Truth can be found in court, Dr M tells lawyer who pulled out of inquest

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the prime minister has no power over the courts.

PETALING JAYA: Lawyer Syazlin Mansor, who yesterday withdrew from representing the government in the inquest into the death of fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, should have continued representing the family, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

Mahathir said this should have been the case if she wanted to find out the truth behind Adib’s death.

“She should have just withdrawn from being a lawyer for the government, not as a lawyer for Adib’s family. But she pulled out from all.

“If she was seeking the truth, she can find the truth in court. Now, the prime minister has no power over the courts.

“If we don’t trust our courts, who else do we trust?” he said at a press conference after chairing the PPBM Supreme Council meeting here.

Mahathir’s comments come on the heels of Attorney-General Tommy Thomas clearing the confusion over the decision to ask Syazlin to withdraw as counsel for the housing and local government ministry at the inquest.

Thomas had given four reasons as to why it was not tenable for Syazlin to act on behalf of the ministry and the Fire and Rescue Department as well as Adib’s family.

On calls made by some quarters for Thomas to be fired over this issue, Mahathir said the AG had reason for doing what he did and that the groups were only making “reckless calls”.

“Whatever he does, there is a reason for it. The reason in this case is that the lawyer was representing two conflicting parties.

“She should have just pulled out from being a lawyer for the government and continue being a lawyer for the family,” he said.

On whose fault it was that Syazlin was appointed as a lawyer for the ministry, Mahathir said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin did not realise the lawyer was also appearing as counsel for Adib’s family.

“So do you want me to sack Zuraida also?” he asked.

Thomas had reportedly said Syazlin was in a conflict of interest position when she agreed to act for the ministry and the department as she was also acting for the deceased’s family, which had a direct interest in the inquest.

In informing coroner Rofiah Mohamad that she was withdrawing from representing the ministry, Syazlin had said her withdrawal would render invalid the status of former forensic specialist Dr Shahrom Abd Wahid, the 29th witness.

Shahrom and another forensic expert, Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi, who performed the post-mortem on Adib, had clashed over calculations on the force of impact of an emergency vehicle in causing Adib’s broken ribs.

Adib, 24, died at the National Heart Institute (IJN) on Dec 17, 2018, following injuries sustained during a riot outside the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Subang Jaya on Nov 27.