PETALING JAYA • A 21-year-old university student was bound, beaten and burned with a steam iron for two days leading to his death - all because of a dispute over a laptop.
When Malaysian National Defence University (UPNM) student Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain was finally rushed to hospital last Thursday, doctors found 80 per cent of his body covered in bruises and burn marks.
The two young men who took the final-year navy cadet officer to hospital - his supposed friends - have been arrested.
Police also nabbed 34 other students - 30 from UPNM and four from Universiti Tenaga Nasional.
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Mr Zulfarhan was a third year electrical engineering student at the military-run university.
The case is being treated as a murder investigation, said Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil Ahmat, chief of Selangor's Criminal Investigation Department.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has instructed both the armed forces and UPNM to probe the case. "I cannot imagine the family of the deceased receiving this sad news. I pray they are given strength and perseverance by Allah on their loss," he said.
Mr Zulfarhan was buried in Johor Baru last Friday evening, Berita Daily news site reported yesterday.
A source told The Star that Mr Zulfarhan was beaten and tortured with a belt, rubber hose, steam iron and clothes hanger by his university friends on May 20 and May 21.
"A week later, on May 27, two of his batch mates drove the victim to a clinic in Bangi for treatment. They brought him to the clinic again on May 31," the source said.
He was still alive when he was taken last Thursday to Serdang Hospital in Bangi, at the southern edge of Kuala Lumpur, but died two hours later at 10pm.
The armed forces said in a statement that it views the matter seriously and will take stern action against those involved.
Netizens sent in condolences and asked for justice for the young cadet officer. Facebook user Mohd Muslim Abdul Mujid said: "His intention to be in the armed forces was to defend the country... My condolences to his family."
The victim's uncle, Mr Sanip Ngadi, 65, said he was devastated when he heard the news. "I hope a thorough investigation will be carried out and those who are responsible for his death are punished," he said, as relatives and neighbours gathered at Mr Zulfarhan's house.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK