On 29 September, Friday, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) issued a statement saying that two of its sailors died while in the detention unit in Sungai Wangi, Sitiawan in Perak
According to the statement by RMN, which stated that the sailors appeared to be exhausted, were vomiting and having breathing difficulties, both the sailors were of Able Seaman rank. They were identified as 28-year-old Mohd Baihaqy Nik Mat, and 26-year-old Muhammad Lailal Tuiman Mohd Sukri.
"The two had complained of exhaustion after undergoing physical training according to the standard operating procedures (SOP). They were immediately told to rest and then were returned to the detention unit," RMN said.
The Royal Malaysian Navy, in its statement, had said that the cause of death was under police investigation and that RMN would give its full co-operation to assist in the probe
"We will give our full cooperation to the police. The investigation board will scrutinise the existing standard operating procedures (SOP) and if there had been any breach, RMN will not compromise or harbour the culprit," it said, adding that an initial examination by the doctor on duty found no sign of physical trauma or abuse on their bodies.
The family of Mohd Baihaqy, however, has questioned the official account of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of both the men and have demanded full disclosure
His widow, 28-year-old Noor Bazlin Mohammad, who is reportedly incredulous over RMN's official account, has pointed out that both men were of Able Seaman rank.
"I find it peculiar that both of them experienced breathing difficulties (as reported) at the same time. While we (the family) accept the death as fate, we will not remain silent if (it is discovered that a) criminal element (was involved). (We) would be ready to take action," Noor Bazlin was quoted as saying by NST Online.
According to the widow, Baihaqy had called her at 11.41pm on Wednesday saying that he would be detained for reporting late for duty for the second time.
"He asked me not to worry about him and to take care of our children. He asked if I could come visit him in Lumut.
"My worst fear has become reality. I received news of his death three days later," NST Online reported Noor Bazlin, who is a mother of three children, as saying.
Why were both the sailors were in custody/detention?
The two men were facing disciplinary action, according to SAC Gan.
While Baihaqy was on 45-day detention after being found guilty under Section 58 of the Armed Forces Act 1972 for failure to perform his duties, Lailal Tuiman was detained for failing to report for duty without prior leave approval.
"Baihaqy was also under investigation for suspected drug abuse, pending report from the Chemistry Department, while Lailal Tuiman was temporarily detained there since Thursday. He was to be sent to Kuala Lumpur for further action," SAC Gan was quoted saying by NST Online, adding that they were not friends and served in different units.
The body of the RMN sailor Mohd Baihaqy was buried in a military ceremony at the Kampung Limbat Muslim cemetery in Pasir Tumboh earlier today, 1 October. The burial was witnessed by family members, villagers and RMN officers.
1. The police, which had classified the case as "sudden death", reclassified as murder, saying a post-mortem at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital mortuary in Perak found that there were signs of abuse and injuries on their bodies
Perak CID Chief Senior Asst Comm Gan Tian Kee said the police classified the case as murder based on the report of the post-mortem, which revealed that they were tortured.
From these findings, the investigations are classified under Section 302 of the Penal Code,” the CID Chief said in a statement earlier today, 1 October.
The post-mortem findings directly contradict what the RMN had said that their doctor on duty found "no sign of physical trauma or abuse on their bodies."
2. The post-mortem revealed that both Mohd Baihaqy and Muhammad Lailal Tuiman died due to bleeding in the lungs and blunt force trauma on the soft tissue, SAC Gan said
3. Three men, aged between 29 and 44, were arrested
SAC Gan said police have arrested the three men based on the latest information on Saturday at 9.30pm, 30 September.
"All three who were arrested were working on Friday between 10am and 10pm. They will be remanded to assist investigations," he said, adding that police recorded the statements of eight detainees at the location, and 11 guards who were on duty during the incident, reported theSundaily.
"We have also seized a CCTV set, seven batons, one duty log book, a standard operating procedure book and several mobile phones," he added.