KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Former chief justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad has claimed that Attorney General (AG) Tommy Thomas has no business determining whether a lawyer faces conflict of interest in the inquest into fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death.
Writing in Malay daily Utusan Malaysia today, Abdul Hamid said the decision whether such a thing happens is down to lawyer Syazlin Mansor herself, who had initially represented Adib’s family, the Fire Department and the Housing and Local Government Ministry all at once.
“The issue is about a lawyer (in this case, Syazlin) who should not represent a particular party if she is concerned that there will be a conflict of interest.
“It is not about whether the AG thinks Syazlin will face a conflict of interests when she represents the three parties,” Abdul Hamid said.
He also pointed out that Syazlin would know better if there was a conflict of interest between the three parties she was representing.
Just a few days before the inquest wrapped up, Syazlin had announced that she was withdrawing from representing all three parties.
On June 12, Syazlin said she was returning to represent Muhammad Adib’s family in the inquest, after the late fireman’s family had asked her to continue representing them.
Abdul Hamid latched on to a popular conspiracy theory that the AG might not have agreed with the testimony by retired pathologist Prof Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid, an expert witness called by Syazlin.
Dr Shahrom was the only witness who testified that Adib had likely been pulled from his van and beaten up by the mob during riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Subang Jaya last November.
“If there was a conflict of interest, Syazlin was the one who should be responsible, not the AG.
“The conflict of interest was an excuse that was given at the wrong place in order to remove Syazlin from representing the Housing and Local Government Ministry and Fire Department,” he explained.
The former chief justice also asked if the ministry and Fire Department were forsaking their responsibilities towards an employee who died in the line of duty.