The death of two Navy personnel at the detention center was initially classified as sudden death. Nevertheless, post-mortem report revealed injuries caused by blunt force trauma, prompting the police to reclassify the case as murder.
Three Navy personnel were subsequently detained to assist in investigation.
That was not all, it was later found that two other Navy personnel suffered similar injuries and two more officers on duty were detained, meaning there are now five suspects under detention.
It is shocking to learn of such heinous murders in an institution known for its strict adherence to discipline. There have been calls from the unbelieving public for thorough investigation to bring those responsible to book.
From what we know, one of the victims Nik Muhammad Baihaqy Nik Mat was supposed to be detained by the Navy for 45 days for skipping his duties while another victim Muhammad Laila Tuiman was punished for not reporting for duty without consent.
No matter how serious their offenses were, no one could take the law into their own hands. Malaysia is a country ruled by law and everything must go according to the law. Moreover, such lawless things should not have happened in a disciplined institution in the first place.
There are doubts over how the duo died in custody in the Navy. Who were the perpetrators? Why had no one observed anything unbecoming or attempted to stop the violence?
All these questions will only be answered following thorough police investigation. Anyway, those involved in such iniquity must be sanctioned by the law.
Even though this is merely an isolated case, it has nevertheless dealt a severe blow on the image of the Royal Malaysian Navy. The authorities must look into this issue seriously and take the necessary measures to protect the rights of Navy personnel as well as the reputation of the naval force.
This incident has also highlighted the problems in the Navy’s internal management that warrant a complete and thorough review of the existing SOP in disciplinary actions on offenders on the part of the relevant authorities.
A transparent and comprehensive punitive mechanism must be set up to ensure the personal safety of those subjected to disciplinary actions. In the meantime, a monitoring mechanism must also be put in place to make sure similar incidents will not happen again in future.
Although we cannot bring back the deceased, justice must be done and a more transparent and comprehensive system adopted following thorough investigation of the unfortunate incident.