to the hospital, Rashwin said he found him in the toilet.

“I saw him standing inside a toilet cubicle under the shower like he was ‘frozen’.

“Immediately with the help of other cadets, he was brought to the waiting car, and while walking, he asked me why there was training on Saturdays.

“I told him it is part of the training schedule, and he told me that I am a good officer before collapsing,” he added.

Rashwin said compared to other trainees, Soosaimanicckam was on the heavier side, and a bit unfit compared with the rest.

Captain Jamsari Tahir, who was the chief coach and commanding officer at the time of the incident, said there were a few other cadets in the same batch whose services were terminated due to health reasons.

He said there were about two or three cadets who had to leave in the middle of training.

When Zaid asked what the cadets were suffering from, Jamsari said kidney failure.

“So what are the reasons that these cadets suddenly suffer from kidney failure,'' asked Zaid.

To this, Jamsari replied it was probably due to heat stroke being the main reason.

Cheang asked Jamsari on the hours required for the cadets to train under the sun, to which he replied about three hours.

“Is it usual for cadets to sustain injuries on their knees and elbows due to training like the one Soosaimanicckam suffered, '' he asked.

Jamsari said that was part of the normal training, and there is a huge possibility that other cadets would suffer the same kind of injuries as well.

Cheang also asked Jamsari if he knew or heard about Soosaimanicckam being bullied, to which he replied, no.

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