PUTRAJAYA: The housing and local government ministry and the family of late fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim have filed affidavits to oppose the inclusion of a temple task force as an interested party in the ongoing inquest.
The affidavits were filed in support of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).
Lawyer Syazlin Mansor, representing the ministry, said the government did not blame the Sri Maha Mariamman temple task force for the fracas which took place outside the temple premises in November last year.
“We are not implicating any race or religion. Our intention is to determine how Adib died,” Syazlin said in the affidavit sighted by FMT.
Syazlin added that the incident took place outside the temple and there was no reason for the task force to be made an interested party.
Meanwhile, lawyer Kamaruzaman Abdul Wahab, representing Adib’s family, said the task force had no legal standing to participate in the inquest.
“The inquest is a high profile case and it must not be interrupted. But the task force’s stay application is intended to delay the inquest,” he said.
The ministry and Adib’s family filed the affidavits last week.
In its own affidavit filed earlier, the AGC said it was not specifically implicating or directing blame on the temple.
A three-member Court of Appeal bench chaired by Umi Kalthum Abdul Majib allowed lawyer M Visvanathan, who is representing the task force, to file a reply to the affidavits.
Visvanathan said he was surprised that the ministry and the fireman’s family were against the task force being made an interested party to assist in the inquest.
“This is unprecedented for co-interested parties to stop us from contributing in the inquest,” he said.
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.
Adib, 24, was severely injured during the violence at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25 on Nov 27, last year. 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.
So far, 19 witnesses have given evidence in the inquest before coroner Rofiah Mohamed. The hearing will continue on March 19.