Death of NSF Dave Lee: Committee of Inquiry convened, chaired by MOE cluster superintendent

Death of NSF Dave Lee: Committee of Inquiry convened, chaired by MOE cluster superintendent

NSF Lee Han Xuan Dave wake (1)
A framed photo of NSF Dave Lee at his wake on May 2, 2018. (Photo: Howard Law) 

SINGAPORE: A Committee of Inquiry (COI) has been convened to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of full-time national serviceman Dave Lee, said the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) on Wednesday (May 2).

It will be chaired by a cluster superintendent from the Ministry of Education (MOE), and one of the committee's members is a medical specialist from the public healthcare sector.

The police will also conduct investigations independently, and depending on the outcome, a coroner's inquiry may be held, said MINDEF in a media release. 

It added: "The COI has full powers and access to information and personnel to investigate the circumstances leading to the death, determine the contributory factors and make recommendations to rectify any lapses uncovered."

The 19-year-old Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Guardsman died on Monday, nearly two weeks after he was hospitalised with "signs of heat injury" upon completing an 8km fast march in Bedok Camp on the morning of Apr 18. 

In its media release, the ministry revealed that a safety timeout for all training was declared on Apr 30. Training resumed on Wednesday after a review to ensure that all appropriate safety measures are in place. 

"The SAF takes the safety of our servicemen seriously and will make things right if there are inadequacies uncovered," said MINDEF. "The Army is committed to ensuring that our soldiers train realistically and safely."

COIs are convened for every training-related death, and are chaired by a senior civil servant from outside the Ministry of Defence.

MINDEF said it has implemented recommendations from previous COIs to improve the SAF's safety systems and processes. These include the setting up of the External Review Panel on SAF Safety, which comprises safety experts and professionals from outside the SAF. 

The military funeral of the young soldier, who was accorded posthumous recognition of the rank of Corporal First Class, will take place on Saturday.

Said MINDEF: "The Army’s focus is on rendering assistance and support to the family of the late CFC Dave Lee during this period of grief. An SAF Family Liaison Officer has been assigned to support the family. Family Support Officers and counsellors from the SAF Counselling Centre are also on standby to support."

Source: CNA/gs/hs