KUALA LUMPUR, June 2 — A new deputy public prosecutor (DPP) will represent the Housing and Local Government Ministry along with the Fire and Rescue Services Department in the ongoing inquest into the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the decision was reached after a meeting with Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas yesterday.
“The AG has rightly taken the position that the new DPP assigned will adopt all evidence and submissions adduced and raised in the Coroner’s Court by our previous lawyer, Syazlin Mansor.
“This will include the evidence of professor Dr Shahrom Abdul Wahid,” Zuraida said in a statement here.
The inquest is to probe the death of 24-year-old Adib who died last December 17, three weeks after he was severely injured during riots that broke out at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Subang Jaya, Selangor on November 27.
Dr Shahrom caused controversy when he became the only witness to tell the inquest that Adib sustained injuries after he was pulled from an Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) vehicle and assaulted.
Today, the minister emphasised that the DPP replacing Syazlin will act independently of the conducting officer of the inquest.
“We are in agreement that is in the interest of the Ministry and Fire Department to be represented by a DPP as well, in searching for the truth as to how one of its personnel received fatal injuries whilst on duty,” Zuraida said.
She added that the senior DPP will be selected from a list provided by the AG.
On May 27, Syazlin announced her sudden withdrawal from the inquest citing a “new turn of events”.
When officially announcing Syazlin’s withdrawal, Zuraida said it was done over concerns regarding possible conflicts of interest as the lawyer was also representing Adib’s family.
Thomas later explained that the ministry and the Fire Department should have sought legal advice from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) prior to the appointment.
The Malaysian Bar backed Thomas today by saying that Syazlin should not have been allowed to represent all three parties in the matter.
Today, Zuraida also expressed hope that the latest development will put an end to baseless speculation by irresponsible quarters and permit the inquest to continue smoothly.
She then thanked Syazlin for her services that were rendered pro bono.