KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Zuraida Kamaruddin today said she has the final decision on selecting a suitable lawyer to represent the Housing and Local Government Ministry as well as the Fire and Rescue Department for the inquest of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
The minister said she has discussed with the Attorney General’s Chambers, which will propose the names of several senior government lawyers to act as counsel in the ongoing inquest to replace private lawyer Syazlin Mansor.
“I have asked them to suggest two to three names, and let me pick who is to be appointed.
“So the inquest will continue this June 26, there is still time,” she was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as telling reporters in Putrajaya today.
Syazlin, a private lawyer and the wife of Zuraida’s press secretary Ahmad Soffian Mohd Shariff, abruptly withdrew from the inquest on May 27, stunning the public and sparking rumours of a conspiracy.
Zuraida had said then that the lawyer’s withdrawal was due to a conflict of interest.
Observers decried the withdrawal on the 37th day of the inquest as symbolic of the Pakatan Harapan government’s lack of coordination and incompetence for allowing the private lawyer to be appointed in the first place.
Accused of interference, Attorney General Tommy Thomas was forced to publicly explain the conflict of interest in the engagement of a private lawyer to represent the government while also acting for the fireman’s family.
Thomas also said Syazlin had taken a position contrary to federal counsel acting for the government during the inquest, causing confusion.