Naval cadet was disoriented before he died

IPOH: The late naval cadet officer J. Soosaimanicckam (pic) looked frozen when he was found in the bathroom under the shower prior to his death, a Coroner’s Court here has heard.

Lt-Muda duty officer R. Rashwin, who at the time was attached to the KD Sultan Idris 1 (KDSI 1) camp in Lumut, said Soosaimanicckam had looked tired and disoriented during training just before the bathroom episode.

Rashwin said a few minutes into training, Soosaimanicckam had 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 looking blankly ahead.

“That was when I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk, and together we walked to the cadets’ hostel,” he said yesterday before Sessions Court judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad, who sat as the coroner.

The Coroner’s Court is probing the cause of the cadet’s death during his training stint 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, Evangelin Simon Silvaraj is prosecuting, and lawyer Cheang Lek Choy is holding a watching brief for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.

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

“I saw him standing inside a toilet cubicle under the shower, like ‘frozen’. With the help of other cadets, we helped him to a waiting car, and while walking, he asked me why there was training on Saturdays.

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

Kapt 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 two or three cadets who had to leave mid-training.

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

“So what were the reasons these cadets out of the blue suffered from kidney failure?” asked Zaid.

To this, Kapt Jamsari replied that heat stroke was among the main reasons.

In earlier proceedings, witnesses said Soosaimanicckam suffered from kidney failure.

Cheang asked Kapt Jamsari about the hours the cadets were required to train under the sun, the latter replied: “About three hours.”

“Is it usual for cadets to sustain injuries on their knees, elbows due to training like those suffered by Soosaimanicckam?” he asked.

Kapt Jamsari said it was part of the normal training, and it was possible that other cadets would suffer the same kind of injuries too.

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

The inquest continues on Sept 27 to 29.

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