PETALING JAYA, May 28 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said lawyer Syazlin Mansor ought to have stayed on as defense counsel for firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s family, and withdraw from representing the government.
He felt it was inappropriate for Syazlin to represent both parties at the inquest into Adib’s cause of death.
“She was the lawyer for Adib’s family, then lawyer for the government as well. How can that be?” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference following Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s weekly meeting at its headquarters.
The prime minister said when it was realized Syazlin would represent the government as well, she ought to have been removed from doing so but kept on to represent Adib’s family.
“Instead now she has withdrawn from both sides, when she should be seeking out the truth behind Adib’s death,” he said.
Dr Mahathir also refused to interfere, as it should be left up to the discretion of Attorney General Tommy Thomas.
“Now the prime minister no longer has power over the courts.
“If we do not trust the courts to make a decision, then who else do we trust?” he said.
Yesterday, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin announced Syazlin’s withdrawal from the inquest over concerns regarding a conflict of interest.
Thomas explained today that Syazlin had taken an active role that is contrary to the position of the deputy public prosecutors.
He also said that the Attorney General’s Chambers has no problem with her representing Adib’s estate, but Syazlin had insisted on withdrawing.
Dr Mahathir dismissed today calls for Thomas to be fired over Syazlin’s withdrawal, saying the usual quarters are going at this for no reason.
When asked who should be held responsible for this, he said the lawyer was agreed upon by Minister Zuraida.
“The minister did not know the lawyer was representing Adib’s family, so you want me to sack Zuraida as well?” he joked.