Fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim indicated to his superior that he was dragged out from his Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van during the riots at the Seafield Sri Mariamman Temple on Nov 27 last year.
Subang Jaya fire station chief Syed Shahril Anuar Syed Sulaiman told the coroner’s court on Wednesday (Feb 27) that Adib nodded his head when asked if he was dragged out from the vehicle.
Shahril, the 18th witness for the inquest into the death of the 24-year-old fireman, said that he asked Adib this question when he saw him on Dec 5.
Shahril said that before going in to see Adib that day, he was asked by the fireman’s father to give his son encouragement.
“I started by giving him encouragement, saying things such as ‘Adib you have to be strong, we are all praying for you to be well again’.
“He nodded and squeezed my hand,” he said.
Shahril added that he then started asking Adib what happened to him on the morning of Nov 27.
“I asked him if he was beaten up. He nodded. I continued with, ‘is this true?’ and he nodded.
“I then asked him whether he was dragged out. He nodded. He let go of my hand and made a pulling gesture at his left shoulder,” said Syed Shahril.
Syed Shahril said that as Adib’s direct superior, he prepared a list of 15 questions for the fireman to answer and brought it to him on Dec 12.
“He read the list and indicated that he wanted a pen,” said Syed Shahril.
DPP Hamdan Hamzah, who leads the three-member team from the Attorney General’s Chambers, then asked Shahril to read out all 15 questions and Adib’s answers.
Shahril: Question five was ‘were you pulled out of the EMRS van?’ He ticked yes on the paper.
Question six was ‘if you were pulled, was it by your shoulder, arms, or chest’. He ticked shoulder and made a pulling gesture at his shoulder.
Shahril, however, said that when it came to question eight, which was ‘when you fell, were you beaten up?’ Adib gestured that he could not remember.
However, when it came to question 10, which was “did they beat you with any implements (peralatan)? Adib ticked yes.
However, he (Adib) was not able to remember, gesturing ‘no’ with his hands, when I asked if he remembered what weapons were used against him.
I asked if it was a stone, a stick, or a metal rod, but he could not give an answer.
According to Shahril, from Adib’s response to the questions, he deduced that the fireman was pulled out of the EMRS van by his shoulders as he tried to keep the doors shut and was assaulted using weapons.
“His answers also indicated the situation that night was stressful for Adib, gesturing answers that he felt (his safety was) threatened during the entire ordeal,” he told the court.
Adib’s hand-written answers also revealed to Shahril the former had only regained consciousness when admitted at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre, unable to recall if he tried defending himself that night.
Shahril said he had managed to visit Adib’s bedside at least four times before the latter passed away on December 17.
“On the day he passed away, I was on my way back to the fire station when I got a call from an IJN employee, informing me of a meeting,” he said.
He revealed that it was only disclosed to him during a press conference the night that Adib had passed away.
The questions and Adib’s answers that were read out in court:
1. Did anyone attempt to open the door of the EMRS vehicle when it reversed? Yes.
2. Did you try to hold on to the EMRS door to stop it from being opened? Yes.
3. Did the people manage to open the EMRS vehicle door? Yes.
4. What were your feelings when the people tried to open the EMRS vehicle door? Pressured.
5. Were you pulled out from the EMRS vehicle? Yes.
6. If you were pulled out of the vehicle, which part of the body did they come into contact? Shoulder (while pointing to his left shoulder).
7. Did you fall down after being pulled out from the EMRS vehicle? (Not answered but Adib signalled he could not remember.)
8. Were you beaten after falling down and being pulled out from the EMRS vehicle? (Not answered.)
9. Did Adib remember he was beaten? (Not answered but he signalled he could not remember.)
10. Did they hit you with any tools? Yes.
11. If you were beaten, did you see the tool used? No.
12. What were the tools used to beat you? The answer “others” was selected.
13. Where did Adib gain consciousness after the incident? Hospital.
14. Did you feel threatened during the incident? Yes.
15. Did you try to defend yourself? (Not answered, but Adib signalled he could not remember.)
The fire chief said he kept the questions and answers and only handed it to the investigation officer at the Subang Jaya police headquarters on Dec 24 after Adib’s death.
Local and housing government ministry lawyer Syazlin Mansor asked Shahril what prompted him to prepare the questions for Adib.
“There was speculation he was either hit by a vehicle or beaten up…I wanted to know the truth,” he said.
Previous expert witnesses in the inquest had testified how Adib remained “critically ill” throughout his 21-day stay at IJN, and his consciousness level would vary depending on the amount of sedation given.
While hooked up to several machines, the firefighter was able to communicate using physical gestures and writing, before his condition deteriorated on Dec 14. Adib died three days later.
Shahril added that Adib was supposed to receive an excellence award for good work performance in 2018 but he died before he could be given the award.
Adib’s inquest was called by the government amid conflicting claims on the cause of his death.
The hearing continues tomorrow before Coroner Rofiah Mohamad.