COI on death of Dave Lee should look beyond just the commanders in charge that day

It would seem that the preliminary findings by a Committee of Inquiry (COI) looking into the untimely death of the late Corporal First Class (CFC) Dave Lee has concluded that there have been lapses in procedure which contributed to the tragedy.  Following the Parliamentary session, Minister for Defense, Mr Ng Eng Hen stated that “those responsible for the lapses will be punished after police investigations conclude” He further added that  “if no criminal charges were filed, the Defence Ministry would prosecute persons responsible for lapses in the military court.”

While I am heartened that this may provide some semblance of closure for the Lee family, I can only hope that the people punished will indeed be the ones that were 100% responsible for CFC Dave’s death and not just scapegoats pulled out to front the punishment for what was caused by a larger systemic problem.

This is not the first death to occur during national service nor will it, I fear, be the last. While there may have been lapses in judgement on the part of the officers in charge of CSC Dave, they were probably only following a practice of doing things that they were themselves subjected to. If they are to be punished, what about those at the very top that allowed this type of practice to go on in the first place?

This is a serious incident. Someone’s life has been cut down in his prime. Shouldn’t there be some semblance of responsibility at the top? I sincerely hope that this will not be a “punish some 20 year old officer who is also serving his national service and then case close”. At the end of the day, we must remember that these are simply late teens policing each other. It is the authority figures with their fancy titles that come up with policy, practice and procedure. To what extent did those higher ups do their part to ensure that proper procedure was inculcated in the officers? There may be so called proper procedure on paper but to what extent were these implemented? Were the officers running that fateful exercise simply doing exactly what was done to them?

The COI needs to go beyond just that day to get the answers to these questions.

Let us not forget the death of Pte Dominique Sarron Lee. The family shared with TOC that similar to Pte Lee’s case, it was revealed through the coroner’s inquiry that the medics were not proficient in dealing with the injuries sustained and they did not have the equipment on hand with them. This is coupled with the delays in sending Pte Lee immediately to the hospital for treatment.

A family member of Pte Lee said, “…we do feel that MINDEF has not learnt anything. After 3SG Tan and Dominique’s death, Ng Eng Hen said that they set up a safety inspectorate to enhance safety. Heat injury takes time to manifest and yet they allowed it to happen. What has the safety inspectorate been doing? We have seen MINDEF at work. They do not walk the talk. They do not feel any pain for the deceased or their families, they only feel the pain of more work handling the public uproar. ”

Pte Lee’s family fought hard to try to find answers as to how the errant officers involved in his death were dealt with and how the army had improved its operation since Pte Lee’s death, but Mindef refused to share with the family. They only got to know what happened to the officers after pursuing through their legal suit, which is one-year deferment to their promotion but in the end, they never got to see the full report of the COI which they had asked for. All they got, was the truncated report which Dr Ng recited in Parliament in response to public concern.

If we simply stop at the officers that day, the true systemic problem may never be resolved and this could lead to more unnecessary fatalities.

As CFC Dave’s mother, Jasmine Lee, poignantly said: “I see army boys and boys of Dave’s age every day… Maybe tears collected can form a reservoir by now…..I just want to let all officers involved know that my son meant the world to me; my family portraits will never be complete.”

This was someone’s life and someone’s son with so much unfulfilled potential lost. To honour his life and that of others who have tragically died in service, I can only hope that the COI looks beyond the officers and thoroughly investigates common practices of “tekan” which are routinely meted out. These will not be on paper but yet they are condoned and even encouraged by the seniors or “lau jiao” as we call them. While the officers’ actions did cause the death of this young man, they were perhaps only carrying out actions that were done to them in their time.

It is the entire practice that needs to be overhauled. This goes beyond punishing individuals.


by Ghui




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14 Responses to “COI on death of Dave Lee should look beyond just the commanders in charge that day”

  • rukidding:

    Sinkaporeans are “cheap labor and slaves”…..all “expendable” !

    The faster they “drop out”…..the better these Pimps and prostitues “enjoys”…because…they will have “one more New sillyzeans” to add into their Vote Bank account !

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  • harakiri for others only lah:

    when clown pap clan member, the malaysian who elak Singapore NSF NSR, said in parleement about being responsible and cited Japan harakiri for their top man, we actually applauded that there is such thinking in clown pap clan member.


    what he meant was, harakiri for the top man of others.

    when it comes to himself, or his other clan members, such as the ng eng hen, the harakiri does not apply.

    with such shit in charge, no wonder Singapore is sinking.

    from 1st world to 3rd world in less than 15 years. WTF.

