Adib inquest: Firemen ran into signal ‘blind spot’ just as riot broke out

Witness Badrul Hisham Salim attends the inquest into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim at the Shah Alam High Court February 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Witness Badrul Hisham Salim attends the inquest into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim at the Shah Alam High Court February 13, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, Feb 13 — Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) personnel despatched to the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple riots in Subang Jaya experienced a communications breakdown, running into a signal “blind spot” just as the commotion ignited, the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court heard today.

The revelation was made by Subang Jaya Bomba station Operations Chief Badrul Hisham Salleh, who took the stand as the fifth witness on the third day of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s inquest into his death during the incident last November.

Badrul Hisham explained how his fire engine’s Government Integrated Radio Network (GIRN) devices failed just as they were met by the hordes of rioters there.

He said when questioned by DPP Hamdan Hamzah, that when the crowd became rowdy, he instructed his men to remain in the vehicle, despite two of them already exited the truck, not aware of the threats around them.

“I tried to contact the EMRS (Emergency and Medical Response Service) van behind us, but the radios would not work, and that was when the crowd started hurling hard objects at us.

“Stones and sticks were thrown at the truck, cracking the windows, and that was when I instructed the two men outside to return to the truck, and for the driver to reverse and head to the Subang Jaya police district headquarters,” he said during the inquest.

Coroner Rofiah Mohd Mansor presided over the inquest, which was also attended by Muhammad Adib family’s lawyer, Mohd Kamaruzaman A. Wahab.

The breakdown in communications, a regular issue in USJ18, according to Badrul Hisham, had even caused them not to realise Muhammad Adib was not with the team when they arrived at the police headquarters.

Badrul Hisham revealed he conducted an informal roll call upon arriving at the station, and then only realised his colleague was missing.

“I was told one of the men was left behind, but I thought it could be from the pair who exited earlier.

“When I realised it was Muhammad Adib, I immediately alerted the police and asked them to head to the scene and look for him,” he said.

Badrul Hisham said multiple calls were made to Muhammad Adib’s phone to no avail, until a stranger picked up the call and told them the latter was being rushed to Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC).

He said he then rushed to SJMC with Ahmad Shahril Othman, the EMRS van driver who was with Muhammad Adib, and only then lodged a police report on the incident.

The inquest resumes tomorrow at 10.30am.