SHAH ALAM: The Bar Council wants to participate in the probe to determine the cause of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s death as it wants to uphold the cause of justice, lawyer Cyrus Tiu Foo Woei.
The lawyer said Adib’s death had become a public interest case and the council could assist coroner Rofiah Mohamad reach a correct finding in the inquiry.
“We want to be accorded the status of an interested party as the council’s existence is to protect and assist the public in all matters touching on the law,” he told FMT.
In his submission earlier, Tiu told the coroner that Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was reported to have told the media that lawyers linked to One City Development Sdn Bhd had engaged a group of men to “encroach, take over and secure” the temple on the night of Nov 26.
Rofiah will decide on Jan 31 whether the council and the Sri Maha Mariamman temple task force could participate in the proceedings scheduled to begin on Feb 11.
Adib’s family and the housing and local government ministry have already been declared as interested parties, meaning their counsel can question witnesses during the inquest proceedings.
Suhakam is allowed to hold a watching brief and their lawyers can seek clarification from witnesses but with the permission of the coroner.
Adib, 24, was severely injured during the violence at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25.
He had been part of the response team sent from the Subang Jaya fire and rescue station following reports of burning vehicles early on Nov 27.
He died at the National Heart Institute three weeks later on Dec 17.
Meanwhile, lawyer M Visvanathan said the investigation before the coroner was held to determine under what circumstances the firemen died during the riots.
He said the authorities need to clarify if Adib’s death, which was initially classified as murder, had been converted into a sudden death report.
“An inquest cannot be held if the police are still investigating the case as murder,” he said, adding that the court proceedings would be seen as improper if it was clearly known how Adib died but the authorities did not know who the perpetrators were.
Visvanathan, who had represented families of victims who died in police custody, hoped the interested parties would be given all documents, including the post-mortem on Adib, so that they could assist the coroner in the law and facts.