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  • Harder Truths:

    I have heard and seen this kind of bulls*ht before too many times during NSF. Nothing really changes.

    All will be covered up. No one will be punished except some of the lower ranks who take the blame (rightly or wrongly).

    Just want to know from the boy’s parents who they will vote for next election.

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  • SCDF's Case is Worse!:

    Let’s see what happens next?

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  • Loong Jik Ark:

    The defence minister is only too relief to reveal the COI report as the fault is on the persons responsible for lapses in the incident and they are the commanders, not the officers nor the minister.

    As long as those higher-ups in the army are not held responsible, Dave will not be the last victim. Those highly paid elites at the top will never feel the pain of the parents who have lost their sons. More unfortunate incidents are waiting to happen if those on top can always conveniently blame those below.

    No change, more pain!

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  • another:

    High pay means greater responsibilities. Only 70% cannot understand this… High pay…Run away and hide and blame their men.

    What a bunch of losers…And they want to lead you to fight…Nobody will believe these generals.

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  • Another wayang:

    Another wayang n this time it is on pak nan e kiah si biao liao case. Any COI consisting of members from the harem of plps as most citizens expected to have predicted foregone conclusions one for the case involing a non white horse, n one for white horses. The later case is unlikely for the simple reason of white horse with a prefab future there n future as generals r normally so rewarded.

    In most civilized nation, any public equiry committee setup invariably at least half of the commottee members r from adversed political citizen critics n members of the opposition political parties to give it credibility of fair hearing, not guided as would be construed if the whole is filled with plps who not only beholden but will bootlick as they r expected to do as dedicated n loyal members of the harem. This is why conflict of interests is strictly observed in appointment to public institution not like what Anton Casey ally in the harem who dismissed it on groind of “success” perhaps success in plp n big lp.

    This is e same as checks n balances which the Anton Casey supporter’s big lp claimed can be achieved self executed. Such mentality cannot be that of an intelligent man with deep sense of human values.
    Nothing can be good if it has to be done in darkness or by plps.

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  • Bapak:

    Minister of Defense should resign. He appointed the wrong Chief of Staff who appointed the wrong General in-charge of that camp, who appointed the wrong Commander who appointed the wrong and untrained Officers.

    Simply put it is the responsibility of the higher ranking personnel to make sure those appointed by them to run the system must be well trained. If they are not trained, that mean the upper ranks are not competent enough to hold the job. And they dare to claim all these paper generals are so brilliant, scholar, never make mistake??? F*CK YOU PAP!

    Responsibility goes all the way up. Just look at Japan and South Korea, they adopt such practices. WTF, in Sinkland nothing of this sort is adopted.

    And for appointing a medical doctor to run defense, Pinky must resign too.

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  • Sad state of affairs:

    Min of def is equally if not more responsible.
    Just like everything else in our country, many lapses n breakdowns.
    Didnt watch The Clown’s ND speech. No use. Just big fat promises thats not being followed up ..

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  • Irene Vanessa Wan Si Hung:

    Actually, not only SAF gave this tekan culture, if you worked in civil service, you might have a boss also like to step on people’s feelings with personal attacks.

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  • N.Jungne:

    Elark until cannot elark at all, got to admit.

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  • Blind Leading Blind:

    PAP government conscripting young lads because they are impressionable and controllable, using them as as a cheap labour source and a tool for paper generals to exercise for their own career progression.
    As long as PAP is in government, such unfortunate mishaps will continue to occur, because the system of unaccountability and ineptness has already been institutionalized where corrupt stakeholders cover each other’s arses.
    This disease spreads rapidly to other parts of the state organs as useless paper generals are transplanted to helm other government ministries.
    The PAP government is already terminally ill.
    The rot starts right from the top, with the dishonorable clown leading the pack. He will never be able to set things right because he himself is from the same mould and he will never be able to disinherit the very system that he is brought up in.

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  • LIONS:

    he is just a TALK-COCK HEN!

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  • another:

    They force you to conscript at 18 so they can bully your kids. Adopt the S Korean system and let citizens choose conscription age subject to max of 25 years old.

    When they are older, they will know how to voice out and stand up to any abuse of power.

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