Another death at national service camp (See FreeMalaysiaToday)

Despite complaining of fever for three days, R Vinoth was only sent to hospital over the weekend where he succumbed to ‘rat fever’

PETALING JAYA: The Defence Ministry was urged to launch a probe on the Terlok National Service Camp in Perak following the death of one of its trainees yesterday.

Hindraf youth chief, S Thiagarajan said the 18-year-old trainee, R Vinoth, was admitted to the Sungai Siput general hospital on Saturday after suffering from fever for three days.

“On Sunday, the parents visited him and requested Vinoth to be sent to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur for treatment.

“However, the camp commandant rejected the parents’ request, saying Vinoth was still under the care of his camp,” claimed Thiagarajan.

Vinoth succumbed to his illness and passed away yesterday.

Thiagarajan said the doctor had informed that family that the youth had succumbed to leptospirosis, or commonly known as the ‘rat fever”

Leptospirosis is caused by exposure to the Leptospira bacteria, which can be found in fresh water contaminated by animal urine.

The doctors today stated that the official cause of Vinoth’s death was due to virus fever.

Quarantine Terlok camp

Thiagarajan said the family was not satisfied with the first post mortem report and had requested for a second one which is scheduled for today.

He also criticised the camp commandant for his apathy and said Vinoth could have been saved if the latter was sent for treatment sooner.

“When asked for an explanation, the commandant refused and sent his lower level officers to talk to us,” said Thiagarajan, who added the family has yet to receive the post-mortem report.

On a related matter, Hindraf supremo, P Uthayakumar, urged Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to quarantine the Terlok camp and send the trainees for immediate medical check ups.

“The doctors must check all the trainees in the camp whether they are suffering from any symptoms of leptospirosis and provide the necessary treatment,” said Uthayakumar.

He also said that the government should appoint an in-house physician at all national service camps in Malaysia, who will be on-call for 24 hours to avoid such deaths in the future.

“As for Vinoth, he should be accorded a military funeral as he died under the care of the camp,” he said.

Since the introduction of the national service in 2004, there have been about 17 fatalities reported, with 12 trainees dying in the camps and five more during breaks or within days of completing the programme