JOHOR BARU, June 4 — There were already some tell-tale signs that something was not right with the late naval cadet officer Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain days prior to his death.
The 21-year-old National Defence University of Malaysia (Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia — UPNM) undergraduate had called his parents two days before he died (May 30) to inform them he would not be returning home for Ramadan.
“He called me to say that he couldn’t make it back home to Johor Baru due to some unforeseen engagements with his squad mates in university.
“I shrugged it off as a minor sickness as my son was prone to falling sick with flu.
“But now I suspect that he may have been abused at that time and did not want to return home due to his injuries,” said father Zulkarnain Idros when met at his home in Bandar Uda Utama yesterday.
The 53-year-old father of four said Zulfarhan was a quiet child and would usually not complain if he faced tough situations.
“He is the type who will not burden family members with problems and will overcome any difficulties by himself,” he said, adding that he last saw his son in May.
Zulkarnain said the family was still saddened by what had happened.
His wife Hawa Osman, 54, and his son’s siblings have yet to come to terms with the tragic death.
“We are all sad and miss Zulfarhan as usually at this time of the year (Ramadan), he will return and spend some time with the family before leaving for his studies.
“My wife had already prepared his grey baju Raya for the celebrations,” said Zulkarnain while showing a favourite photograph of him, his wife and Zulfarhan in uniform. Zulfarhan was laid to rest at the Jalan Kebun Teh Muslim cemetery on Friday night.
The 21-year-old UPNM undergraduate, believed to be a victim of torture, was pronounced dead at Serdang Hospital in Selangor on Thursday night.
Zulkarnain said he and his family would like to seek justice as his son died in a tragic manner.
“Based on the events leading to my son’s death, I will be engaging a lawyer to lodge a police report and also possibily take legal action.
“Inshallah (God willing), I will lodge a police report with guidance from a legal counsel soon,” he said.
Zulkarnain said it was unfortunate that Zulfarhan had to go through so much pain for something that could have been avoided.
“We want some form of justice for those responsible for my son’s death. “It is possible that the police report will be against my son’s peers that are alleged to have caused his death and also the university’s administration,” he said.