Friday, October 19, 2007
KUCHING, Oct 18 (Bernama) -- The Defence Ministry (Mindef) has completed its probe into the alleged ragging incident involving trainees undergoing advanced recruit training at the Royal Malay Regiment's Pakit Camp, Sri Aman recently.
The Army's First Division (Sabah and Sarawak) Commander Lt-Jen Datuk Muhamad Effendi Mustafa said Thursday that although he could not release the details of the report, action would be taken against the trainees concerned if such allegations of bullying by several officers were found to be not true.
"If they (trainees) are found to be on the wrong side or lying because they were not prepared to undergo rigorous physical training despite wanting to join the army, action will definitely be taken against them," he told reporters during a courtesy call to Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at his office at Menara Pelita, Petra Jaya here.
Muhamad Effendi, 55, who has served in the Army over the past 37 years, will be retiring on January 8 next year after taking up his present appointment here since three years ago.
Last month, he had said that Mindef had set up a special team to investigate the case involving two trainees - Khairul Azzuwan Zainal Rashid and Zarul Fahmi - both 19, who alleged that they were verbally abused, punched, spat at, stamped on and injured by several other officers.
Between 10-20 senior army personnel were alleged to be involved in the incident.
As the trainees could no longer stand the abuse, including being forced to drink firearm cleaning fluid, they relayed the incidents to their families, who eventually lodged police reports at the Sri Aman and Sungai Maong police stations here.
However, Muhamad Effendi said parents should not get involved in their children's training programmes as they had given consent to allow them to join the army.
"Your children want to join the army because they feel that they are men and as such should settle their problems by themselves," he said, adding that some trainees, who were given combat training, had contacted their families to complain about the toughness of training they had to undergo.
He said the recent incident was an isolated case and the officers allegedly involved were now on leave.