Coroner: If cops had acted, there would be no fires nor firefighters
The Shah Alam Coroner's Court ruled that firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim's death was due to a criminal act and police inaction.
Coroner Rofiah Mohamad, who presided over an inquest into the 24-year-old firefighter's death, said the act was committed by two or three unidentified assailants.
She also found the police at fault for their inaction during the riot, saying if action had been taken, the mob would not have torched the vehicles and the Fire and Rescue Department would not have been involved.
Earlier, Rofiah concluded that the blunt chest trauma injuries sustained by Adib was not self-inflicted nor caused by an accident during last November's 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.
Rofiah had heard the testimonies of 30 witnesses during the 41-day inquest which was held to determine if Adib, who died at the National Heart Institute on Dec 17, was a result of an accident or assault.
As for her findings regarding police conduct, the coroner said evidence clearly showed that there had been several fire incidents during the riot before the victim was involved.
"Firefighters had also been threatened by rioters who didn’t want the flames to be put out, but there were police officers on guard and the fires were successfully put out by the firefighters.
"It was very unfortunate when two troops of FRU with hundreds of personnel and seven various types of vehicles, including water cannons, only watched the rioters attack the firefighters without doing anything.
"They were only standing by with their weapons because they didn't receive any orders to act, despite the tense situation," she added.
Rofiah recalled that a FRU commander had testified that the Subang Jaya district police chief at the time could not be contacted during the incident.
She said the police's failure to carry out their duties under the Criminal Procedures Code had contributed to Adib's death.
"Because if action had been taken, fires during the incident wouldn't have happened and the firefighters wouldn't have to be dispatched to the scene,” she added.
With the conclusion of the inquest, Rofiah said the court would leave it to the attorney-general and police to conduct an investigation and press charges against those involved.
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