Court refuses suspension of Adib inquest

Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s name on the organisational chart at the Subang Jaya fire and rescue station.

PUTRAJAYA: The inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim will proceed according to schedule following the Court of Appeal’s refusal today to grant an interim stay to the Sri Maha Mariamman temple task force.

A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Umi Kalthum Abdul Majid said the inquest should proceed as it is of public interest.

“There are contentious issues to be determined, therefore the inquest should not be stayed,” she said.

The bench, which consists of Umi Kalthum, Harminder Singh Dhaliwal and Stephen Chung, also set March 4 to hear the stay application.

This is to allow the Attorney-General’s Chambers to file an affidavit in reply to the task force’s application to stay the inquest pending its appeal in the Court of Appeal.

It is also to allow the task force to clarify its legal position to bring an action in its capacity as an interested party in the inquest.

Lawyer M Visvanathan, who appeared for the task force, had applied for a temporary stay pending the hearing of the actual stay.

However, deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar objected as the inquest had been scheduled to run until April 12.

The task force filed the stay to suspend the inquiry on Feb 13, pending the disposal of an appeal against the High Court decision refusing them status as an interested party in the inquest.

Visvanathan said the stay application had been accompanied by a certificate of urgency.

He added that his client’s appeal would be meaningless if the inquest before coroner Rofiah Mohamad were to continue.

Thirteen out of 30 witnesses have given evidence so far over a period of eight days.

On Feb 8, High Court judge Abd Karim Abd Rahman dismissed an application by the task force and devotees to take part in the inquest, saying both applicants had “no nexus” to the incident to be made interested parties.

On Jan 31, Rofiah turned down the applications by the task force and devotees to take part in the inquest, saying there were no “substantive, genuine and reasonable grounds” to make them interested parties.

The Bar Council, Adib’s family, the housing and local government ministry and the Fire Services Department have been given the green light to assist in the inquest.

Adib, 24, was severely injured during the violence at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25 on Nov 27. He had been part of the response team sent from the Subang Jaya fire and rescue station.

He died at the National Heart Institute three weeks later.