Sabah quake: Dead Tanjong Katong Primary pupil and teacher identified through fingerprinting and personal belongings

SINGAPORE - The bodies of the remaining missing pupil and teacher from Tanjong Katong Primary School have been identified, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Wednesday.

"We are saddened to inform that the Malaysian authorities have confirmed that Navdeep Singh Jaryal s/o Raj Kumar and Mohammad Ghazi Bin Mohamed are amongst the persons who perished at Kota Kinabalu," said the statement.

MOE added that their identities were confirmed through fingerprinting and personal belongings. The fingerprint records were provided by the Singapore Police Force and the confirmation of the identities were made by the authorities in Sabah.

MOE continued in its statement: "Their next-of-kin have been informed. Their remains will return to Singapore upon completion of further forensic tests. This is expected to take some time. We will continue to provide support to the families during this difficult time."

The June 5 earthquake that struck Sabah has now claimed the lives of 10 people from Singapore - seven pupils and two teachers from Tanjong Katong Primary, and the adventure guide who accompanied them on the trip to Mount Kinabalu.

Search operations to locate Navdeep, 13, and Mr Ghazi, 35, were suspended on Monday due to heavy fog. Rescue workers had resumed their search early Tuesday morning.  

Last Saturday (June 6), Navdeep's sister had posted on Twitter that she was holding out for a miracle. She also said she was worried about how their mother would cope with his loss. 

Navdeep's father had died two years ago.

Mr Ghazi, a physical education teacher at the school, was remembered fondly by his former pupils, who recalled how he made the effort to built up a rapport with them and taught them important life values. The avid football fan was married to a fellow teacher.

Friends and colleagues took to Mr Ghazi's Facebook page, which had been filled with messages of hope, to post their condolences on Wednesday.

"A brother, a teammate, a person that was well respected by his peers," read one post.

Another wrote: "I choose to celebrate your life Ghazi. I'm so proud and honoured to have met you and I know you'll be well taken care of. Thank you - for being an outstanding teacher, a hero, and an inspiration."

Education minister Heng Swee Keat expressed his condolences in a Facebook post on Wednesday, and said that the opening hours of the tribute site at Tanjong Katong Primary School will be extended to 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday.

 

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We know now that Navdeep and Ghazi are at peace. I talked with their families yesterday, and it was so clear that Ghazi...

Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday, June 9, 2015

This is the full statement issued by MOE at 10.40am on June 10: 

We are saddened to inform that the Malaysian authorities have confirmed that Navdeep Singh Jaryal S/O Raj Kumar and Mohammad Ghazi Bin Mohamed are amongst the persons who perished at Kota Kinabalu.

Their next-of-kin have been informed. Their remains will return to Singapore upon completion of further forensic tests. This is expected to take some time. We will continue to provide support to the families during this difficult time.

We would like to express our deep appreciation to the Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces and other authorities for their support and assistance as well as the many individuals who have contributed to the search, rescue and recovery efforts of our students and teachers.

mklee@sph.com.sg