COMMENT | While the decision by the family of the late firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim to resolve their legal action to commit former attorney-general Tommy Thomas for contempt of court is welcome, the case needs a final political resolution as well.
That case has courted considerable controversy over the years when Adib died during demonstrations around the Seafield temple where the Bomba had been called in to put out a fire.
Despite a coroner’s inquest which found that Adib died from a criminal act, previous and subsequent investigations found no evidence of that.
The coroner ruled in September 2019 that the blunt force trauma suffered on Adib’s chest was not self-inflicted nor caused by an accident during the November 2018 riot outside the Seafield temple in Subang Jaya.
“It was the result of a criminal act by two or three unidentified persons dragging (the victim out of the vehicle) and hitting the victim,” she said.
Perhaps the best account of what happened post those riots, whose origins were obscured by emotions in the wake of Adib’s death, comes from former attorney-general Tommy Thomas who held office during the period.
Thomas described the coroner’s decision as mind-boggling and that it defied police evidence. He said in his book that he decided against appealing the decision because her recommendation was merely that the police resume investigations.
In his book ‘My Story’ released in January 2021 in the chapter on ‘Adib and LTTE’, Thomas said: “According to him (the head of prosecution), after careful and thorough investigation, the police had ruled out foul play. Apparently, the injuries were suffered by Adib when the fire engine reversed, pushing backward the vehicle Adib was travelling in. Adib was trying to re-enter his car when he was pinned down. It was therefore an accident.
“No one was to blame. No crime had been committed. It followed that the police could not be expected to arrest any person for a non-existent crime. And that was the finding after many rounds of investigation by different police...