SHAH ALAM: A witness testifying at the inquest into the death of Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim told the Coroner’s Court here that he saw someone in fireman’s pants get hit by a reversing fire truck.
Pakistani national Mohsin Budd, the 20th witness in the inquest, said he saw this person being squeezed by an Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) van and parked cars near the Seafield temple on Nov 27, 2018.
In the morning, Mohsin did not identify the fireman who was hit by the EMRS van but during the afternoon session, he named the man as Adib.
Mohsin told coroner Rafiah Mohamad in the morning that he was visiting a friend, a security guard who worked in a residential area near the temple, and that they were able to see what was going on outside the temple from where they stood.
Sometime before 1am that morning, Mohsin said he saw two fire engines arrive along the main inner road – a fire rescue tender (FRT) truck followed by an EMRS van which was directly behind the FRT.
“I saw a group of Indians approach and throw something at the lorry (the FRT). I saw someone from the lorry get down from the passenger’s side. He just stood outside.
“The person in the passenger’s seat got down from the van after that. Then, one other person came from where I do not know, and stood in between the lorry and the van.
“The one in the middle wore a helmet and the orange-green Bomba uniform. The one from the lorry wore a full Bomba uniform but he had an orange jacket and no helmet.
“And the one from the van, I can’t recall what coloured shirt he wore, maybe black or blue, but his pants were the same as the Bomba pants,” Mohsin, 24, said today in Punjabi.
When the group of Indians approached the FRT, Mohsin said, the fireman who was in the middle, with the helmet, as if expecting to be attacked, quickly entered the EMRS via its sliding door on the side.
As this group started to hit the FRT with bottles and wood, the one with the fireman’s pants and dark coloured shirt – the one who had been in the EMRS van’s passenger seat and who was then standing at the back of the van – wanted to run.
“He saw that big group approaching to where he was. And because the fireman in the middle closed the sliding door and went inside quickly, this person could not enter the van. So, he was ready to run to the Caltex station nearby.”
Then, the FRT backed into the EMRS, pushing it backwards, to get away from the rowdy crowd. The EMRS hit the fireman who was next to its back left tyre and squeezed him in between cars on the side of the road, he said.
Mohsin said: “He was facing towards the temple when the FRT reversed and hit the EMRS which squeezed the victim and the cars. Then, with his head facing the (USJ 16) Caltex, he fell down backwards, his feet facing Caltex.”
The inquest proceedings stopped at this point for lunch.
Mohsin, an air conditioner technician from USJ 11 who has lived in Malaysia for four years, named the fireman as Adib later this afternoon.
He had been giving his testimony through a Punjabi court interpreter. However, a court clerk offered to assist after difficulties in translation arose.
It was the clerk who identified the fireman who had been squeezed between cars as Adib.
He also mentioned “EMRS” and “FRT” as opposed to the “lorry” and “van” which Mohsin had been referring to so far.
Conducting officer Hamdan Hamzah later referred to Adib as the man in the fireman’s trousers as well, and continued doing so in the afternoon proceedings.
Mohsin said the person was Adib but did not make clear how he identified the fireman.
Hamdan later showed him a dark blue T-shirt bearing the fire department logo and asked if it was the shirt he had seen “Adib” wearing that day.
Mohsin said it “looked like it” but added that he was unsure about the colour.
He also said several members of the public took the fireman whom he identified as Adib to the nearby USJ 16 Caltex after he was injured, but that he did not know what happened after that.
The inquest previously heard that Adib was inside the EMRS at the time the FRT backed into it, which led the EMRS to spin 180 degrees.
Mohsin was questioned by deputy public prosecutor Hamdan, who is part of a three-member team from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
Mohsin had visited his friend the security guard after returning from Main Place in USJ 21. He later saw a car being torched on the road from where he stood inside the residential area in USJ 17.
An inquest into Adib’s death was called by the government this year amid conflicting claims on the cause of the late fireman’s death after he showed up at the Seafield riots.
Adib, 24, was part of the Emergency Medical Rescue Services sent from the Subang Jaya fire and rescue station to the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple on Nov 27. He is said to have been attacked there.
He succumbed to his injuries on Dec 17 at the National Heart Institute.
Today was the 13th day of the inquest.
The inquest continues tomorrow with Mohsin taking the stand once more. He will be answering questions from Adib’s family lawyers then.