Father to fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim pleaded for justice over his son’s death in the coroner’s court.
Mohd Kassim Abdul Hamid was the 23rd witness to the inquest into the death of the 24-year old fireman.
Kassim, who is a 64-year-old farmer from Alor Setar, told the coroner’s court that Adib was a good son, who helped his family financially and would always give a hand at the padi fields when he was home on leave.
“We (as a family) really feel the loss – in terms of happiness for the whole family, and in terms of the help he had always provided,” Kassim said.
He said that his family wanted justice for Adib, and that he hoped that the inquest could shine a light on who was responsible for the fireman’s death.
“I hope the authorities will take action on those who caused his death.
“I understand that my child died due to a riot, and I hope (action is taken on) those who planned the riot and took part in it,” he said.
“I want justice for my son. I hope the relevant parties will deal with my son’s death with fairness and justice,” he added.
Kassim told the inquest about his experience on the night of the riots at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple, in Subang Jaya, saying he was alerted by the Fire and Rescue Department station chief and then left for Kuala Lumpur at around 2.30am.
He explained how Adib’s entire body was bruised the night he arrived at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC) and was barely recognisable.
“His initial condition was bad, he was unconscious, covered in bruises and obviously in a critical state.
“I could see there were bruises on his chest arms, calves, scratches on his fingers, and felt swelling in several places on his head, with a wound behind his earlobe,” he said.
Kassim, who was calm and collected throughout the whole session, recalled his son’s days in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the National Heart Institute (IJN), adding that his son was fully conscious and lucid for about five days.
He said this under questioning from DPP Hamdan Hamzah from the Attorney General’s Chambers, who asked him to describe the communication he had with Muhammad Adib when the fireman was in IJN.
Hamdan: When the deceased was able to write on a whiteboard, did you understand each other?
Kassim: Yes, he would understand that I was asking a question and he would give an answer.
Hamdan: What were among the topics you spoke about?
Kassim: When he was able to write, he wrote to my wife, “do you have money to spend?”, and he asked about his siblings.
Kassim answered the same when asked by lawyer Ahmad Taufiq Baharum, who is representing him and his family for the inquest.
Ahmad: Can you confirm whether he was acting normal, or was he in a traumatised state or heavily on medication?
Kassim: He was acting normal because you can see when you ask him questions, he will answer based on what we asked.
He also asked questions, such as “how are you mum?” and “do you have money to spend?”
Kassim added it was during this period that Adib was able to communicate.
He said Adib was conscious of his surroundings and was aware that Subang Jaya Fire Station chief Syed Shahril Anuar Syed Sulaiman came to visit the fireman.
Shahril, the 18th witness for the inquest, had told the coroner’s court that Adib had indicated to him that he was pulled out from the Emergency Medical Rescue Services (EMRS) van during the riot near the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in the early morning of Nov 27 last year.
“There were also several other firemen colleagues who came to visit Adib, but most of them remained outside the treatment room and viewed through the glass window,” Kassim said.
Kassim said he recalled a senior fireman asking for his permission to pose several questions to Adib concerning the events on the night of the incident.
When asked if he had spoken to Adib about the night of the riots, he said no.
“We didn’t want to stress him out further,” Kassim told government lawyer Hamdan Hamzah.
Kassim told the inquest today that his son once suffered a trauma attack due to shock during his stay at IJN.
He said he was informed by a nurse on duty that his son was experiencing pain in his sleep.
“My wife and I went to the hospital and we calmed him down. Alhamdulillah, he eventually calmed down,” he said when questioned by Syazlin Mansor, the lawyer for the housing and local government ministry, about Adib’s 20-day stay at IJN.
However, he did not specify when the incident took place.
Kassim also told the inquest that during his stay at IJN, his son had said he wanted to go back to his hometown in Kuala Kedah.
“He wrote a note saying he wanted to go back to our kampung, but I told him that he could not leave the hospital as he needed to seek treatment here.
“He accepted what I said to him,” Kassim added.
When asked by conducting officer Hamdan whether he had spoken to Adib about what happened during the temple riot on Nov 27 last year, Kassim said no.
“He was in trauma, and I did not want him to go through what happened that night again.
“Adib only asked about how his siblings and mother were doing. He did not tell us what he had gone through.”
Kassim also told the court he felt injuries on the back of Adib’s head when he saw his son in the hospital.
“I was stroking his head at the hospital, and I felt there were lumps behind his head. It seemed to be injury scars,” he said, adding that Adib’s body was swollen and there were injury marks on the right side of his chest and rib cage.
He said today that he could not bring himself to ask his son about the injuries sustained during the Seafield temple riots last November because of the severity of Adib’s injuries.
“I did not ask because my son was in trauma, and I did not want to trouble him.
“I did not want our son, who was in a critical state, to face these questions,” he told the inquest into the firefighter’s death.
Judge Rofiah Mohamad sits as coroner for the inquest.
The inquest, held at the Shah Alam Sessions Court, was on its 15th day on Thursday (March 21) and will continue on Friday (March 22).
Adib became critically injured when he and his team members from the Subang Jaya fire station responded to an emergency at the temple.
He was taken to SJMC before being transferred to the National Heart Institute (IJN) for further treatment.
He died at IJN on Dec 17 at 9.41pm.