KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador have rejected the accusation levelled against them by the next-of-kin of Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim over the investigation status of the fireman’s death.

In denying that they had gone against the findings of the Coroner’s Court, Abdul Hamid said an inquest is not equivalent to a real trial but a judicial inquiry to ascertain what actually transpired in an incident through witness testimony.

Only a trial in the criminal court will be able to determine a conclusive and holistic outcome.

“Therefore, an inquest is not a proceeding whereby there are two opposing sides. In an inquest proceeding, the credibility of witnesses cannot be disputed like an impeachment proceeding.

“So the decision of the Coroner’s Court is not bound to any parties to procure new evidence and findings,” he said, adding that new evidence will determine whether the court’s decision could be supported and accepted in full.

He also insisted that the facts disclosed during a July 10 press conference were not distorted or untrue as they were based on the latest ongoing investigation findings.

“PDRM would like to stress once again that no eyewitnesses to date can truly say they saw Adib being assaulted. All of the statements obtained were opinion-based and hearsay.

“However, efforts are still ongoing to identify the perpetrators if they exist,” he said in response to the statement issued by Adib’s family.

Expressing their disappointment, Adib’s family had previously said the IGP’s remarks in updating the investigation status clearly exposed an apparent ignorance demonstrated by the IGP and PDRM towards the detailed facts of the case.

This comes after Abdul Hamid proposed the setting up of a review committee to dig deeper into the sequence of events that led to the severe injuries that killed Adib as the police did not have a strong case to charge anyone despite the inquest’s suggestion that Adib was the victim of a violent act.

In a September 2019 verdict, the Coroner’s Court had ruled that Adib’s death was due to a criminal act by two or three unidentified individuals.

The 24-year-old sustained serious injuries during a riot on November 27, 2018 at the Sri Maha Mariamman Devasthanam temple in USJ25, Subang Jaya. He eventually succumbed to his injuries at the National Heart Institute on December 17, after three weeks in intensive care.

Abdul Hamid further explained that the police could continue their investigation from all angles and approaches to probe all possibilities in order to solve the case as the inquest verdict by the Coroner’s Court functioned as a guideline for the police after taking into account all witness statements.

“There is also a probability that the further findings of the investigation may not concur with the verdict of the Coroner’s Court, especially from the viewpoint that there were no clear, definite statements that showed Adib was assaulted, inconsistent injuries sustained by Adib and conflicting expert views,” he said.

As a sign of respect to the court’s verdict, Abdul Hamid also stressed that murder investigations into Adib’s death had never been closed with 61 Investigations Papers opened since.

“Arrests will be made if there is evidence and new statements similar to what has been done before the government called for an inquest.

“The overall number of arrests stands at 108 individuals. Of that amount, 28 have been prosecuted in court over various criminal offences such as causing harm, arson, obstructing a public officer from dispensing his duties and criminal trespass,” he said.

Abdul Hamid also revealed that several issues pertaining to the case required further investigations to be conducted following the inquest’s verdict stating that Adib’s death was due to a criminal act by two or three unidentified individuals.

Among them were whether the assault had actually taken place which would have left signs of an attack based on the witnesses and expert testimonies.

“The investigating team is also looking over the issue to obtain the true suspect or any clues that may lead to an arrest.

“The team is also conducting investigations into witnesses who have provided inconsistent statements in the past three recording sessions, including other witnesses who have given their statements during the inquest as some of them have revealed new findings which must be probed further,” he said.

Last but not least, Abdul Hamid also said the issue of Adib’s dying declaration would also need to be probed further by the investigating team as it was introduced during the inquest without being challenged or its credibility authenticated.